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EFDS announce focus County Sports Partnerships

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) are pleased to announce our focus County Sports Partnerships (CSPs). Our dedicated Engagement Officers will work with the chosen nine across England so they can receive more concentrated support to increase disabled people’s participation at a local level.

Disabled people’s first experience of sport can often be through local opportunities. This local provision helps disabled people to have a wide choice of activities so they can try out and enjoy sport, as well as develop their talent if they decide.

As key players to increase participation, part of the National Partner funding from Sport England to the EFDS is to support CSPs. With EFDS’s guidance and expertise, we can help them to deliver more opportunities for disabled people, through National Governing Bodies of sports’ (NGBs) programmes and other activities.

In February 2013, to sustain and build local relationships, EFDS successfully appointed three Engagement Officers. Part of their busy role is to work with CSPs, so they too can learn the better practices to include more disabled people. During this time, they have been working across all CSPs in England to complete a mapping and auditing exercise. They have used an agreed set criteria to nominate the first groups to become focus CSPs. The aim is to help them to improve their services and deliver specific NGB disability programmes. They are:


Tyne and Wear Sport

Cheshire and Warrington Sport

South Yorkshire Sport

West Yorkshire Sport

Midlands and South West

Sport Nottinghamshire

Sport Across Staffordshire

Active Gloucestershire


Sport Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Active Essex


These CSPs have not been chosen primarily for their current development of sport for disabled people. As a group, they needed to be reflective of the network (size, capacity, geographic landscape, deprivation etc.). Other non-focus CSPs will continue to receive ongoing support and guidance from the Engagement Team through regional forums, bespoke project work and communication.

One of EFDS’s plans for the coming year is a ‘Disability Equality in Sport’ online toolkit. This will be an additional improvement resource to support these CSPs, so they can proactively connect the sports sector to the disability sector. These include statutory services and third sector community organisations at a county to local level. With such a range of CSPs across England, it will also ensure we can produce an effective improvement resource.

Complimenting other resources like Diversity Challenge (, the toolkit will support CSPs to achieve high outcomes within the Equality Standard framework and other proven improvement programmes.

CSPs will be supported by the EFDS Engagement team in these processes so they can become more effective and efficient organisations for disabled people who want to access sport. There are common themed areas such as leadership, business planning and strategy development, partnership working, development of resources, fundraising, capacity building, performance measurement, etc. To fit within these themes, EFDS will design and develop appropriate resources for the toolkit and promote better practices to help with the CSPs’ journey to disability equality.

The Engagement officers will be able to support CSPS to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Participation – More disabled people trying sport, leading to regular participation
  • Local insight and intelligence - Understanding the needs of the market
  • Improved communication and market reach – Connecting with disabled people
  • Improved co-ordination - Connecting and organising effective planning and delivery of provision
  • Better advice and guidance - Providing technical expertise on disabled people in sport
  • Increased advocacy of sport for disabled people - Making the case for disabled people's participation in sport
  • Workforce development - Building capacity in the workforce
  • Funding and investment - Increasing financial resources

For more information on the focus CSPs and the upcoming toolkit, please contact Ray Ashley on 01509 277750.

To contact our Engagement team, contact:

Mark Fosbrook (Midlands & South West) 07764291670

Jon Whittingham (South) 07967 573345

Tom Webster (North) 07764 291661