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Activity Alliance calls for immediate action on World Children’s Day

On World Children’s Day (20 November 2020) Activity Alliance calls for more commitment from every sector of our society to ensure all children and young people benefit from an active lifestyle.

Two boys playing table tennis at Special Olympics activity session

There are long-standing inequalities in sport and activity for disabled children and young people. Released in March 2020, Activity Alliance’s ground-breaking report, My Active Future, shows failings across sectors will continue to steer disabled children into an inactive adulthood if we do not act now.

The report findings reinforce the activity gap between disabled and non-disabled children. Disabled children are less active than their peers and experience more barriers. They are also less likely to enjoy being active in and out of school and are less likely to be included in PE and games.  

The report key findings show disabled children miss out:

  • One third of disabled children take part in less than 30 minutes of sport and physical activity per day. 30% of disabled children are ‘less active’ compared to 21% of non-disabled children (take part in less than 30 minutes of sport and physical activity per day during term time).
  • Only a quarter (25%) of disabled children say they take part in sport and activity all of the time at school, compared to 41% of non-disabled children.
  • Disabled children are less likely than non-disabled children to be active at a park, leisure centre or friend’s house.
  • Less than half of parents with disabled children feel they have enough support to help their child to be active.
  • Disabled children are twice as likely as non-disabled children to be lonely. (72% vs 36%). They are more likely to feel they have no one to talk to, feel left out, and to feel alone.

The pandemic has worsened many of these inequalities with nearly half of parents (45%) saying their disabled children’s physical health has declined during the lockdown period[1].

This year’s UNICEF’s World Children’s Day theme focusses around reimagining the type of world we want to create. Activity Alliance works to create a fairer world for disabled people in sport and activity. We cannot do this alone. We’re calling on all sectors to act immediately to provide inclusive and accessible sport and activities for disabled children and young people. If left unaddressed, these inequalities may last a lifetime.

My Active Future report highlights important area of actions to tackle these worrying inequalities:

  1. Engage with and listen to all children
  2. Build confidence and independence from a young age
  3. Engage leader on the need to inclusion and show them how to create comfortable environments
  4. Support and encourage parents to help their child to live an active life

Download the full recommendations and report here.

More information 

Visit our COVID-19 page to access our latest guidance on reopening activity and Sport England's FAQs on government guidance and exemptions for disabled people.

Please get in touch with our team if you need any advice or support.

Email info@activityalliance.org.uk or call 01509 227750

[1] Left in Lockdown, Disabled Children’s Partnership, June 2020