Disabled people don't want to join in
Who says we can't change this perception?
Watch this film and access positive stories, resources, and guidance to call time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion, and sport.
For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. It's time to move the conversations on, open people's minds and shift out-dated views on disability.
Launched on 15 July 2019, phase one of Who says?The campaign films focus on six perceptions and provide upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people.
The first phase of the campaign was created in response to Activity Alliance’s Taking part with disabled people: perceptions research, which explored non-disabled people’s attitudes on inclusive activity. The findings show a lack of understanding could be causing long-lasting barriers for disabled people. For the least active audience in our country, people’s attitudes can make or break activity experiences.
This page responds to Activity Alliance's research and insight on the perception – Disabled people don’t want to join in.
What do we know?
- Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive (42 per cent) than non-disabled people (21 percent). Active Lives Survey November 2017-18
Insight from our 2019 research report – Taking part with disabled people
- Fewer than one in five non-disabled people had experience of taking part in sport with disabled people and only half of the sample knew a disabled person.
- Two thirds (67%) of non-disabled people said that disabled people are active, but only two in five (39%) said this with certainty.
- Only 14 per cent of non-disabled people are aware of having previously taken part in sport with disabled people. But three quarters (73%) of non-disabled people were open to the idea.
Insight from our 2013 research report – Disabled People's Lifestyle Report
- The main barriers to being active are psychological, logistical and physical, with psychological the most influential. This is, disabled people’s personal impression of sport and non-disabled people’s attitudes about disabled people playing sport.
- Two thirds (64 per cent) of disabled people would prefer to take part in sport with both disabled and non-disabled people, currently only half (51 per cent) are doing so.
Calling time on this perception
It is not unusual for you or your organisation to think disabled people don’t want to join in. What’s important is your enthusiasm to learn more. And Activity Alliance with our members have ways to support you on this journey.
Who says? empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others’ perceptions.
One in five of our population has an impairment or health condition. That’s around 11 million disabled people in England. Not everyone wants to be or can be an elite athlete, but what matters is the choice to take part. The right venue, location and time are factors everyone looks for. Disabled people are no different.
When starting up a club or activity, at first, providers can struggle to attract new people, including disabled people. You may not monitor who takes part, so may not even know if they consider themselves disabled. This can lead to you thinking disabled people are not interested. But with slight tweaks and inclusive planning, your activity can engage lots of people.
Many of us want to have fun and care about our health. Our Motivate Me research showed friendship and family are also key motivations to be active. We look for these in an activity is but often the wording, marketing or environment can put us off.
It seems obvious but people won’t join if they don’t know you exist, or whether it’s suitable for them. Factors like cost, transport, accessibility and support can matter to many disabled people too.
There are resources available to help market your activity more effectively.
Activity Alliance engagement resources
We have a team of Strategic Partnership Advisors to support local and national work. They support key partners, including Active Partnerships and National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs). Our work enables these partners to be more effective in supporting disabled people to be active.
From planning opportunities to measuring impact, these resources can strengthen your work.
Activity Alliance 10 principles
These principles were a result of the Talk to Me report. This outlined 10 principles developed with disabled people that sports providers should follow. If embedded effectively they can help make activities more appealing. They are now widely used across the sector and at the heart of programmes like Get Out Get Active. The principles were also positively referenced in the Government’s 2015 strategy, Sporting Future.
Get Out Get Active
Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more. It’s all about fun and inclusive activities.
Effective marketing and communications is essential for all organisations. Inclusive practice can help everyone reach more people, including disabled people.
The best way to embed inclusive communications across your organisation is to develop a policy. This should clearly set out your commitment to inclusion. In order to develop your policy, involve internal and external stakeholders.
We support organisations to embed key principles into their own work. There is a range of resources to support you.
Call time on negative perceptions with us
Taking the conversation beyond the #WhoSays hashtag is important to us. It’s crucial we talk honestly and openly about matters that affect disabled people’s activity, like policy, funding and promotion. We hope the campaign leads to bigger conversations, greater collaboration and wider systemic responses.
If your organisation would like to get involved, has a story to share or you have a great idea for the campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 228 2868. We have a range of digital supporter materials available for organisations and the media to use.