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Liverpool Metro Mayor calls for inclusion leadership in sport

On Monday 25 February, Activity Alliance and Greenbank Sports Academy hosted the first Liverpool City Region Disability Engagement event. Opened by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, leaders, providers and participants came together to challenge perceptions and change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.

Liverpool City Region engagement event - Barry Horne, Tom Webster, Mary Beaumont, Steve Rotheram, Carla Thomas and Greenbank Trustee William Shorthall.

The day was an exciting blend of speeches, networking and activity. Demonstrations included powerhockey, boccia and a County FA football session. The exhibition area enabled sport providers, along with disabled people’s organisations, to promote their work.

Steve Rotheram called upon attendees to be regional and national leaders on accessibility and inclusion. As the first Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City, he leads the Combined Authority in its work to drive prosperity. He encourages innovation and expands opportunities for people and communities in every part of our city region. He said:

“I’ve been passionate about sport for my whole life and I know how important being physically active is for everyone in terms of our wellbeing.  Our aim is to provide the opportunities for disabled people to take part in sporting activities and we know that, as well as its other benefits, physical activity supports disabled people to build new friendships, and maintain their health and independence.
“I’m committed to a fully inclusive city region and I am looking forward to working with Activity Alliance to see how we can help more disabled people into sport and physical activity.” 

Our Chief Executive, Barry Horne, echoed Rotherham’s call for action. He reinforced the importance of these regional events in supporting more disabled people to be active for life. He said:

“Disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people and across the Liverpool City Region the gap is even wider. If we understand that activity is good for physical and mental wellbeing, and that is supports in building friendships and confidence, then how is this statistic acceptable?
“Days like today highlight the important work our Engagement Advisors do in bringing together a region. It is essential in supporting and engaging a more diverse group of disabled people.”

Greenbank’s Chief Executive, Mary Beaumont, welcomed everyone to the event, including representatives from the disability, health, transport and education sector. She said:

“I am delighted that Greenbank was chosen by Activity Alliance to host the first Engagement event in the Liverpool City Region. The fact that Metro Mayor Rotheram and Councillor Carla Thomas attended demonstrates a continuing support for Greenbank’s vital work by keen policy makers.”

Activity Alliance Engagement Advisors are working across England to enable more organisations to engage effectively with more disabled people. Our North West and North East Advisor, Tom Webster, worked with Associate Member, Greenbank Sports Academy, to set up this influential opportunity. He said:

“Part of my role is bringing organisations together for regional meetings or events to improve opportunities for disabled people in sport and active recreation. Greenbank is a key partner for us and I am delighted with today’s success. These days are a chance to better understand the needs of disabled people and how we can all work together to change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.”

If you are looking for guidance or more information on engaging more disabled people to be active in sport and physical activity across the North West and North East, please contact Tom via email or call 01509 227750. Find out more about our Engagements and Partnerships.

Hear what leaders and attendees had to say about the first Liverpool City Region Disability Engagement event in the video below: