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Activity Alliance responds to the National Disability Strategy

A new National Disability Strategy published today outlines how the government will support disabled people. Departments and agencies in government set out how they will help bring about practical and lasting change to disabled people’s lives. Sport is recognised within the strategy under a focus policy area.

EFDS106 Me Being Active 2017 Anoushe 2

The strategy sets out immediate and long-term actions to improve disabled people’s daily opportunities and experiences. 

The Strategy states a need to widen participation in sport and that sports venues have a duty to provide an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of everyone, irrespective of disability. There is an overriding message that government wants sport to be at the forefront of equality. It expects all sports and all clubs to take the action needed to ensure this.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport commitments include to work with Sport England to address the inequalities faced by disabled people in sport and physical activity. There is an immediate recognition to:

  • widen participation in arts, culture and sport
  • improve access to paths
  • make playgrounds more inclusive

Sam Orde, Chair at Activity Alliance, said:

“We welcome sport and activity’s recognition in the National Disability Strategy. However, we are disappointed that it fails to present the huge mutual benefits that being active brings to all policy areas. The Strategy is a starting point in identifying the immediate and long-term commitments that if acted upon will be a step closer to fairness for disabled people. We would urge decision makers to take greater responsibility in placing disabled people at the heart of everything they do.
“There remains considerable work to do to ensure there is a level playing field for disabled people whether as participants, workforce or spectators. We continue to raise concerns about disparities evidenced through our robust insight.
“As the least active group in society, disabled people will need significant cross-government commitment to reduce barriers that have existed for far too long. We are pleased the Strategy outlines how important this cross-departmental work is and will be. We need to make being active an attractive offer that fits into everyone’s life, not restricted by the wider systemic barriers that limit our choices.
“Activity Alliance will work with the Minister and teams across other government departments and continue to build on our positive relationship with Sport England. We must ensure disabled people feel they can be as active wherever and however they choose.”

Read our written submission for the National Disability Strategy

In May, we published Achieving Fairness. Our 2021-2024 Strategy outlines our plans to achieve our vision - fairness for disabled people in sport and activity. Disabled people participate much less than non-disabled people and they are also twice as likely to be inactive. We call this the fairness gap, and we aim to close this gap within a generation by focussing on two key goals. They are embedding inclusive practice into organisations and changing attitudes towards disabled people in sport and activity.