Celebrating 25 years as a national charity
Today, 7 September 2023, marks our 25th anniversary as a national charity. There has been remarkable change over that quarter of a century, but our role as the leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity remains more necessary than ever before.
Set up in in 1998, founded as the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), we brought together a number of established national and regional bodies with complementary roles.
In time for our 20th anniversary, we officially changed our name from EFDS to Activity Alliance. The same year, we published our latest strategy, outlining the charity’s three years ahead.
What we did not know in 2018 was that two years later we would be hit by a global crisis. The global pandemic hit disabled people the hardest. We quickly adapted, offering online support, but the impact it had on disabled people’s lives was significant. Years of progress were halted immediately. We are only just seeing signs of getting back to the activity levels recorded prior to the pandemic.
In another huge challenge the pandemic was followed by a cost-of-living crisis. The rising cost of living and its wider impacts are still having a negative effect on disabled people’s activity and wellbeing.
Whilst facing serious challenges, the past five years have also seen us grow in reputation and with it, our ambition for change.
We welcomed Adam Blaze as our new CEO in January 2023. Returning to Activity Alliance 18 years after he started his career with the charity. Sam Orde is now in her fifth year as Chair after taking on the role in 2018.
Our Annual Disability and Activity Survey goes from strength to strength. Providing leading insight about disabled people’s attitudes to sport and physical activity.
Get Out Get Active, a national programme, continues to support both disabled and non-disabled people be active together. Now in its eighth year, it has supported over 80,000 people.
We have the expertise and knowledge across our organisation to continue to push for inclusion to be at the heart of all plans in sport and activity.
Whilst extremely proud of what we have achieved so far, our vision of fairness for disabled people in sport and activity remains ambitious. It is important to look back, but we also look to the future. There is a lot of work that lies ahead as we continue to strive to ensure the gap between disabled people's level of inactivity and that of non-disabled people is closed. We have a strong team and work with so many brilliant partners all working towards the same goal. We continue to build our influence, and campaign for change that will truly make a difference.
As Adam Blaze wrote in his opening remarks for the charity:
"We have the ability to create change, to change people's lives for the better. Through sport, physical activity and allowing people the opportunity to get active. Through no fault of their own, people don’t have access, we can change that. We have the ability to get rid of some of the unfairness that exists in the wider systems.
"Where you're discriminated against or excluded for things that you have no control over. That's not right. Our vision is clear and we will work, day in day out, to achieve fairness for disabled people in sport and activity.!
Here’s to the next 25 years!