Sported comment on the Activity Alliance Annual Disability and Activity Survey 2021.

By Sported |  4th February 2021

At Sported, we work with approximately 600 groups who provide sport or physical activity for disabled participants through their organisation

The release of Activity Alliance’s Disability and Activity Survey this week, found twice as many disabled people felt that coronavirus greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity compared to non-disabled people, as well as reporting that because of a lack of physical activity, their physical and mental wellbeing are harder to manage (Activity Alliance, Feb 2021).

Our research back in May into the implications of the first Covid-19 lockdown, with a focus on the group leaders, showed the challenges faced by our groups who offer activity for disabled participants. Group leaders were more concerned about maintaining the wellbeing of their participants and more anxious about their welfare than those with non-disabled participants. They also expressed concerns about safely social distancing, needing additional equipment and the travel barriers faced by disabled participants getting to session.  Sadly, when asked in Spring 2020, 1 in 3 members with disabled participants were not sure they would exist in 6 months’ time, as opposed to 1 in 4 for the wider membership base. 

“The Activity Alliance findings are shocking in their own right, but not a great surprise considering the current situation with lockdown and social distancing restrictions in place for the past year. These have greatly reduced the opportunities for disabled people to be active. 

We’ve been in touch with many of our members and most are very worried about their disabled participants, both their short term wellbeing and their ability to get them active again once restrictions finally ease. 

The group leaders we work with feel anxious about the future, but are doing everything they can to keep in touch with their participants at this time. And we will do everything we can to support the organisation”

– Rob Danson, 

Sported’s East of England Regional Manager and Disability Inclusion Champion

These findings by the Activity Alliance Disability and Activity Survey back up our concerns.  Many member organisations will need a lot of support, including financial support, to help get them up and running again post lockdown. We know they are extremely resilient and passionate about their participants wellbeing, but they will need support from across the sector to help them get back on their feet and doing what they do best again. 

At Sported, our focus is providing support to groups that provide sport and physical activity for disabled people, along with helping groups without disabled participants to be more inclusive. We are developing projects and partnerships across the sector to help disabled people have more inclusive opportunities to be active through our member organisations. Project 21, which has just launched in Scotland, is a prime example of this work. 

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