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Sense-ible investment made in disabled sport

People with complex disabilities in England will have a greater opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity thanks to major new funding announced today.

The national disability charity, Sense, has been awarded £1.3m by Sport England to tackle the issue of ‘inactivity’ amongst people with complex disabilities, which has a detrimental effect on physical health and mental wellbeing.

According to research carried out by Sport England, inactivity (less than thirty minutes exercise a week) is more common for disabled people (42%) than non-disabled people (21%). Furthermore, it increases sharply as the number of impairments an individual has increases – 51% of people with complex disabilities are inactive.

Today’s funding, from Sport England through the National Lottery, will enable Sense to expand its programme of sports provision, working with local partners to run accessible sport sessions in London and the South East, the West Midlands, the East,  South West and Yorkshire.

The sessions will support more than two and half thousand people with high-level support needs, aged from 5 to 50+, to access sport and physical activity over the next three years.

Sense National Sports Manager, Alissa Ayling, said:

Over half of all people with complex disabilities miss out on participating in sport and physical exercise, which is vital for keeping healthy, learning new skills and making new friends.

Today’s funding will enable us to create lifelong opportunities for people with complex disabilities to be active by establishing meaningful, engaging, and local opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity.

John France, 58, from Rotherham, has cerebral palsy and a learning disability.  He recently started attending sport sessions in his local area, run by Sense. He said:

Making friends and seeing people gives me confidence.

Sport sessions allow me to do that and it’s great.

In addition to new regional sport sessions, Sense will influence and equip the sports, health and social care sectors so that mainstream settings and sessions become more accessible for disabled people. Sense is partnering with Disability Rights UK in adapting physical activity guidelines for support staff, and will gather insight to help evaluate the benefits of sport and physical activity for people with complex disabilities

To find out more about Sense, and its programme to increase the range of sport and physical activities available to people with complex disabilities, visit: www.sense.org.uk/sport

Image: Sense

About the author

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise communications.