Disabled people across the East of England will have more opportunities to get into sport thanks to £8 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England.
With disabled people only half as likely to play sport on a weekly basis compared to non-disabled, the funding will help tackle the opportunity gap by investing £7 million through the Inclusive Sport fund and £1 million in Get Equipped, a new disability equipment fund.
Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “Last summer’s Paralympic Games were real game changer for disability sport but at the grassroots we need to do much more to make sport a practical choice for many more disabled people. You might not be the next Jonnie Peacock, but if you have a disability and want to play sport, it’s just as important that you have access to facilities, equipment and coaching.”
The second round of Inclusive Sport fund will open in October and will allow for more organisations with good ideas and the right expertise the chance to open up sport for disabled people.
To help organisations understand the fund and how they can apply a workshop will be held at Holiday Inn in Peterborough on Tuesday (September 17) at 9.30am. Space on the workshops is limited and we would encourage everyone to register their attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two projects in the East of England have already benefitted from £185,109 in Inclusive Sport funding. Oundle Town Rowing Club received £155,109 of funding to introduce indoor rowing to disabled people while Cambridgeshire County Council has been awarded £30,000 of funding to work with disabled people to help them find a sport they will enjoy.
Steve Rustage, Oundle Town Rowing Club Development Officer, said: “Over the past few years we have been limited to working with just a few disabled young people. With the funding we received from Sport England, we’ve been able to go out into day centres, colleges and schools to help disabled people like Julie get involved in sport. By the end of the year we hope to have introduced over 800 disabled people from across Northamptonshire to rowing, both indoor and outdoor.”
The £1 million of new funding available through Get Equipped will also help address the need for specialist equipment to deliver disability sport. Both disabled people and sport deliverers have identified the cost and availability of equipment as a barrier to taking part in sport. The funding will allow clubs to apply for up to £10,000 to purchase sports equipment designed to support the delivery of sport for disabled people.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: “The Paralympics made people think about disability differently and I want to make sure that we build on that. As part of the Paralympic legacy we want to see increased opportunities for disabled people to get involved in sport and ensure we have the funding to support that ambition. This £8 million public fund will go towards disability sport projects up and down the country and provide essential equipment to get more disabled people participating.”
The investment announced today, builds on the work already being done by Sport England to make grassroots sport truly open to everyone. More than £157 million is being invested in programmes and projects to increase the number of disabled people playing sport via our legacy programmes and our Youth and Communities Strategy.