Disabled people do not have adequate access to grassroots sport clubs and facilities and there is a “long way to go” before the situation improves, said the chief executive of the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
Leisure Opportunities report Hollingsworth as saying, “I still think we have a long way to go in the general accessibility of sport within local communities for disabled people.”
“Clubs and local authorities should be asking ‘is it actually possible for disabled people to play sports with the facilities that are available?”
Hollingsworth further asks, “Can clubs actually offer the opportunity through its infrastructure? Does it have the coaches to integrate disabled people effectively? Is the club genuinely accommodating of disabled people?”
Hollingsworth revealed that he was encouraged by the targets in the government sport strategy to reach underrepresented groups who proportionally take part in less physical activity, and the apparent “desire to see sport have genuine social impact” as well creating opportunities for those who already participate.
The former UK Sport executive highlighted Sainsbury’s Active Kids For All scheme as “one of the effective interventions” which has driven the participation in disabled sport since the London 2012 Olympics.
The Active Kids For All scheme is a “disability inclusion training programme”, intended to help coaches make mainstream sessions more inclusive for participants with impairments and create experiences that are satisfying for all participants.
“You take that evidence and see that you can actually make a difference because you’ve identified a problem and created a solution. I think that’s something we should see if we can do at local community and club level,” added Hollingsworth.
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