It is now a year since the launch of An Active Inclusive Capital: A Strategic Plan of Action for Disability in London.
I was proud to be a part of that launch, marking London Sport’s commitment to working towards a point where deaf and disabled people from all backgrounds are as active as non-disabled people, as part of our vision of making London the world’s most active city. Indeed, that was – and remains – the central vision contained in An Active Inclusive Capital.
In developing An Active Inclusive Capital, one thing that was immediately apparent is that it could not be seen as a London Sport plan; it had to be a plan for London. For it to succeed, it required buy-in from partners across several sectors. We also knew that for all the aspirational statements, strategic priorities and focused outcomes, the plan wouldn’t mean anything unless there was dedicated work taking place to make it a reality.
One year on, I’m delighted to say there has been some fantastic progress. Today, I am delighted we are publishing a review that explores the delivery that has taken place across each of the plan’s four priority areas, the ways that disability inclusion has become integral to London Sport’s work and, most importantly, the impact on deaf and disabled people’s lives, driven by the commitment and expertise of our partners across London. Through the rest of this week, we will be sharing stories of the power of physical activity and sport for deaf and disabled people; and we’d love to hear, show and share more of these from across London in the months to come.
While we have been delighted with the progress made since we launched An Active Inclusive Capital a year ago, we also recognise the importance of accelerating progress. In London, it is still the case that only 44.6% of people with a limiting illness or disability meet Chief Medical Officer guidelines for physical activity, compared to 65.6% of people with no limiting illness or disability. Helping to create a system where more deaf and disabled people are able to be active, and see being active as a realistic life choice, requires bold thinking.
We know that great work will continue throughout the capital to support these aims – and we have identified four areas that will be our own focus for the year to come:
- Work with deaf and disabled people and disability sector partners to influence companies backed by London Sport’s Sport Tech Hub to make digital products more accessible for deaf and disabled people
- Focus on the development and growth of regional disability networks, and re-establishing the Local Authority Disability Forum to support borough disability leads to work collaboratively on shared priorities
- Encourage and support Local Authorities across London to achieve Activity Alliance‘s Inclusive Fitness Initiative accreditation
- Use funds raised from London Sport supporters ran the Virgin London Marathon 2018 to develop a template programme that supports the development of a new generation of deaf and disabled leaders in the sport sector
At heart, we believe that being physically active is the best way to improve a person’s life, and it is critical that deaf and disabled Londoners are as able to enjoy those benefits as non-disabled people in the capital. I am proud to be leading this area of work for London Sport, and am encouraged at the breadth of commitment demonstrated to supporting this aim from organisations across the capital.
I hope you will share my encouragement, and consider how you can help to support this important ambition.