Yesterday I was telling a new colleague a statistic about deaf and disabled people’s levels of activity. It’s a stat I’ve said hundreds of times before and one that’s got the same reaction every time – raised eyebrows, a lean back in the chair, and the incredulous exclamation: “What, really?!”
The stat that provoked this reaction is the unacceptable reality that deaf and disabled Londoners are around twice as likely to be as inactive as non-disabled Londoners. Not only that, but the more impairments a person has, the more likely they are to do under 30 minutes of activity a week and 45% of them have three or more impairments. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the investment in many fantastic projects over the last few years has started to close this gap. Into Sport, Inclusive United, Motivate East and Get Out Get Active, as well as the Mayor of London and Interactive strategy Inclusive and Active 2 have all changed the sport sector’s approach to disability inclusion for the better. As a result, we’ve learnt a great deal, with an ever-growing network of people and organisations working to effectively engage deaf and disabled people and enable them to be more active.
However, that niggling statistic remains. We’re closing the gap in participation but there’s still plenty of work to be done. For this reason London Sport has been working with a wide array of stakeholders to develop An Active Inclusive Capital – A Strategic Plan of Action for Disability in London, which I’m proud to say was launched yesterday evening.
An Active Inclusive Capital is not a London Sport plan – it is a plan for London – setting out how we can all work together to reach a point where deaf and disabled people are at least as active as non-disabled people. London Sport is fully committed to embedding disability inclusion into all its efforts and to making London the most physically active city in the world. However, if we are to achieve our ambitious aspirations, we need all sectors, organisations and individuals pulling together to create a culture where deaf and disabled people are more physically active.
The plan itself details the steps we need to take to achieve our goals and can be summarised into four priorities:
- Establish deaf and disabled people as central to the development of physical activity and sport policies, programmes and delivery
- Build and maintain collaboration between organisations inside and outside of sport to reach more deaf and disabled people and inspire increased levels of physical activity
- Ensure organisations are supported and encouraged to create and deliver inclusive activities
- Develop a more representative, motivational and well-trained workforce
We have no doubt that these priorities are attainable and that the impact on the lives of thousands of deaf and disabled Londoners would be profound.
We’re pleased to have the commitment of several influential and proactive organisations, but special thanks must go to the Mayor of London, Inclusion London, the English Federation of Disability Sport and Sport England for their support in the development of An Active Inclusive Capital.
Now we ask that you and your partners join those already dedicated to enabling more deaf and disabled people to be more active and work with us to make the aspiration of An Active Inclusive Capital a reality. Head to www.londonsport.org/news/active-inclusive-capital/ to read the plan and please get in touch so we can support each other to change the culture of physical activity and sport.
Hopefully I’ll never have to see those raised eyebrows again!
About the author:
Alex Gibbons is London Sport’s Disability Programme Manager
T: 07872 380 509