Disabled people and sport
The opportunities available for disabled people to get involved in sport have never been greater. This is reflected in the emergence of greater numbers of professional and amateur leagues and clubs for disability sports. Getting involved in sport can be rewarding not only in terms of fitness but also on an interpersonal level.
There is a diverse range of disability sports clubs. The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) offers the most thorough and widespread resources for disability sport, assisting the development of sporting opportunities throughout the country. Their website contains a number of helpful links to related charities and organisations that cater for a wide variety of disabilities.
Local clubs and facilities
In addition the EFDS site includes exhaustive information on sports clubs, arranged by activity and area. Similarly, Disabled Sports Events (DSE) contains a database of organisations and individuals, and can point you towards local events for beginners and professionals alike.
The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) website incorporates a simple feature that allows you to search for IFI accredited gyms and sports centres in the local area. This accreditation guarantees suitable equipment, accessibility and staff training. Your local authority should also hold details of suitable initiatives in and around your community.
Schools must provide access to Physical Education for children of all abilities. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995 safeguards these educational rights, and it is the responsibility of schools to ensure that the necessary arrangements are made to guarantee equal opportunities for disability students.
Plenty of support is available to assist disabled people of all ages in their sporting activities. The Parasport project, for instance, aims to create a disabled sports academy and promotes sport to people of all abilities. Along with the EFDS and DSE they also promote volunteering to help with the running of clubs and events, and empathic volunteers such as these work for innumerable clubs all over the country. They provide encouragement and support for disabled people taking part in sports.