Sport England launches £1 million disabled sports initiative
Friday, 09 November 2012
November 9 - Sport England has today announced a £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) National Lottery investment to fund free training courses to help coaches, leaders, assistants and parents develop the skills and confidence to include disabled people in sporting activity.
The initiative is part of the Sainsbury's Active Kids for All scheme to get more disabled children into sport and it was launched here by Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, Culture Secretary Maria Miller, Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King and Britain's double Paralympic wheelchair racing champion Hannah Cockroft.
"Paralympic athletes such as Hannah Cockroft have changed sport in this country for good," said Price.
"As we work to ensure that sport is a practical lifestyle choice for disabled people, we need to equip all those involved in community sport with the skills to include everyone."
Sport England and Sainsbury's are also working together to encourage thousands of clubs where disabled people play sport to join the successful Sainsbury's Active Kids scheme.
Signing up means the clubs can benefit from collecting and redeeming vouchers in return for equipment and experiences that help its customers and the community to lead healthier, more active lifestyles.
"Following our landmark Paralympic Games sponsorship and a very exciting year for Sainsbury's, we are hugely proud that Sport England will be investing an additional £1 million in our Active Kids for All initiative delivering sport to disabled people outside of schools," said King.
Cockroft, who claimed gold medals in both the T34 100 and 200 metres at London 2012, said she was delighted to support the event.
"Coaches play a big role in people's sporting experience so it's important they receive the training that gives them skills to include disabled people in sport and help them get the most out of it," she said.
"This could make the difference in disabled people making sport a part of their everyday lives or not playing sport at all.
"Without the fantastic coaching I received I would not be the athlete I am now."
The number of disabled people playing sport at least once a week has increased by 160,000 over the past year, but there's much more to do in increasing participation levels.
One in six disabled adults play sport regularly, compared to one in three non-disabled adults.
"This is exactly the kind of legacy we want to see from the 2012 Paralympic Games," added the Culture Secretary.
"The Paralympics made the UK think about disability differently and I hope that it is the first of many public/private partnerships aimed at developing disability sport at the grassroots.
"I am determined that disabled people of all ages get the chance to play sport, both at school and in community sport clubs."
September 2012: Sainsbury's announce London 2012 Paralympic Games legacy project