By Tom Degun

EFDS logoJanuary 7 - Sport England has announced it will be investing £2 million ($3.2 million/€2.5 million) in the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) over the next two years in its latest bid to help make sport a practical lifestyle choice for disabled people.

The financial boost comes after research revealed that able-bodied people are twice as likely to take part in regular sport as disabled despite steady growth in the number of people with an impairment playing sport since 2005 when London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The new funding will enable EFDS to lend its expertise to more sports organisations to help them motivate disabled people to participate.

The charity is set to prioritise its work with athletics, cycling, swimming, cricket, gymnastics and badminton, as well as being funded to provide bespoke support for tennis, football, table tennis, equestrian, golf and volleyball.

"This is fantastic news," said EFDS chief executive Barry Horne.

"We have worked really hard in recent years to ensure that more disabled people have greater access, more opportunities and a more meaningful experience of sport.

"But we are well aware that there is still a significant amount of work to do, so we are looking forward to the new opportunities, challenges and partnerships ahead.

"The EFDS team is focused now on building on the momentum of 2012 and working with sports organisations to support all their programmes to be more inclusive.

"Sport England have been and remain crucial to delivering our vision: 'disabled people are active for life'."

Richard WhiteheadEFDS research says the London 2012 Paralympics inspired eight out of ten disabled people to consider taking part in more sport or exercise

The funding announcement is Sport England's latest investment into sport for disabled people.

It comes after the government agency announced last month that 44 projects, including EFDS, will benefit from £10.2 million ($16.4 million/€12.6 million) of National Lottery funding through its Inclusive Sport fund.

It also recently revealed that 40 different sports are receiving Sport England funding over the next four years for specific plans to get more disabled people taking part.

"This summer's remarkable Paralympic Games put sport for disabled people in the spotlight as never before," said Sport England's director of sport Lisa O'Keefe.

"EFDS has a vital role to play in helping a wide range of sports to build on this by doing more to open up opportunities and inspire disabled people to get involved.

"We need everyone in sport to work together to challenge the uncomfortable truth that disabled people are still far less likely to be taking part."

At a local level, EFDS will continue to support the county sports partnerships and sports governing bodies to involve more disabled people in sport, as well as continuing to work closely with National Disability Sport Organisations, to increase impairment specific knowledge and opportunities.

After London 2012, EFDS undertook a survey which captured public perception on the wider legacy and impact on disabled people in sport and the findings showed disabled people's desire to play more sport.

It suggested that watching the Paralympics inspired eight out of ten disabled people to consider taking part in more sport or exercise.

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