Sports chiefs have announced plans to spend more than £3.5 million on disability sport, in the hope of delivering a “lasting grassroots sporting legacy” from the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Sport England is giving £1.54 million to the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), the umbrella organisation for disability sport in England, to increase participation in sport by disabled people.
It is also seeking bids for a further £2 million of national lottery funding from EFDS and its eight national member organisations – the British Amputee and Les Autres Sports Association, British Blind Sport, CP Sport, Mencap Sport, UK Deaf Sport, WheelPower, the Dwarf Athletic Association and Special Olympics.
The winning bids will use the money to provide leadership, advice and support to other disability sports bodies.
Sport England said there would also be a further £8 million funding boost for disability sport over the next two years, with details yet to be announced.
Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, said: “With only one in 15 disabled adults playing sport regularly – and a decline in that number over the past year – there is a clear need for a change of direction.
“The investments we are announcing today will create the right environment for increased participation by disabled people.”
Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, the chair of EFDS, said the funding would allow EFDS and its eight member organisations to implement its new strategy, which aims to halt and then reverse the decline in sports participation among disabled people.
Sport England, ParalympicsGB and the Youth Sport Trust have already launched Playground to Podium, a national programme to identify, develop and support talented young disabled athletes.
As part of the programme, £3 million is being spent to develop a national network of 450 out-of school, multi-sports clubs for disabled children across England by 2011.
EFDS and the Fitness Industry Association are also working together to ensure there are more than 1,000 accessible sports and fitness facilities across the UK by the time the Paralympic torch is lit in 2012.
18 March 2010