Barriers to sporting activity in the UK
22 February 2016
Gyms, leisure centres and other sports facility providers in the UK are failing to provide activities many disabled people feel they can participate in. These findings come from a new ComRes poll commissioned by Leonard Cheshire Disability.
‘At the start of this Paralympic year, let’s put this right.
‘Every January millions of us resolve to get fit. And by February, we are flagging.
‘Imagine how much harder it would be to keep your new year’s resolution if, when you arrive at the gym, none of the equipment is suitable for you — because of your disability.
‘Not only will you be less fit, but you will be excluded from a fun activity with your friends.’
A shocking 57% of the disabled people surveyed in our pre-Paralympic Games investigation said they had completed no moderate intensity physical activity at all in the last seven days.
In stark contrast, just 24% of non-disabled adults made the same claim!
‘From what I have seen and heard, Leonard Cheshire Disability and charities like them work hard to create sporting opportunities.
‘With another Paralympic games just around the corner comes another opportunity to inspire, motivate and invest in all sport for everyone.’
‘A lack of exercise provision suitable for disabled people’ was the main barrier for disabled people, with inaccessible facilities and fear of injury also high among the reasons given.
Ann Birtwistle creates sporting opportunities for residents at Greenhill House care home in Somerset.
‘The findings mirror what those we support in our homes have been telling us for years.
‘Without the provision of equipment for inclusive sports such as boccia (a bowls-type game played by people with all physical conditions), or the investment in disability-trained support staff, exercise and sport are often considered "out of reach" by those with severe disabilities.
‘We would like to see more consultation with organisations such as Leonard Cheshire Disability to ensure providers meet the standards necessary for disabled people to have confidence in participation.’
Many of our services provide regular physical activities for disabled people. Search for a service near you.