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12 May 2021 | 7:07

A new strategy from Activity Alliance has been published with two goals: changing attitudes towards disabled people, and embedding inclusive practice in sport and activity. 

The new strategy, entitled ‘Achieving Fairness’, follows new research which reveals the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people, with just over seven in 10 disabled people (72%) agreeing the crisis has made sport and physical activity less fair for disabled people. 

A YouGov poll commissioned by the national charity, which seeks to act as a voice for disabled people in sport and physical activity, also showed only three in 10 (30%) disabled people agree they have the same opportunity to be active as non-disabled people.Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people [1]. A slight improvement before the pandemic has been overshadowed by an increase in inactivity for disabled people during the crisis, with 2.7% more disabled people classed as inactive between November 2019 and November 2020 than the previous 12-month period.

Activity Alliance strategy

One in five of us count as a disabled person in this country [2]. The full impact of the pandemic is still unknown, but insight already shows it has widened inequalities and created new barriers in sport and activity for disabled people, and Activity Alliance says key to building a fairer society will be a shift in people’s perceptions about what disabled people can and cannot do. 

The poll also reveals the public’s support in changing attitudes, with over four in five adults (85%) agreeing that attitudes about disabled people need to improve generally. 

Barry Horne, Chief Executive at Activity Alliance, said: “Our new strategy recognises the need to embed inclusive practices across organisations and to change attitudes towards disabled people in all aspects of sport and physical activity. 

“Everything we do in the next three years will be shaped by our determination to see a real step change in disabled people’s activity. We need to raise awareness of the barriers, some of them longstanding, and collaboratively, drive change. The pandemic has widened the inequalities that already existed for disabled people, and the findings of our research confirm this.” 

The strategy sets out a response to the issues raised by the pandemic. It also identifies four key objectives for the organisation over the next three years: 

  • Champion disabled people’s voices and maximise Activity Alliance’s visibility. 
  • Use high-quality expertise and insight to educate and inform decision-making, and influence policy. 
  • Address inequalities through collaboration, improving engagement and delivery with and for disabled people. 
  • Maximise the use of investment and that of our partners to enable disabled people’s activity. 

The Activity Alliance 2021-24 strategy 'Achieving Fairness' is available to view at activityalliance.org.uk/strategy

References 
[1] Sport England, Active Lives Adult Survey Nov 19-20 (2021) 
[2] Department for Work and Pensions, Family Resources Survey 2019-20 (2021) 
[3] Sport England, Active Lives Survey May 19-20 Coronavirus Report (2020)