5k Run for Heroes is back this May!

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest things can make the biggest impact and there’s no better example of that than Run for Heroes.

That’s the charity which started the infamous 5k running challenge – Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5 – during the first lockdown.

What started as a plan to raise £5,000 for NHS charities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic went completely viral on social media, becoming a major fitness motivation and fundraising tool for more than a million people.

Since its humble beginnings in 2020, Run For Heroes has raised more than £7 million for NHS Charities and founder Olivia Strong has been awarded an MBE.

After the success of the original fundraiser, the nation is once again being encouraged to get active in the name of charity as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

Run for Heroes is launching its latest challenge by turning the month of May into a celebration of physical activity with their #5kMay campaign. Everyone is invited to take part, including Cerebral Palsy Sport supporters.

As the name suggests, it’s all about getting fit and hitting that 5km target. It’s not just about running though – you could walk, roll, skip or even swim your 5 kilometers if you wish! All that matters is getting your body moving and raising vital funds for a charity of your choosing.

Run For Heroes has partnered with a host of charities across the UK for 5kMay, with participants encouraged to consider donating to causes
such as Cerebral Palsy Sport after completing their challenge.

You can take part on your own or as a group, donate your £5 then nominate 5 friends or family members to complete their own 5km challenge.

With famous faces like Mo Farah, Ellie Goulding and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson backing previous Run For Heroes challenges, you may even spot a celebrity while out on your 5kMay journey.

Find out more about the challenge and rewards at www.runforheroes.org.uk

Return to Play – Step 2

Another welcome step in the return to play is coming next week as set out by the government.

From Monday12th April, indoor sport facilities can open to the public. This applies to most indoor sport and physical activity facilities, including gyms and leisure centres, sport courts and pitches, dance studios and fitness studios, climbing walls and climbing wall centres, multi-sport facilities (including driving ranges, archery venues and indoor riding centres) and swimming pools. For the latest guidance around returning to sport visit the Sport England website here.

Additionally, each sport governing body have their own set of guidelines for their specific sports.

CP Sport events and activities are anticipated to commence in the summer. The National CP Football League committee are aiming for summer activity for league teams and more information will be shared once confirmed and agreed by the committee. All other sport events once finalised will be in our events calendar https://www.cpsport.org/events/?summary=all  and we are also looking forward to working in partnership with many more organisations and sport national governing bodies this year to bring even more opportunities for people with cerebral palsy.  

Clubs providing sport and physical activity are also invited to register for our new club finder, and can find the CP Sport Club Finder Agreement here. A member of the club will need to sign up to its free Coach and Officials or Volunteers Membership here. For more information about the club finder contact richard.kerr@cpsport.org  

For adults with cerebral palsy looking to start or revisit their healthy habits Cerebral Palsy Sport and Adult CP Hub have created a 12 week programme starting on 19th April. It is aimed at those who want a more general activity programme to get moving this spring. Expert guidance and support from both organisations will help participants progress through the challenge, celebrate the successes and motivate through the stumbles to develop healthy habits. People can register their interest and find out more here: https://www.cpsport.org/events/?category=Sport%20Events  

Return to Play – Step 1

From today, Monday 29th March 2021, the government eases lockdown restrictions for sport. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, sports pitches, outdoor skateparks and outdoor swimming pools can reopen. Organised outdoor sport and physical activity for adults and children can return.  

The ‘return to play’ is welcome news to the sport sector and participants. 2020 was an unprecedented year with the onset of a global pandemic.  CP Sport cancelled all events from 12 March 2020 and soon moved into the virtual space providing social cafes, equipment rental service and a virtual challenge series. These provided a connection with beneficiaries and support for people with cerebral palsy to be active at home.

Sport England and Activity Alliance findings show that disabled people have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus, with specific impairment groups advised to shield from the beginning of the restrictions being imposed. Twice as many disabled people felt that coronavirus greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity compared to non-disabled people which has frequently resulted in physical and mental health being harder to manage. 

It is vital that opportunities to get active safely are available particularly for disabled people who are more likely to experience barriers to sport and activity. The physical, mental and social benefits of sport are widely reported and can be even more impactful for disabled people. CP Sport have been highlighting these findings during March, CP Awareness Month.  It is clear from our members that nothing can truly replicate the feeling and social benefits of taking part in real life sport groups and activities.

Information for disabled people and returning to sport can be found below.

Sport England provide helpful guidance on returning to activity:  https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/return-play/inclusion-and-accessibility-guidance#guidanceforspecificaudiences-10606 

Activity Alliance resources include a guide on reopening activity in an inclusive way 

We all have a role to play in making sure our return to sport and physical activity is as safe as possible. The latest government guidance can be found here

Volunteers have a vital role to play in helping to ensure the safe return for many sports and activities when coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are eased. Click here to read more.

CP Sport events 

CP Sport events and activities are anticipated to commence in the summer. The National CP Football League committee are aiming for summer activity for league teams and more information will be shared once confirmed and agreed by the committee. All other sport events once finalised will be in our events calendar https://www.cpsport.org/events/?summary=all  and we are also looking forward to working in partnership with many more organisations and sport national governing bodies this year to bring even more opportunities for people with cerebral palsy.  

Clubs providing sport and physical activity are also invited to register for our new club finder, and can find the CP Sport Club Finder Agreement here. A member of the club will need to sign up to its free Coach and Officials or Volunteers Membership here. For more information about the club finder contact richard.kerr@cpsport.org  

For adults with cerebral palsy looking to kick start their healthy habits Cerebral Palsy Sport and Adult CP Hub have created a 12 week programme starting on 12th April. It is aimed at those who want a more general activity programme to get moving this spring. Expert guidance and support from both organisations will help participants progress through the challenge, celebrate the successes and motivate through the stumbles to develop healthy habits. People can register their interest and find out more here: https://www.cpsport.org/events/?category=Sport%20Events  

-End - 

About Cerebral Palsy Sport 

CP Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports organisation improving the health and emotional wellbeing of children and adults with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and interventions.  

About Adult CP Hub:  

Adult CP Hub was established to create a home for adults with Cerebral Palsy and put their needs at the forefront of the minds of the medical and research community. Their dedicated team of medical professionals are always on hand to help and support those with CP including physiotherapists, neurologists, therapists and more. 

Return to play information:  

Sport England guidance: Frequently asked questions on the national coronavirus restrictions | Sport England 

Swim England guidance:  https://swimming.app.box.com/s/aydu72bn10zwui6mgv34pmi8od8e9ko7/file/722439264480 

England Athletics guidance: https://www.englandathletics.org/athletics-and-running/news/guidance-update-2021/

The Lawn Tennis Association guidance https://www.lta.org.uk/about-us/tennis-news/news-and-opinion/general-news/2020/march/coronavirus-covid-19—latest-advice/#england?utm_campaign=corporate_announcement&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=coronavirus-29-march

Football Association guidance – https://www.thefa.com/news/2021/mar/24/fa-guidance-for-return-to-grassroots-football-20210324 

Advice on reopening for clubs please refer to the Activity Alliance document Reopening Activity: An inclusive response:  http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/how-we-help/resources/reopening-activity.   

Contact info@cpsport.org for any questions about return to play.

New ‘Spring into Action’ 12 week programme for adults with cerebral palsy

CP Sport and Adult CP Hub are joining together to bring you a brand new programme, Spring into Action.

We know staying active as possible is one of the best ways to keeping healthy and maintaining our skills, we also know how hard it is sometimes too.

Join us as we emerge from Lockdown and over this 12 week programme with expert guidance and support, we will help you through this challenge, celebrate the successes and motivate through the stumbles to develop healthy habits.

You will be part of a supportive community of like-minded people who want to get moving after Lockdown- have fun and get ready for a great summer!

Spring into Action is for 18+ and designed to get you moving. You will have the option of signing up to 1 of 2 groups:

Group 1Those just starting their journey into moving more and being active.

Group 2: Those who are already being active or into a sport but would like to be motivated or find new ways to keep moving.

The programme will start on 19th April and run for 12 consecutive weeks.

Each week we will be running a social group session on a Monday (group 1) and Wednesday (Group 2) at 6.30pm-8pm.

We will have exciting guest speakers where you can ask questions and chat to other participants to help you along the way.

You will set your own targets (with help from CP Sport and Adult CP Hub) and we will help you achieve that target within the 12 weeks. You will also have access to advice from mentors and medical professionals throughout your journey.

The cost of the 12 week programme: Members- £25 , non-members- £45

If you are interested in joining this amazing 12 week programme, please register your interest through Go Membership

Please note: This link is purely to register your interest. You will be asked to fill in a questionnaire and once this has been returned, you will be sent the link to officially sign up to the programme and all it’s amazing benefits

For more information on Spring into Action, please contact

CP Sport- Jennifer.basford@cpsport.org / 07955119018

Adult CP Hub- miriam@adultcphub.org / 07951019508

About Adult CP Hub

Adult CP Hub was established to create a home for adults with Cerebral Palsy and put their needs at the forefront of the minds of the medical and research community. Their dedicated team of medical professionals are always on hand to help and support those with CP including physiotherapists, neurologists, therapists and more.

One year on – what we have learnt

It was a year ago today (12 March 2020) that we made our first announcements about COVID-19, cancelling and postponing events and behind the scenes the team moving out of the offices in Nottingham and starting to work from home. Over the last year we have learnt so much and changed so much but in essence still with the aspiration we have always had of providing more opportunities and choice for people with cerebral palsy to be active and enjoy sport.  

Personally I am proud to lead an organisation that has adapted so well to the very challenging circumstances that we and our community have found ourselves in. We have delivered a brand new virtual programme from scratch, worked with new partners, developed new relationships and renewed those relationships we already had.  

But what I feel is our greatest achievement over the last year is our ability to listen to our community and as a result really started to understand what they want and need from us. The catalyst for this has been the virtual cafes, initiated and led by Sandy Drummond. Through the cafes we have been able to provide a service for people with cp to stay socially connected and a safe space to discuss the challenges they are facing, not only through the pandemic but in everyday life – we have had conversations about modelling, sport, activity, language, clothing, school, poetry and much more and we have had some fantastic guests telling their story and sharing their journey. From the cafes has come an opportunity for us to get to know our beneficiaries better and have conversations we wouldn’t usually have. It is what we have heard in these conversations that has led to the insight and stories that we have been sharing during CP Awareness month and has led to us continuing to develop new programmes because we have been told directly by our community this is what they want and need.  

This past year has provided us with the opportunity to really start to listen and understand what our community needs in order to do the things they want to do. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, and start to look forward to the next 20 years, we pledge to continue listening and working tirelessly so that everyone with cerebral palsy is able to access and enjoy being physically active throughout their lives.

Thank you to our Board of Trustees for their support, advice and good humour during an unprecedented year. Thank you to the fantastic CP Sport team who have been so positive and motivated throughout. Finally the biggest thanks goes to our beneficiaries and their families, volunteers, supporters and fundraisers for their continued support – we look forward to seeing you soon.

Adi Fawcett, COO Cerebral Palsy Sport

International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. 

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:

  • celebrate women’s achievements
  • raise awareness about women’s equality
  • lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraise for female-focused charities

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.

Find out more about the campaign here

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month: The impact of sport for people with cerebral palsy

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, which is dedicated to the 17 million people diagnosed with cerebral palsy around the world. 

Cerebral palsy affects many people in the UK and is more common than some people realise. Around 2-2.5 in every 1000 children in the UK are born with cerebral palsy and there are an estimated 30,000 children with cerebral palsy in the UK. 

For Cerebral Palsy Sport, CP Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and the work carried out by the charity.  

CP Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports organisation improving the health and emotional wellbeing of children and adults with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and interventions. 

It is well recognised that sport provides many benefits socially, physically and mentally and this March CP Sport is highlighting the impact sport can have on an individual’s day to day experience of cp as well. A number of members, ambassadors and athletes with cp have shared their personal experiences saying that regular exercise and developing strength can have a variety of effects for them, which include improved handwriting, reduced spasms, or helping them sit up unaided. Some said that lockdown and a drop off in regular activity has in some cases made their cp ‘worse’. CP Sport will be showcasing these personal insights throughout the month on social media.  

Image of Tegan Vincent-Cooke

Cerebral Palsy Sport is also commencing its celebrations of 20 years of the charity and will be sharing more about its journey over two decades and hearing first-hand accounts about the impact it has had for individuals and families involved in its programmes through participation, volunteering, fundraising and working for the charity.  

Cerebral palsy and physical activity 

Cerebral palsy is the most common form of physical disability in the world and affects muscle control, coordination and motor skills. In addition to a range of physical difficulties, many people with cerebral palsy report feelings of isolation and exclusion from activities which can impact on well-being and self-belief. 

People with cerebral palsy are significantly more likely to encounter barriers that can prevent them from accessing sport which can make them feel marginalised, isolated and disengaged from their peers and local community. Typical barriers include lack of accessibility and inclusive opportunities, lack of support and a shortfall of skills from professionals around enabling people with cerebral palsy to engage in sports. 

Those with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities might be very passionate about sports and enjoy watching and supporting a team, but may have had very few real opportunities to participate. As children they may have negative experiences of being excluded from taking part; or they are the last person to be picked or their participation is tokenistic which can leave them feeling isolated and excluded.

The inclusive work of CP Sport aims to address these disadvantages by enabling people to engage in a range of adapted activities that seek to maximise potential and improve skills and well-being. Every year CP Sport gives hundreds of children, young people and adults with cerebral palsy the chance to access physical activity and social interaction that is an important part of sport. All this is only achievable because of the kindness and generosity of organisations and individuals who support the charity.

 

The impact of Covid-19 

It is important to consider those who have felt too anxious, scared or unable to exercise during the pandemic, something many of us have been able to confidently keep doing or even start doing. Exercise has been consistently encouraged during the pandemic as an essential part of our health and wellbeing. However, for people with a disability like cerebral palsy this is not so simple. They may need specialist equipment, a coach to support them or may have being shielding.  

Evidence shows that disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Accounting for two-thirds of the deaths from coronavirus, this is a national crisis for public health and one that is being felt most sharply by disabled people. It has led to many disabled people, who count for one in five of the population, feeling more fearful and ignored. *  

Lockdown has also highlighted the impact a decrease in exercise can have an individual’s cp. One member told us that less regular walking has cause an increase in ankle and hamstring pain when trying to walk any distance. Another member said;  

“I noticed after the first lockdown spending 12 weeks inside shielding and only using my chair a minimal amount, I really struggled to push my chair and my hand function was worse as I wasn’t used to using the muscles to that extent anymore. It took a good few months to build that back up”. 

Image of Sam James from Inclusfit
Image of CP Athlete RaceRunning

During lockdown CP Sport have continued to work hard to help keep people with cp active and connected through free virtual cafes and fitness classes, virtual challenges with expert coaches and speakers, and equipment rental services with ongoing support. 

The feedback from participants and families has been extremely encouraging;

“The opportunity to hire a RaceRunner was amazing. I would never have had the opportunity to try RaceRunning without this service and really picked up the hang of it after two hours!”

“Lucas has joined the virtual cafes which have been brilliant to meet up with other children with cp in a safe and welcoming environment.”

“Our daughter found her smile again and gained confidence from being part of an organisation that really cares.”

A full list of events can be found here.  

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on 22nd February, CP Sport COO Adi Fawcett said;  

We were pleased to see the announcement from the Prime Minister on 22nd February setting out the roadmap towards the end of lockdown, and to see sport and physical activity featured during each of the 4 steps towards 21 June and the removal of all legal limits on social contact. We will continue with our planning towards the delivery of events on the ground, taking into account the government and national governing body advice and work with our partners to deliver events when it is safe and appropriate to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to encourage everyone to be active and stay socially connected through our virtual classes, cafes and events. We look forward to seeing everyone again and supporting our community in confidently returning to sport.” 

Image of Wheelchair Tennis player James Shaw

Support Cerebral Palsy Sport this March  

Help CP Sport to encourage more people with cp to be active at home and have the confidence to return to safe spaces after lockdown so they can enjoy all the social, emotional and physical benefits of sport whether that’s virtually or together.  

CP Sport are encouraging members of the public to get involved in ‘Twenty Miles This March’ and help the charity reach and encourage more children and young people with cerebral palsy into being physically active.    

Anyone can take part. 20 miles of running is the challenge for the month of March,  however participants can tailor it to suit them whether that’s walking, cycling, pushing or a going for a different distance. There is the whole month to complete it and for those people who are on Facebook they can simply join the event  Facebook group and follow the steps to start fundraising. Alternatively for those not on Facebook it’s easy to set up a Just Giving page or simply make a donation to CP Sport. There is also a ‘club’ on Strava here. Participants can get a free t-shirt and if they raise £200 or more, a medal.  

Green is the colour people recognise as being associated with cerebral palsy awareness so show your support this March by proudly wearing green.  

CP Sport are working in partnership with Scope for virtual cafes and the Bobath Centre for the Twenty Miles This March Fundraiser. This CP Awareness month Scope are talking about what living with CP is like in 2021, jobs, education, love, parenthood. Join the conversation on the online community #LetsTalkCP #CPAwarenessMonth


*Activity Alliance 2021 http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/news/6002-research-reveals-pandemics-true-impact-on-disabled-peoples-activity

Find cerebral palsy key facts and statistics here 

Return to Sport progress

We were pleased to see the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday (22 February) setting out the roadmap towards the end of lockdown, and to see sport and physical activity featured during each of the 4 steps towards 21 June and the removal of all legal limits on social contact.

We will continue with our planning towards the delivery of events on the ground, taking into account the government and national governing body advice and work with our partners to deliver events when it is safe and appropriate to do so. 

In the meantime we will continue to encourage everyone to be active and stay socially connected through our virtual classes, cafes and events.  We look forward to seeing everyone again and supporting our community in confidently returning to sport. You can find all of our events here.

Please find more information about return to sport updates and latest guidance at the Sport England website here

CP Sport launch 20 mile fundraising celebration challenge

National Disability Sport Organisation Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) is celebrating its 20th year this March, the anniversary coinciding with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.  

‘Twenty Miles This March’ is a new Facebook fundraising campaign created to mark the 20th year of the charity and with the ambition to reach a new audience of fundraisers in support of the charities work, which is as important as ever during this pandemic.   

Why this fundraising is important 

Research by the Activity Alliance shows disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Accounting for two-thirds of the deaths from coronavirus, this is a national crisis for public health and one that is being felt most sharply by disabled people. It has led to many disabled people, who count for one in five of the population, feeling more fearful and ignored. * 

Exercise is great for maintaining a healthy body and mind whether we are disabled or not, however it’s the barriers that disabled people face that mean they are often less likely to be active. CP Sport strive to improve the health and emotional wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and intervention.  

During lockdown CP Sport have continued to work hard to help keep people with cp active and connected through free virtual cafes, virtual challenges with expert coaches and speakers and equipment rental services with ongoing support. 

One Mum said of her daughter who has cp,  

“From attending the first lockdown cafe she got to know the other participants, found her voice, joined the Superhero event and wanted to take part in the virtual challenge.  She found her smile again and gained confidence from being part of an organisation that cares. As her Mum I am so very grateful to you all, you helped her through what has been a very hard time.” 

It is important that everyone has access to sport and physical activities and that everyone has the choice to take part in any sport or activity they are interested in. Research has shown that the majority of disabled people want to be active but don’t know how to get started or where the opportunities are. CP Sport are working to break down these barriers through education and training.  

How to get involved 

CP Sport are encouraging all members of the public to get involved in ‘Twenty Miles This March’ and help CP Sport reach and encourage more children and young people with cerebral palsy into being physically active.   

Anyone can take part. 20 miles of running is the challenge for the month of March, however participants can tailor it to suit them whether that’s walking, pushing or a going for a different distance. And there is the whole month to complete it.  

For those people who are on Facebook they can simply join our Facebook group and follow the steps to start fundraising. Alternatively for those not on Facebook it’s easy to set up a Just Giving page or simply make a donation to CP Sport.   You can also find our ‘club’ on Strava here if you use that app.

Once participants have set up a fundraising page they can register for a t-shirt. CP Sport will send a medal to those who raise more than £200.   

Reflecting on the 20 year milestone CP Sport COO Adi Fawcett said:  

Since the Paralympics in 2000 there has been a higher profile of disabled people doing sport at the highest level and there have been some great role models from the performance pathway.  For example athletics has seen the growth of the Parallel events calendar that has grown significantly over the last 20 years and during the season there are a lot of events being delivered.  Another example is the sport of boccia starting with CP Sport and has now become a national governing body in its own right.  We have seen the range of sports increase offering some good choice and opportunities such as; swimming, table cricket, frame running, athletics, football, bowls, tennis, boccia.  We have also seen this year the change to virtual events and activities which are continuing to grow and will continue into the future.  There is still a significant amount of work to do to support everyone with cerebral palsy to be active and we look forward to the next 20 years providing the opportunity for everyone to play, participate and enjoy sport”.  

Developing links with other CP organisations is crucial to the work of the charity in ensuring more people are reached in the work that we do. We are delivering this event in parallel with the Bobath Centre.  Both organisations will be encouraging their networks to get moving and get active and complete 20 miles during March – CP Awareness Month.   

Adi continues;

“We have worked together to develop this fundraising event and will work together during the month to encourage people to take part and also to showcase the stories of people who are taking up the challenge.  We feel it is important that organisations who support people with cerebral palsy should work in collaboration to raise awareness of cerebral palsy.”

END

About CP Sport 

Cerebral Palsy Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports organisation improving the health and emotional wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and interventions. 

About the Bobath Centre 

The National Bobath Cerebral Palsy Centre is a charity that has been operating for over 60 years. At it’s core, it is a training and therapy centre, specialising in the Bobath approach for cerebral palsy (CP) and other neurological conditions. The pioneering Bobath approach is a holistic method, which looks at the body as a whole. A dedicated team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists work closely together to provide a joined up approach and maximise potential. 

*Activity Alliance 2021 http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/news/6002-research-reveals-pandemics-true-impact-on-disabled-peoples-activity 

For further information about the event contact info@cpsport.org  

Call to prioritise disabled people in sport and leisure as new research reveals huge pandemic impact

Activity Alliance is urging decision makers in sport and leisure to prioritise disabled people as they strive to recover from the pandemic. The leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity is seriously concerned about the potential long-term damage on the nation’s least active. The call comes on the day the national charity releases their latest Annual Disability and Activity Survey. The new research shows twice as many disabled people felt that coronavirus greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity compared to non-disabled people.

Evidence shows disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Accounting for two-thirds of the deaths from coronavirus, this is a national crisis for public health and one that is being felt most sharply by disabled people. It has led to many disabled people, who count for one in five of the population, feeling more fearful and ignored. 

The stark impact of this crisis on disabled people’s attitudes towards sport and activity is clear in Activity Alliance’s latest Annual Survey. This unique survey explores disabled and non-disabled people’s activity and views to help grow insight and shape future opportunities.

Activity Alliance exists to reduce the fairness gap between disabled and non-disabled people’s activity levels. Prior to the pandemic, collectively we were starting to close this gap, with more disabled people recorded being active than ever before. Yet, disabled people are still twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive.

This year’s survey results show how the pandemic is not only widening existing inequalities for disabled people but creating new ones too. Key findings include:

  • Disabled people felt that they do not have the opportunity to be as active as they want to, compared to non-disabled people (29% vs 44%).
  • Almost a quarter stated that they had not received enough information about how to be active during the pandemic (23% vs 13%).
  • Respondents said the lack of activity has led to both their physical and mental health being harder to manage. Feelings of loneliness and social isolation were frequently voiced.
  • A fear of contracting the virus, the impact on their health, a lack of space and support to be able to exercise safely at home, have become significant barriers for disabled people.

Barry Horne, Chief Executive at Activity Alliance, commented on the latest research:

“The benefits of being active are clear. It matters for everyone’s physical and mental health and has enormous impact on our daily lives. So, it is never acceptable that disabled people should not reap these benefits too.

“We appreciate we have a national crisis on our hands and leaders need to make tough decisions in sport and leisure. But we have not heard near enough about the impact on disabled people’s lives during the pandemic. No disabled person should ever feel forgotten or overlooked in the communities we all serve.

“That’s why this insight is so important. We have listened to disabled people and urge decision makers to do the same, and act swiftly upon the findings. If we do not act now, we will witness inequalities widen even further, or unthinkably they may become irreversible. Prioritising disabled people is the only way to prevent this from happening. Every plan, every action and every penny spent must be tested against its impact on disabled people’s activity.”

The Annual Survey follows Sport England launching their 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement, which highlights their ambition to tackle inequalities, especially for inactive people. They pinpoint the need to invest in those who need it the most, with fairness and equity at the heart.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive at Sport England said on this latest research:

“This past year has highlighted the challenges we face in making sure sport and physical activity is a normal part of life – for everyone.

“We take our responsibility in tackling these inequalities and supporting organisations like Activity Alliance extremely seriously and working to remove barriers and make activity more accessible for disabled people underpins our new strategy.

“It is important that everyone is able to feel the benefits of being active, which can help unlock the door to a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.”

The full report is available to view at www.activityalliance.org.uk/annual-survey