Supporting more disabled people to be active for life

EFDS Active for life strategy image

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) has launched a Strategic Plan to guide its work through to 2017. Called ‘Active for Life’- it sets out a clear vision that supports positive participation for all disabled people. The charity wants disabled people to be able to enjoy regular sport and physical activity, wherever and in whatever sport or activity they wish to.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired many disabled people across our nation. It proved a milestone in our sporting history and sparked lots of interest from disabled people looking for opportunities to take part. But the harsh fact is that four out of five disabled people are not active in England. Not every disabled person wants to or can be a Paralympian, so organisations like EFDS are crucial to raise awareness, support others to increase the opportunities and encourage disabled people themselves to be active.

EFDS believe disabled people have a value in and a right to be part of every area in sport. A strong strategic focus is on the real benefits for disabled people, starting from direct participation in sport and physical activity. However, we also actively encourage and enable disabled people to take part in all aspects of sport, whether as volunteers, or paid employees. This includes key roles as volunteers, leaders, coaches and teachers in the sector.

EFDS’s Honorary President, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, said about the new strategy:

“Disabled people deserve the same rights to be active as everybody else, no matter whether they want to make use of their local gym or become an elite athlete. This is why the English Federation of Disability Sport have such an important role to play. Our work towards equality in sport means disabled people will be able to access more positive opportunities in sport and physical activity.”

As well as a funded National Partner of Sport England, EFDS is a Federation which provides a platform for collaborative working across England and the main impairment groups. This strategy, backed by core values, lays out ambitious outcomes, which EFDS hope will be shared by the wider sectors. The document provides a clear route map to guide EFDS and the collective family’s focus and impact over the next five years.

The strategy was launched at the EFDS’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 4 July. It outlines five outcomes as follows:

  • Provider commitment
  • Pathways and progress
  • Personal development
  • Public perception
  • Participation for life

Barry Horne, Chief Executive of the EFDS, said:

“We have worked hard to ensure our charity has an important role and purpose in England. Not all disabled people will want to become elite performers, so it’s important there is a vast amount of high quality opportunities from local to international level. Disabled people should have a memorable time taking part because positive experiences mean more will actually want to continue, as well as develop an active lifestyle.”

Charles Reed, Chair of the EFDS, said:

“This strategy is the start of an important journey for us as an organisation, as well as for disability sport in England. Importantly, disabled people are placed at the heart of our work, to ensure what we say and do is influenced by their needs. We will continue to work with our partners, funders and wider family, to ensure disabled people can truly be active for life.”

For further information, visit www.efds.co.uk

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