The Toyota Parasport fund has invested more than £390,000 in clubs and activity providers across the UK in the past 12 months to empower disabled people to get into sport.
Additionally, the fund is set to receive a further boost next month with more than £200,000 targeted to help clubs bounce back from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
In partnership between Toyota (GB), ParalympicsGB, Sport England and the Home Nations Disability Sports Organisations, the Toyota Parasport fund, launched in 2019, provides training and equipment to enable disabled people to become more active.
“At Toyota, we are committed to creating a fairer and more inclusive society,” says Agustín Martín, Toyota (GB) president and managing director.
To date, the fund has directly benefitted 93 clubs in England with grants for vital equipment, while accessibility and inclusivity training has been delivered to an estimated 1,000 people across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, helping to upskill activity providers to cater for the needs of participants with a diverse range of disabilities.
Norfolk Snow Sports Club, which runs adaptive skiing sessions, was among the 93 successful funding applicants in England.
Richard Roberts, the club’s adaptive programme co-ordinator, says: “We’ve been running a programme for people with disabilities to go sliding down the hill in a sit ski, either assisted by an instructor or self-propelled.
“But our equipment is very old, and out of date, and we wanted to renew it with the latest equipment. In particular, we wanted equipment with a more comfortable seat, better head support, more comfortable strapping and safety harness. That’s what we will use the Toyota Parasport funding for.
“We hope to be up and running, all being well, with new equipment by the start of the winter season.”
“The Toyota Parasport fund is a huge boost to ensuring activity providers are able to access the equipment and have the training they need to offer the best possible experience for disabled people,” adds Mike Sharrock, chief executive of ParalympicsGB.
“We want to thank Sport England, Mencap NI, Scottish Disability Sport, Disability Sport Wales and Toyota GB for their generous support during these incredibly challenging times for the sector.
“We know disabled people are still far less likely to take part in physical activity than non-disabled people. That is why we relaunched Parasport in 2019.
Parasport.org.uk has more than 3,500 activities listed to help disabled people find inclusive opportunities in their local area and also promotes virtual classes and home workout videos people can use while activity providers are closed due to the ongoing pandemic.