From today organisations with the right ideas to open up more sporting opportunities for disabled people and those in need of equipment will be able to bid for a share of £8 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England.
With disabled people only half as likely to play sport on a weekly basis compared to non-disabled, this funding will help tackle the opportunity gap by investing £7 million through the Inclusive Sport fund and £1 million in Get Equipped, a new disability equipment fund.
Sport England Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “Last summer’s Paralympic Games sent a very clear message about disability sport. We need to build upon this and make sure the opportunities and the equipment are there for those disabled people who want to take part in sport. I would encourage any organisation seeking to help more disabled people to play sport to apply to this fund.”
With 44 projects sharing in £10.2 million of Inclusive Sport funding in round one, the projects already funded will introduce 60,000 disabled people to sport by 2016. One person already benefitting is 30-year-old Julie, who has cerebral palsy. She discovered rowing thanks to Oundle Town Rowing Club’s outreach programme that introduces the sport to disabled people across Northamptonshire using rowing machines and on the water training.
With little movement in her arms and legs prior to starting, the indoor rowing sessions have helped Julie increase her mobility and after nine sessions she is rowing on the machines without support and has progressed to taking part in water sessions.
Steve Rustage, Oundle Town Rowing Club Development Officer, said: “Over the past few years we have been limited to working with just a few disabled young people. With the funding we received from Sport England, we’ve been able to go out into day centres, colleges and schools to help disabled people like Julie get involved in sport. By the end of the year we hope to have introduced over 800 disabled people from across Northamptonshire to rowing, both indoor and outdoor.”
The £1 million of new funding available through Get Equipped will also help address the need for specialist equipment to deliver disability sport. Both disabled people and sport deliverers have identified the cost and availability of equipment as a barrier to taking part in sport. The funding will allow clubs to apply for up to £10,000 to purchase sports equipment designed to support the delivery of sport for disabled people.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: “The Paralympics made people think about disability differently and I want to make sure that we build on that. As part of the Paralympic legacy we want to see increased opportunities for disabled people to get involved in sport and ensure we have the funding to support that ambition. This £8 million public fund will go towards disability sport projects up and down the country and provide essential equipment to get more disabled people participating.”
This investment builds on the work already being done by Sport England to make grassroots sport truly open to everyone. More than £157 million is being invested in programmes and projects to increase the number of disabled people playing sport via our legacy programmes and our Youth and Community Strategy.
Applications for both Inclusive Sport and Get Equipped open on Monday 7 October and close at 5pm on 2 December 2013.
To download a copy of the Inclusive Sport fund prospectus, click here or to apply for Inclusive Sport funding, visit www.sportengland.org/funding/our-different-funds/inclusive-sport
To apply for Get Equipped funding, visit www.sportengland.org/funding/our-different-funds/get-equipped