Disabled people want to watch and try more inclusive sport

Today, the English Federation of Disability Sport release the Games impact report, capturing public perception on the wider legacy and impact on disabled people in sport. Findings highlighted both disabled and non-disabled people want to watch more sport for disabled people. It also identified disabled people’s desire to play more sport.

The survey, which ran from 10 September until 30 September, asked respondents a range of questions on both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition, the charity measured the level of awareness and people’s perceptions of a small scale Pass the Baton campaign conducted by EFDS before, during and after the Paralympic Games. Over five hundred disabled and non-disabled people answered the survey. It found that the London 2012 Games, in particular the Paralympics, had a significant impact on people’s perceptions and attitude toward disabled people in sport.

Both Games raised awareness of the wide range of opportunities available for disabled people in sport. It also had a positive impact on non-disabled people’s perceptions of disabled people in general, any disabled person playing sport as well as elite disabled athletes. The wider impact in sport meant it has encouraged people to look beyond the impairment and see the capabilities of disabled people in sport.

Out of the respondents, 95% watched both Games and 96% watched the Paralympics.  After watching the Games four out of ten respondents chose ‘Paralympians are inspirational role models too’  as the main message, selected  at least twice as often as any of the other messages.

Of the 500 people who watched the Paralympics, nine out of ten disabled people said they had considered watching disabled people in sport previously. However, the impact of the Paralympics on non-disabled people was significant with eight out of ten now interested in watching disabled people in sport (compared to seven out of ten before the Paralympics).

The survey showed that non-disabled people were almost twice as likely as disabled people to have changed their opinions after watching the Paralympics.

  • Nearly half of non-disabled people (43%) compared to a quarter of disabled people changed their opinions of disabled people in general.
  • Just over half of non-disabled people (52%) compared to over a third of disabled people (36%) changed their opinions of any disabled person playing sport
  • Over half of non-disabled people (59%) compared to over a third of disabled people (38%) changed their opinions of elite disabled athletes

Watching the Paralympics inspired seven out of ten people to consider attending sports events for disabled people as a spectator and eight out of ten disabled people are considering taking part in more sport or exercise.

Response to EFDS’s promotional campaign was very positive. Three out of ten respondents were aware of the ‘Pass the Baton’ campaign, increasing to four out of ten among disabled people.  Almost nine out of ten respondents (88%) had a positive reaction to the campaign. People felt that the main limitation of the campaign was its limited exposure.

Emma Spring, EFDS’s Research and Insight Manager said: “The survey clearly demonstrates there is an overwhelming interest in sport for disabled people, and people are keen to watch and be more involved in it. However, to fully realise the opportunity the Paralympics have provided and answer the public’s desire for more, it will require more investment and promotion to support the demand. EFDS continue to draw from this and other insight to ensure disabled people’s needs are identified and met”.

The full report can be downloaded here or through the direct link http://www.efds.co.uk/resources/research/1207_efds_legacy_questionnaire_findings_report_2012

More information on EFDS can be found at www.efds.co.uk.

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