At the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), we work to increase opportunities for disabled people in sport and physical activity. We support a wide range of organisations to include disabled people more effectively. Our vision is that disabled people are active for life and they have access to the same opportunities as non-disabled people. We want sport and physical activity to provide a meaningful and enjoyable experience for disabled people at every level. In developing partnerships across sectors, we are able to share our knowledge, expertise and better practice to help providers deliver more inclusive programmes.
Becoming a member to the Disability Action Alliance (DAA) has been key to this work. It has enabled EFDS to engage with Alliance members from across the country and provide a valuable link to local sport industry partners and providers.
EFDS’s membership to the DAA has provided great benefits recently in the North East of England. At Disability North’s International Day for Disabled People event in December 2013, EFDS staff were successful in establishing relationships with a number of local disabled people’s organisations. One such organisation was Useful Vision, who support young people with visual impairments and their families across the North East. This engagement led to a great family fun day in Newcastle, organised jointly by Useful Vision and EFDS’s National Governing Body partners the Lawn Tennis Association and Goalball UK. The event provided visually impaired (VI) people with the opportunity to try a range of racket and ball sports with friends, family and carers. Children aged eight and over were also able to use specialist equipment designed for young people, in the multi-gym at Walker Dome. Participants throughout the day were given information about how they can continue to take part locally at community based VI tennis and goalball clubs and sessions.
Our membership to the DAA has continued to provide new opportunities for EFDS to support disabled people to lead an active lifestyle. In Gloucestershire, EFDS were able to support Active Gloucestershire (County Sport Partnership) to develop a new inclusion network, to forge stronger links with the disability sector locally and increase sport and physical activity participation of disabled people. And so, Gloucestershire Active Inclusion Network (GAIN) was born, with over 50 people attending the first GAIN forum. This was made possible with the connections and links that membership to the Disability Action Alliance provided. GAIN will now be a key partner to Active Gloucestershire’s development of an inclusive strategy for disabled people across the county.
EFDS has helped facilitate and encourage nearly 60 sports organisations to become members of the Disability Action Alliance, meaning that both more national and local programmes designed for disabled people can benefit from enhanced opportunities of this comprehensive network.
By Ray Ashley