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Barriers stop majority of disabled people playing sport

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Seven out of 10 disabled people in England want to get more active - but a lack of opportunities are preventing them from doing so.

The figure comes from a new research report by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) which charts disabled people's lifestyles and their participation in physical activity.

The report reveals that despite the success of the 2012 Paralympic Games, disabled people are still facing a number of barriers which prevent their full participation in physical activity.

Overall, 60 per cent of those surveyed claimed that either a lack of available opportunities - or a lack of awareness of opportunities - is what's stopping them from taking part in sport and physical activity.

Another key finding is that 64 per cent of disabled people surveyed would prefer to take part in sport and physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.

Worryingly, more than half of young disabled people surveyed (51 per cent) are not enjoying their experiences of sport in school, compared to 69 per cent enjoying taking part in sport or physical activity with friends outside of school.

Barry Horne, chief executive of EFDS, said: "There's still a big gap between ambition and reality when it comes to disabled people's participation in physical activity.

"If people are being turned off participating in sport because of their experience at school for example, it creates a much greater challenge to engage people later in life when their behaviours and attitudes towards sports participation are more deeply ingrained.

"For disabled people who are keen to be active and want to be included, the development, delivery and active promotion of appropriate opportunities is essential."

While there are clearly still barriers for disabled people to get active, the research also highlights a number of positives which present opportunities for policymakers and sports providers.

These include the finding that 69 per cent stated that playing sport or being active was important to them.

And while only half of those surveyed enjoyed sport at school, disabled people who attended a special school - where provision for sport is more readily available - were more likely to have enjoyed PE at school (69 per cent).

Paralympic champion, baroness Tanni Grey Thompson added: "This research is timely as we seek to broaden opportunities for sporting participation and physical activity amongst disabled people. The findings should be used to influence and drive forward a key area of work."

To read the full report, click here.

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Seven out of 10 disabled people want to get more active - but 60 per cent claim lack of opportunities are preventing them from doing so. The figure comes from a new report by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) which charts disabled people's lifestyles and their participation in physical activity.
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