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BLOG: Ensuring all disabled students have the opportunity to be physically active

28 October 2019

Sport England released its latest Active Lives Adult Survey report earlier this month. In this blog, Shannon Howarth, Disability Development Officer, looks at how AoC Sport is working hard to increase the physical activity levels of disabled students. The report provides an update on the sporting and physical activity behaviours and trends of adults in England. Notably this year’s results show 216,300 more disabled adults are getting active. While this is great news and inactivity is down 1.4%, it is still twice as likely for a disabled person to be inactive than it is for a non-disabled person. That’s why at AoC Sport, we are working hard to increase physical activity levels of disabled students and collaborating on many initiatives with Sport England. In 2018 we released our disability strategy, ‘Active for College, Work and Life’, supporting colleges to overcome the barriers and obstacles preventing them from developing activities for disabled students. The strategy also considered ways to help students compete, participate and volunteer as well as ensure physical activity at colleges is inclusive. One of the ways we are doing this is by working with Boccia England to deliver Local Development Opportunities in every region, culminating with a celebration event at our National Championships. According to Sport England’s findings, disabled adults make up 13% of all volunteers in sport and physical activity, despite making up 21% of the population. To encourage and inspire more disabled students to take up volunteering, we’ve launched the Inclusive Ambassador programme. Anyone can apply and a mixture of disabled and non-disabled students will be used as a sounding board to check and challenge ideas about inclusivity and ensure disabled students are not overlooked. The deadline for applications is Monday 4 November. Anyone hoping to become an Inclusive Ambassador will be given training through the Active Alliance Inclusivity Activity Programme, accredited by UK Coaching. The programme will equip participants with the skills to engage disabled people in activities whilst giving them the practical tools to support inclusive delivery. There are many ways for colleges to be involved in helping increase activity levels and here at AoC Sport we’re excited about and committed to ensuring all disabled students have the opportunity to be physically active. To find out more about our work or explore opportunities for your college please contact me.