Head of Spinal Injury, Raquel Siganporia, was interviewed this morning on BBC London about the ‘Sporting Chance’ reportSeptember 23, 2015
According to the ‘Sporting Chance’ report, released yesterday, two-thirds of the Capital’s 1.5m disabled people cannot access sport, despite the Mayor of London’s £22.5m investment in sport. Reasons behind this include poor staff attitudes, health concerns acting as a barrier to participation, lack of appropriate supervision and difficulties accessing facilities.
The ‘Sporting Chance’ report recommends the following steps to increase sports participation among people with disabilities:
- Local councils should apply for funds from the Mayor’s existing £22.5m Sports Legacy Programme to train all staff and leisure centres in disability and inclusivity awareness
- Every leisure centre should have a member of staff, trained with an Exercise and Disability qualification, available at all times
- Fitness classes should be adaptable to those with accessibility needs
The full report, “Sporting Chance: Increasing disability access to sport” can be downloaded.
I’d love to take part in sport and fitness but it’s something I’m not confident even looking into at the moment. I can’t go to gyms and leisure centres because they don’t have appropriately trained staff or the right equipment. I have a spinal cord injury so I need adapted equipment which I can get close to in my wheelchair. I need staff to understand my condition, be able to have that discussion with me, and develop a programme that works for me. I fear I could get hurt easily without that guidance and supervision. The nearest fully accessible gym to me is at least 45 minutes away and I can’t get there easily. I need to feel confident when doing sport and exercise and I need to know that whoever is helping me has the confidence to handle me. It’s been so long since I factored any sport into my life – we have a long way to go. This report makes sense.
Accessibility of services, including access to gyms and swimming pools, for the disabled is very close to Raquel’s heart who became paralysed at the age of 11.
You can hear her views on what needs to be done to improve access to the gyms for the disabled on BBC London radio (at 2:51:30)
In her recent blog, she discusses the need for gyms to be fully accessible and have adequately trained staff to help those with disabilities choose sport activities that are safe and best suited for their needs.
Raquel Siganporia heads up the Spinal Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.
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