The Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy were commissioned in February 2014 to develop a Disability Sport and Physical Activity Strategy for Suffolk County Council. This is part of the Council’s ambitions to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and address the key outcomes identified in the English Federation of Disability Sport’s strategic plan, ‘Active for Life’.
Suffolk County Council and key agencies across Suffolk launched its Most Active County programme in February 2012. It provides a framework for partners to work together to create, promote and commission sport and physical activity opportunities that support accessible healthy lifestyles to flourish in Suffolk. The County has since achieved a 2.2% growth in participation in sport and active recreation. However, it has identified that participation rates for disabled people in Suffolk at 16.5% are lower than both the national (18.3%) and regional (18.5%) averages.
This strategy, commissioned to help address this discrepancy, will aim to do the following:
- Provide a clear picture of current disability sport participation in the county
- Compile existing research and insight into disability sport in Suffolk, including barriers to participation
- Be informed by, and reflect the views of disabled people and key organisations
- Provide a clear strategic context for the development of disability sport in the county
- Guide organisations (general and disability specific) across Suffolk on the development of sport and physical activity opportunities and facilities for disabled people
- Engage sporting and non-sporting organisations in the development of disability sport in Suffolk
- Consider the development of disabled volunteers, leaders, coaches and teachers as well as sport and physical activity opportunities, and set guidelines for the development / improvement / adaptation of sports facilities
- Provide an over-arching framework for the development of disability sport and physical activity in Suffolk
- Identify current and future opportunities and strategic options that provide the opportunity for real and transformative change in sport and physical activity participation by disabled people within Suffolk
- Provide a framework from which a clear delivery plan for the implementation of the strategy can be developed
- Set out a clear plan for measuring progress in increasing participation in sport and physical activity by disabled people.
SLC’s involvement is being spearheaded by Associate Jenny Kempster, an expert in sports development and disability sport. With over twenty years’ experience in sports development, Jenny has led on and completed a diverse range of projects with national and regional significance. She has previously been involved in the development of disability sport at a strategic level whilst Director of NSport CSP and Chief Executive of Sport Cheshire CSP, and has an in-depth understanding of the issues in this area. Jenny is currently undertaking a comprehensive consultation programme with key stakeholders to ensure the Strategy is reflective of their views, experiences and ambitions.
Duncan Wood-Allum, Director of SLC, said of SLC’s involvement in the Strategy, “We are delighted to be supporting Suffolk County Council as it champions disability sport and physical activity. Nationally there is still a concern that the Olympic Legacy for all has not yet been realised and Suffolk’s leadership in this area is to be commended.”
Adam Baker, Most Active County Project Manager, said “We are pleased to be working with SLC on this important element of the Most Active County Programme. We hope the strategy will provide a clear route map to guide the focus of all organisations with a role to play in the development of sport and physical activity for disabled people in Suffolk over the next five years”.
If you would like to know more please don’t hesitate to contact Duncan Wood-Allum on 01444 459927 or email him here.