If we want everyone in society to have equal opportunities we all need to do our bit to break the barriers that isolate some people.
This includes removing the barriers that stop people with disabilities from participating in sport.
Because research by Sport England shows that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be physically inactive (43 per cent) than people who aren’t disabled (21 per cent).
That means they are twice as likely to miss out on the benefits of sports and exercise.
Like better health, increased confidence and motivation, and the socialising and friendships that often come with an active lifestyle.
There is much to be done to improve this situation but The Football Foundation’s Grow the Game scheme is an inspiring example of what can be done to create a big change for the better.
Play it and they will come
The Grow the Game scheme is funded by The FA and delivered by The Football Foundation.
It encourages more people from under-represented groups – specifically, people with disabilities and women – into regular grassroots football participation.
It does this by giving grants for newly created teams to help them cover costs like FA coaching courses, referees’ fees, first aid kits or playing kit and equipment.
And the numbers show that Grow The Game is really delivering for people with disabilities: last year the scheme helped to support the growth of 294 new disability teams in England. Result!
It also supported the growth of 872 female teams last year, and since launching in 2010, Grow The Game has helped to create over 11,000 new teams, creating new playing opportunities to over 140,000 community footballers.
It’s truly commendable work!
Digital inclusion grows the game
But it’s also a reminder that if you want to grow the game for people with disabilities, you also need to ensure your communications are accessible and inclusive.
Because if people with disabilities can’t access information about schemes like Grow The Game and newly formed disability football clubs, how can they be reached?
For example, if you have helped form a new disability football team, how do you advertise for new players, or announce team news for players and supporters?
Often this type of promotion and communication is done using digital and social media.
So if you ensure that your website is accessible and that your social media settings and content are as accessible as possible, you’ll reach more people with disabilities and help them to enjoy playing sport.
As for former England international player Phil Neville told the FA’s website: “As a father of a daughter with a disability, I firmly believe this should never act as a barrier to sports participation.”
Neither should inaccessible communications.
Now is the ideal time to make sure your website and your digital and social media channels and content are accessible to people with disabilities.
100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.