Speaking during a debate in the Senedd on disabled participation in sports, the Minister responsible for Sport revealed that over one million opportunities were provided to young disabled people and adults last year to participate in a wide range of sporting activities.
The Minister also highlighted that the number of Disability Community Clubs has increased in Wales from 269 in 2012 to 331 today. This is compared to just 31 registered clubs across Wales in 2002. In addition, club membership during 2012 has increased by 823 members to 6684 and coaches and volunteers have increased by a further 405 volunteers to over 4000.
The Minister said,
“Improving participation in sport and physical activity by disabled people is an integral and important part of our whole Government approach to raising levels of physical activity in Wales.”
“It is, however, important to acknowledge the additional barriers faced by disabled people and do all we can to address them. For many disabled people one of the biggest barriers is their own or other people’s attitudes. These barriers need to be overcome as much as the more obvious physical or economic barriers.
“The Paralympic Games helped to shift public attitudes towards disabled people and to focus on what they can do rather than what they cannot. But we are not after quick fixes. We want to ensure that disabled people have sustainable opportunities to take part in sport and that the right training, coaching and resources are in place. This will help to make disabled people’s experience in sport an enjoyable one and one that they will want to repeat.
“Tackling barriers to inclusion in sport for disabled children and adults will not only advance their rights and enhance their well-being, it will also have wider benefits in terms of more inclusive and cohesive communities.”