Government must give a greater priority to encouraging the disabled to take regular exercise and play sport.
With disabled people twice as likely to be inactive as the able-bodied, the strategies of government at every level needs to pro-actively champion this vital issue, argues Simon Dolby of Streetspace.
Being active improves strength, physical resilience and mental wellbeing, all of which are being denied to much of the disabled community through an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach that is failing to resource solutions effectively.
Twenty per cent of people in England have a long-standing limiting illness or disability. Survey information reveals that 43 per cent of disabled people state they are physically inactive, compared with 21 per cent of non-disabled people.
“Often solutions to giving the disabled greater access to sporting and recreational facilities also benefit the wider community, but these measures have a disproportionately beneficial effect on the disabled” – Simon Dolby, Streetspace
This inequality increases sharply as the number of impairments a person has increases, with 51 per cent of people with three or more impairments inactive. If these population disparities are not addressed, the inequalities that already exist for disabled people will increase.
Mr Dolby said: “The bottom line, of course, is that poor health costs the nation through increased pressure on the NHS and council social care budgets.
“Often solutions to giving the disabled greater access to sporting and recreational facilities also benefit the wider community, but these measures have a disproportionately beneficial effect on the disabled.
“Outdoor sports courts, for example, are unable to be used the majority of the year here in Britain because of the weather.”
Sports like wheelchair tennis and basketball are unable to play on outdoor courts when the weather strikes.
Outdoor courts will greatly benefit from the use of sports canopies to provide protection against bad weather and also for floodlights to allow play to continue even when it’s dark.
Lawn Tennis Association research suggests that 30 per cent of all court time for tennis is lost due to bad weather, but at least a 50 per cent increase in utilisation would be achieved with a canopy because potential users will know that the facility will be usable whatever the weather.
Here at Streetspace, our Sportspace365™ all-weather sports canopy is a permanent structure designed for outstanding performance, looks and durability. It consists of a PVC tensile membrane cover that is tensioned over a steel framework, which offers exceptional cost efficiency in construction and operational maintenance for large-scale covered multi-use games areas.
To find out more visit Streetspace at www.streetspacegroup.co.uk