Activity Alliance CEO blog: “Don’t switch focus now- the hard work continues”

Posted: Mon, 04 Oct 2021 11:40

Activity Alliance CEO blog: “Don’t switch focus now- the hard work continues”

What a glorious few weeks of sporting prowess. Elite sport at its finest – what an achievement to finish second in the medal table with a grand total of 124 medals. We all watched and celebrated seeing ParalympicsGB go for gold, knock seconds off records and return home triumphant. Here, Barry Horne, our Chief Executive, reminds us that all the hard work is far from over in ensuring every disabled person can access activity if and when they wish to.

Like me I am sure you have top highlights from the last two weeks. I have two. Firstly, when the awesome Sarah Storey made history becoming ParalympicsGB's most successful athlete of all time with the 17th gold in her career. Then, in her powerful post-race interview, swimmer Ellie Robinson reminded us that the journey we go on is as important as the destination.

As I look back on the Paralympic Games and the light they shine on disabled people in sport, Robinson's words sum it up for me. How stories of triumph in sport are personal. In the ten years in my role, I have heard many personal stories from disabled people across the UK of what being active means to them.

Asmita, a Nottingham participant in the Get Out Get Active programme, learnt to swim as part of her physiotherapy sessions. Now she loves the social side of volunteering and supporting others to reap the benefits of being active. Then, young Bertie, who enjoys many activities around the garden and at his local clubs in Merseyside. These support him to use his muscles and keep his strength up as much as possible.

There are so many more Asmitas and Berties still out there, let down by systemic or attitudinal barriers. So is it a surprise that disabled people are the least active in our society? It is shocking that in 2021 disabled people in all our communities are missing out, and the real tragedy is that it is totally avoidable.

Tags: Health, Physical Activity, Policy, Sport, participation