More than £1m of funding for disabled sport

People with complex disabilities in Yorkshire are set to benefit from £1.3m of funding from Sport England.

One of the programmes at Rotherham Football Centre

Disability charity Sense has been awarded the money to tackle the issue of “inactivity” among people with complex disabilities, which has a detrimental effect on physical health and mental wellbeing.

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The charity will use the money to run sports sessions across England, including in Rotherham, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford.

The sessions will support more than 2,500 children and adults with high-level support needs nationally to access sport and physical activity over the next three years.

Sense national sports manager, Alissa Ayling, said: “Over half of all people with complex disabilities miss out on participating in sport and physical exercise, which is vital for keeping healthy, learning new skills and making new friends.

“Today’s funding will enable us to create lifelong opportunities for people with complex disabilities to be active by establishing meaningful, engaging, and local opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity.”

John France, 58, from Rotherham, has cerebral palsy and a learning disability. He recently started attending sport sessions provided by Sense.

He said: “Making friends and seeing people gives me confidence. Sport sessions allow me to do that and it’s great.”

It follows research carried out by Sport England showing inactivity -- less than thirty minutes exercise a week -- is more common for disabled people than non-disabled people.

It also increases sharply as the number of impairments someone has increases – just over half of people with complex disabilities are inactive.

Sport England strategic lead disability, Adam Blaze, said: “We are delighted to announce today’s investment into Sense, continuing their excellent work supporting people with complex disabilities to enjoy the benefits that increased physical activity brings, such as improvements to mental wellbeing and social connectedness.”

He said the funding would help tackle “unacceptably high” inactivity levels among people with multiple impairments.

“This investment, in addition to creating opportunities through direct delivery with the expansion of Sense’s existing programme of delivery, will upskill the workforce and influence the sports and physical activity sector to be more inclusive for people with multiple and complex disabilities.”