Survey shows increase in participation

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New research amongst 1,100 disabled people by Grass Roots for UK charity, Leonard Cheshire Disability, reveals almost half have been inspired to get more involved with sport or exercise as direct result of the Paralympic Games.

Thinking about the longer term, 89 per cent felt the Games would leave a positive legacy and over half thought they would result in a positive change in non-disabled peoples’ attitudes.

A quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed said they thought the Games would encourage more disabled people to take part in sport and 12 per cent said it would lead to improved accessibility. Less than 11 per cent thought the Games would have no positive impact at all.

The survey also found that over a third confessed to “never” taking part in sport or exercise before the Paralympics.

Of those, 36 per cent now say they have been inspired to get active and get involved in sport.

Alick Miskin, Grass Roots Diversity Services Director, considers the key message from this survey to be the growing relevance of exercise and sport among disabled people.

He said: “We have over 10million disabled people in the UK. This survey shows a shift in attitude and it’s now up to non-disabled people, and customer-facing employees in particular, to adjust to this change.

“So many facilities and services are made difficult for disabled people not just by inaccessible buildings and sports equipment but by the “can’t do” attitude of staff. “Serving and working with disabled people is often considered to be difficult but it is very straightforward – often it’s just about being helpful and asking them what they need.

“Employers can help facilitate this way of thinking by making staff aware of how best to interact with disabled customers, and offering training where necessary. E-learning, for example, is training that is readily available, easy to deploy and is extremely cost-effective.”

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