Sport England grant provides massive boost for disability sport in London
Disabled young people in London will have more opportunities to get involved in sport after the Lord’s Taverners – the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity – received a grant for over £129,000 from Sport England’s Inclusive Sport Fund. This has provided a very welcome boost for the charity ahead of the launch of the Lord's Taverners Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC) in May.
The LTDCC is one of 44 projects across England to benefit from £8.06 million of National Lottery investment from Sport England to create more opportunities for disabled people to play sport. The Sport England grant will enable the Lord’s Taverners to expand its Disability Cricket Championships from four to 16 London Boroughs.
According to national figures, only 18% of disabled people take part in sport at least once a week compared with 39% of non-disabled people. While 70% of disabled people claim they would like to participate in more sporting activities, 60% cite a lack of available opportunities as the main barrier to them doing so.
The LTDCC will address the gap in cricket provision for young people aged 14 – 25 with a limiting disability by providing access to regular coaching and competition in communities across 16 London Boroughs. The programme will be run by the Lord’s Taverners in an innovative partnership with the County Cricket Boards of Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey, with support from Interactive and Wembley National Stadium Trust, to develop and deliver sustainable disability cricket opportunities.
By providing more competitive cricket opportunities within the disabled community, the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships will help young people with disabilities to develop confidence, motivation, self-esteem and communication skills while empowering local communities. The programme will train and recruit locals to become qualified coaches, making the competition both self-reliant and sustainable.
Lord’s Taverners Chief Executive, Paul Robin, said: “The Lord’s Taverners has a proud history of supporting disability cricket so I am thrilled that this new initiative for London has won support from Sport England’s Inclusive Sport Fund as well as the four County Cricket Boards that we shall be partnering. We believe that all young people can benefit from playing competitive sport: physical disability should not be a barrier.”
Lord’s Taverners Cricket Programme Manager, Ebony Rainford-Brent, said: “This is an exciting new project, and it is fantastic having many partners work together to deliver this programme which will create new pathways and opportunities that do not currently exist. We look forward to seeing many more young people with disabilities access cricket over the coming years.”
Sport England Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “We are delighted to be able to help the Lord’s Taverners provide more opportunities for disabled people to give sport a go. Record numbers of disabled people now play sport and it’s thanks to programmes like this that we can continue to improve opportunities and make a real difference in communities.”
The number of disabled people playing sport regularly is on the rise. In December 2013, Sport England’s Active People Survey - an annual, in-depth measure of the nation’s sporting habits – revealed that a record number of disabled people in England now play sport each week. However, non-disabled people are still twice as likely to play sport as disabled people (39.2 per cent compared to 18.5 per cent) which is why Sport England continues to focus attention and investment to address this imbalance.
Sport England’s Inclusive Sport Fund supports programmes that aim to increase the number of disabled people playing sport. Since the fund launched, £17.1 million has been invested in 88 projects that make sport a viable lifestyle choice for disabled people.
As well as funding disability sport programmes, Sport England also funds equipment. In addition to today's £8.06 million announcement, Sport England also recently awarded £1 million to 141 clubs across England to help them buy equipment to open up sport to disabled people.