Friday 7 September 2012
Trailblazers launch new investigation into sporting opportunities
Sports loving Trailblazers from across the UK will launch a new nationwide campaign, Game On, at London's City Hall today to raise awareness of grassroots sports and fitness opportunities, and to investigate access at swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms across the country.
Over the next three months, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers will survey hundreds of young people on how the Paralympic Games has affected their attitude to sport, about the availability of disability sports and fitness activities going on in their area - and on whether access issues are preventing them from getting involved. The campaign is being launched after reports of a significant shortage of local opportunities for young disabled people to participate in sport, of a lack of suitable changing room facilities and of problems with step-only access into buildings.
Trailblazer Tatinder Virdee from Middlesex is committed to opening up sports and fitness opportunities for young disabled people, setting up and managing disability cricket and football teams and running accessible sports taster sessions.
The fact is that young disabled people need grassroots fitness opportunities in their local area - and to know where to go to find them. We also know that hitting the gym, taking a swimming class or joining a powerchair football team for a kick about on a Sunday is not straight forward for everyone. Even when the motivation is there, accessible changing rooms, suitable equipment, knowledgeable staff and committed coaches are not. Through this campaign we want to hear from young disabled people firsthand to get a clear picture of the accessibility of basic sports facilities and of whether staff and trainers are welcoming and encouraging.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, offered his support to the Trailblazers:
We've been blown away by the amazing sporting action of the Paralympics, which has created the greatest catalyst for everyone of all abilities to get into sport. For me, there is no 'them and us' mentality when it comes to sport. Every Londoner deserves to reap the positive legacy of our wonderful 2012 Games and that means inclusivity and accessibility is a key priority. This is why every organisation funded through my Sports Participation Programme is required to adopt an Inclusive and Active action plan - and also why I continue to lobby for all providers of sport and physical activity to follow suit and make sure they are fully accessible to disabled people. I fully support the work of the Trailblazers and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in this area.
For more reaction to the launch and for more information about how to get involved in the investigation, visit the Trailblazers website...