The theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities is ‘Building Back Better post COVID-19 - toward a world that is disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable’

The pandemic has disproportionately affected people with disabilities. Almost two thirds of people who have died from coronavirus in the UK have a disability. As well as being at increased risk from coronavirus, the pandemic has also had a worse impact on activity levels of disabled people than the wider population. This is no doubt in part due to the number of people who were shielding, now classified as extremely clinically vulnerable, as well as those who made the choice to stay home because of the increased risks. But even before the pandemic people with disabilities and health conditions were less likely to be physically active. 

Living Sport, in partnership with the Ability Plus network has spent the last 9 years creating inclusive and accessible opportunities for disabled people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. A glance at the local Inclusive Activity map points to the excellent provision for impairment specific sports including blind and partially sighted, deaf, amputee and wheelchair sports, alongside inclusive activity opportunities for people of all ages. 

So much work has already happened to ensure that sport is accessible and available to disabled people. But now we need to take our work to the next level to build people’s confidence and motivation to live more active lifestyles, with opportunities beyond traditional sport. 

Helping people recover from the pandemic is going to be a hard slog, but it is vital that disabled people are supported to get active after to support both physical and mental health.

 In 2021 we will work with partners to develop a Disability Sport and Physical Activity Strategy and Action Plan to help recovery from the pandemic, using the incredible foundations of Ability Plus to build back better, creating places where people, regardless of their disability are able to, and want to live active lives.

Young disabled people taking part in an adapted cycling session in the park