“Access for All: Opening Doors” aims to break down one of the main barriers for people with a range of impairments- venue accessibility. The English Federation of Disability Sport and access experts Jean Hewitt Consulting Ltd hope the user-friendly guide ensures more disabled people can enjoy being active in more places.
The guide is aimed at anybody involved in running or working in a sports club. After speaking to numerous National Governing Bodies of sport about club development, EFDS identified the need for a user-friendly guide to facility accessibility. It is not a detailed technical guide, but intended as a starting point. The main areas of physical access are identified and readers are signposted to further information and support.
As well as it making good business sense to be welcoming to a huge section of our population, there is also a legal duty to ensure sports clubs are accessible for disabled people to use. The Equality Act 2010 requires sports clubs and other providers to make reasonable adjustments to services so everyone has access, with no exemption for private clubs any more.
Often it is a common misconception that adjustments are expensive or time consuming. In fact, many adjustments cost nothing or a few pounds, with a little bit of thought and planning. An accessible and inclusive sports club may need a few physical adjustments to the building but more than anything it requires forward planning and continuing commitment.
In the UK, it is estimated that there are over 11 million disabled people- that is one in five of the population. Although, there are many reasons why sport and exercise opportunities are beneficial for everybody, it is the stark reality that four out of five disabled people are currently not active.