The session was hosted by Kim Leadbeater MP and attended by the Minister for Disabled People, Tom Pursglove MP and APPG Vice-Chair Baroness Amanda Sater. With input from panellists including Paralympics GB, Sport England, Activity Alliance and top athletes Jake Woods and Floran Steeples the discussion focussed on what more must be done to tackle barriers facing disabled people.
Roundtable chaired by Kim Leadbeater MP with stakeholders from across the sector
The conversation highlighted work already going on across the UK to drive participation at all levels, but made clear a need for some bolder and more ambitious plans to enable more disabled people to be active. With the 2024 Paralympic Games on the horizon and multiple live government policies and strategies presenting an opportunity to shift the dial on activity, it is a crucial time for the sector to work together and for government to use levers available to them to make this a reality.
Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Disabled People (right) taking a question from Tracey McCillen, CEO of Sport Excel UK
With the Minister for Disabled People joining, leaders got a chance to question him on what government was doing and what more he can do as Minister to increase activity levels for disabled people – notably, the interactivity between being active and the benefit system was discussed at length, as ‘the fear of being or being seen to be active’ continues to deter disabled people (see The Activity Trap: Disabled people's fear of being active). The Minister committed to take further representations on that, and invited colleagues to get in touch.
Tim Hollingsworth OBE (centre), Sport England CEO alongside Adam Blaze (left), CEO of Activity Alliance and British Para-Rower Jake Woods (right)
The sector also has a role here, and stakeholders argued more ambition is needed where it comes to the amount of participation offers and importantly where it comes to representation in leadership at all levels, from volunteers to boardrooms.
Drawing the event to a close, our Director of Policy and Research Leigh Thompson pointed to the event being a step to more conversations, collaboration, and change. As 2024 comes closer, among the sporting prowess that a Paralympic year promises, organisations around the table will continue to collaborate across the sector and with government. As our work continues over the coming months, government, partners and members must work together to unlock the potential of our sector for all and truly maximise the benefits that being active can bring for individuals and society.