New research undertaken by Activity Alliance on non-disabled people’s perceptions and attitudes of disabled people in inclusive activity has shown that there are encouraging signs of an improvement. However, there is a long way to go for the barriers to be broken down, and for inclusive sessions to become the norm.
The research looked at inclusive activity, where disabled and non-disabled people participate together. The main concerns around mixed sessions for non-disabled people were; patronising disabled people (53%), disabled people getting hurt (47%) and that they may say something inappropriate (37%). On a positive, 73% of non-disabled people would take part in an activity session with disabled people, recognising that they would also benefit from taking part in a mixed session.
Across Greater Manchester 20% of people have a disability, with 44.6% of these inactive compared to 22.5% of non-disabled people. Through programmes such as Get Out Get Active (GOGA) that are taking place in Manchester, Rochdale and Wigan and funded via the Activity Alliance, barriers are being broken down, with sessions for families, sibling sessions along with general open sessions. GOGA sessions are all inclusive and are bringing disabled and non-disabled people together through activity.
Louise Entwistle, Development Officer (Inclusive Communities) commented;
“This research supports the work that GreaterSport are doing around inclusion and ensuring that the same opportunities are available to all. It is encouraging to know that non-disabled people want to participate in sessions with disabled people and with learnings from the GOGA project there is the opportunity to make more sessions inclusive. Working with our partners across Greater Manchester, we are aiming to decrease the gap in the number of disabled people and non-disabled people taking part in physical activity, part of this is removing barriers and tackling perceptions mentioned in the research findings.”