National Paralympic Day

1 Sep 2014 09:49 AM

The main attraction of the event in London will be an international swim meet, with 12 London 2012 medalists competing in home water for the first time since the London Games. Over 40 GB swimmers will compete in the meet at the iconic London Aquatics Centre, two years to the day since Paralympics GB won its first medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

The swim meet is one of four elite sports competitions taking place on the Olympic Park. Boccia, Goalball and Wheelchair Basketball players will also get the chance to showcase their skills on Saturday.

People’s choice of sport is often inspired by others, whether that be family or friends, or by elite athletes competing at national or international competitions. There will be free, family friendly activities taking place on National Paralympic Day, including the chance to try out a number of disability and inclusive sports, such as wheelchair basketball, inclusive cycling, tennis and boccia. Representatives from community groups and disability sport project Motivate East will be on hand to provide advice about opportunities to take up sports or get involved in the local area.

Motivate East is one of the projects that Sport England has supported when investing £171 million into grassroots disability sport (you can view the areas of investment in disability sport here). Sport England is committed to improving sports provision for disabled people and increasing the number of disabled people who play sport.

Motivate East received over £560,000 from the first round of Sport England’s Inclusive Sport fund back in December 2012, with the aim of delivering a series of initiatives designed to respond to the needs of disabled people in East London.

Of the £171 million Sport England has so far invested in disability sport, over £19 million has been granted to over 200 clubs and projects to improve the provision for disability sport. The Inclusive Sport fund has so far invested £18.2 million in 88 projects that make sport a practical lifestyle choice for disabled people, while £1 million has been provided to 146 clubs to buy sport equipment that will allow disabled people to give sport a go.

In June 2014, Sport England’s Active People Survey highlighted that a large number of disabled people in England play sport each week. However, there is still much work to do, as non-disabled people are still twice as likely to play sport as disabled people (39.2 per cent compared to 17.8 per cent), which is why Sport England continues to focus attention and investment to address this imbalance.

Sport England Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “The London 2012 Paralympic Games were a real game changer for disability sport, and National Paralympic Day is a further opportunity to show the advances made in this area. Sport England's priority at the grassroots is to make sport a practical choice for many more disabled people, and we are working in a completely different way with a range of impairment groups and those who support them to achieve this.”

Minister for Sport, Helen Grant MP, said: “London 2012 was an incredible milestone for Paralympic sport, showing just what our disabled athletes can do and providing us with amazing memories that will last a lifetime. National Paralympic Day will once again encourage many to get involved in disability sport as well as giving people the chance to see some of our top Paralympic stars in action. Sport has an incredible power to bring people together and National Paralympic Day will do exactly that.”