Empowering clubs to positively and meaningfully provide opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical activity.
Sport and physical activity play such an important role in peoples’ lives, contributing positively to their physical, mental and social wellbeing.
"If I did not have my sports, then I would lead a very lonely life.” (Cara Survey Respondent)
Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland, recognise how valuable participation sport and physical activity can be for people with disabilities, whether that be through playing, participating, volunteering, coaching, officiating etc. there is a role for everyone in their local sports club.
"I have a wheelchair. It doesn't mean anything other than that, I'm a grown up. I'm a woman. I'm a mom. Allow me to define what I can do and then help me to do it.” (Colette, Cara Survey Respondent)
Cara with the support of Sport Ireland, have developed an Xcessible Club Toolkit that will help sports clubs across the country become more inclusive. The toolkit is a guided resource that will empower clubs to positively and meaningfully provide opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical activity at a local level.
Unfortunately, people with a disability are often underrepresented in sport. Research from the Irish Sports Monitor (2019) suggests that people with disabilities in Ireland are less likely to be involved in Sport. Just over a third (35%) of those who have a disability in Ireland are involved socially in sport as club members, volunteers, and /or regularly attending sports events, compared to half (50%) of those without a disability.
Much of this difference comes through differing club membership levels between both groups. While two-fifths (40%) of those with no disability are members of a sports club, just under a quarter (24%) of those with a disability are club members. Given the gradients that exist for people with disabilities within sports clubs, additional guidance and support is required for sports clubs to ensure that they can proactively plan for the inclusion of people with disabilities within club life.
“Exercise, it's a human thing. If you want to exercise, regardless of what your body looks like, whether you have an impairment or not, that is your right, you should be able to do that without these extra barriers in your way” (Sarah, Cara Survey Respondent)
The Xcessible Club Toolkit aims to support sports clubs to facilitate the many benefits that people with disabilities can enjoy within their community such as; belonging to a group, the opportunity to volunteer, to make new friends, to learn a new skill, to develop leadership & coaching expertise as well as improving social, physical and mental wellbeing.
Through the implementation of the Xcessible Club Toolkit, Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland aims to support clubs to ensure that they feel empowered to proactively plan and build capacity within their club. This will ensure that more people with disabilities are actively involved in sport and physical activities at club level in their local area and in multiple roles.
Highlighting the importance of this resource Minister Jack Chambers commented: 'It is so important that people with disabilities have the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity and enjoy the many benefits associated; physically, mentally and socially. I am delighted to see that Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland have developed this toolkit. So many sports clubs across the country will benefit greatly from the toolkit which will guide and empower them to become more inclusive of people with disabilities. This toolkit will support any clubs that have applied for the Sport for All funding in guiding them through a staged approach to becoming more inclusive. The toolkit is available now for clubs to download now so I would encourage all sports clubs to get involved and be inclusive.'
Speaking at the launch Una May, CEO of Sport Ireland stated: ‘Sport and physical activity play such an important role in peoples’ lives, I am excited to see a guided resource available to the sector to support sports clubs in becoming more inclusive. There is a role for everyone in their local sports club and this toolkit will empower clubs to positively and meaningfully provide opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical activity at a local level. The toolkit is supported by Sport Ireland and is available to download now on the Cara website now.’
CEO of Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland, Niamh Daffy added: ‘We are delighted to build on the success of the Xcessible programme for National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships in launching a new Xcessible toolkit to support local clubs as they increase their sports offerings for people with disabilities. This toolkit is built on the living experience as shared by people with disabilities and simply asks all clubs to consider five key principles to providing greater awareness, access and opportunities within their sports at local level. Through this initiative we are delighted to continue to work with Sport Ireland in supporting the Sport for All government agenda across Ireland.’
Download the toolkit now and see how simple it is for your club to become more inclusive.
The toolkit and supporting resources are available at www.caracentre.ie