The London Assembly today launched their report – ‘London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: a sporting legacy for people with disabilities’ – into sports provision for disabled athletes in the capital.
The report follows an investigation by the Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee and warns that disabled Londoners are at risk of missing out on the 2012 Paralympic Games and the benefits of their legacy.
Launching the report Dee Doocey AM, Chair of the Economic
Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee, said: “access to
sport for children with special needs is disgracefully neglected.”
Assembly Members highlight a number of barriers to disabled athletes including inaccessible facilities, sports coaches ill-equipped to support disabled athletes, and a poor attitude of staff towards people with disabilities.
The report also highlights that only nine London boroughs employ a disability sports development officer and eight have no officer with a remit for disability sport.
Doocey said “the UK’s success in the 2012 Paralympic Games depends on every one of the building blocks described in our report – sharing best practice across boroughs, better equipped schools, welcoming club facilities and an effective, fully integrated, transport system.”
The report is backed by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, who said “Six years from now we want to welcome the world’s elite Paralympians to the city that has made most progress in making itself accessible to disabled people and which aims to give its disabled citizens the maximum opportunity to participate in the 2012 Games and benefit from their legacy.”
The report makes a number of of recommendations to improve the situation for disabled athletes including setting up a ‘one stop shop’ website for information on opportunities for sportspeople with disabilities.
Welcoming the report Mike Brace OBE, Chairman of the British Paralympic Association, said it “highlights some useful issues and shows us the work that needs to be done to improve sporting opportunities for the disabled community in London.”
“The London 2012 Paralympic Games gives us a fantastic opportunity to put the issue of sporting facilities for the disabled on the agenda, and to leave a lasting legacy.”