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Cost of living forces Disabled people to stop outdoor activities

This news story details new research highlighting the negative impacts of the cost of living crisis on Disabled people getting active.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new report by Calvert Lakes – a residential outdoor centre delivering challenging outdoor adventure breaks for Disabled people, has shown that Disabled people are abandoning plans for outdoor activity breaks due to the cost-of-living crisis. Their decision comes at a huge cost to their physical and mental health.


Their data reveals that 55% of Disabled people will forsake outdoor activity breaks in 2023 due to financial concerns. Even more alarmingly, 93% believe this will impact their physical health, and 92% believe it will impact on their mental health.


In total, the Lake District Calvert Trust received responses from 432 schools, adults, carers and charities, covering thousands of Disabled people throughout the UK. The data comes when a new report from Finland shows that visiting green space three to four times a week cuts people’s chances of turning to drugs for mental health problems or high blood pressure by a third and asthma by about a quarter.


The Finnish researchers found that the positive effects of visiting green spaces were stronger among those reporting the lowest annual household income.


The findings connect with a growing evidence base that shows a lack of access to green spaces is linked to various health problems. Access tends to be unequal, with poorer communities having fewer opportunities to be in nature.


Mikey Erhardt from Disability Rights UK said:

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic how local green spaces are vital to people’s health and well-being. Now, with the Cost of Living crisis, we are seeing people reduce their spending on more organised sporting and leisure activities. 


The government’s flagship Levelling Up white paper also acknowledged the role of parks and green spaces in our neighbourhoods and promised to make them nicer places to live, improving health and well-being. 


Ultimately, funds are needed for any new accessibility schemes and that responsibility rests with local authorities. With increasing pressure on their budgets, we all have to ensure that local authorities are reminded of the crucial importance of local green spaces to health and well-being outcomes for all who can use them. 


We must also incorporate a rights-based approach to planning, designing and managing urban green and blue spaces that combats existing inequities. This means recognising the rights of marginalised groups to equal access to public spaces. We must focus on how our plans for shared spaces can be co-produced with Disabled people and other marginalised groups at their heart. Real co-production will open up a new world for so many.”

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