Skip to main content

Report shows how activity providers responded to pandemic restrictions lifting

This news story outlines the results and research of Activity Alliance’s ‘Inclusive recovery’ research report.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Page contents

National charity Activity Alliance has released a new report in partnership with BritainThinks. The insight shows we need to support providers to develop and recover more inclusively if we are to tackle rising inequalities for Disabled people in sport and activity.

The research explores how Disabled people’s motivations and barriers to being active have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and how providers can support and include Disabled people better in the future. 

They outline that providers need to understand how investing in inclusive delivery can help them be more flexible in responding to needs and increase participation. This is an opportunity to improve experiences as the sport and activity sector recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings

The key findings for Disabled people were: 

  • Most participants still want to be active after the pandemic and feel it will benefit their lives. 
  • The pandemic led to a lack of access to facilities or restrictions on meeting with others – this reduced confidence or motivation for many. 
  • The pandemic has worsened existing challenges for Disabled people and led to continued fluctuating involvement and nervousness about participation. 

The research found that for providers: 

  • The pandemic caused additional challenges for providers. This includes fluctuating or reduced participation, reduced staff or loss of skilled staff, and changes or loss in networks and partnerships, lack of financial stability or even closures. 
  • There is a strong desire among providers to use the pandemic to improve and grow. 

The research also outlined key recommendations that focus on three areas. When wanting to be active, Disabled people have three important asks: 

  1. Make it easier for me to find out how to be active again or where to continue my activity
  2. Make me confident that the activity will be a safe, welcoming, and comfortable place for me to participate. 
  3. Ensure opportunities are available that meet my needs and values. 

The research also identified key benefits for activity in the following areas.

  • Mental health: Improved mood, increased confidence and self-esteem, better concentration, memory and general ‘alertness’, better self-care.
  • Physical health: Feeling “lighter”, more flexible, and mobile, managing impairments or conditions, and staying fit or strong.
  • Resilience: Overcoming challenges and working towards a goal, gaining a sense of achievement, satisfaction at doing something for yourself. Social: Meeting new people, developing social skills and connecting with others, being part of a team, preventing isolation and loneliness

Mikey Erhardt, from Get Yourself Active said:

“The new report highlights that access to sport and physical activity reflects more than just the physical health of our nation. Sports providers need to do more, to work with Disabled people to provide activities that we want, in the ways we want.

We agree that inclusive delivery is vital alongside the continued development of grassroots organisations, community sports, and physical activity. Local spaces are crucial to support Disabled people to exercise their right to get active, have fun, and be part of a community.

We continue to support Sport England’s Uniting the Movement Strategy, which has tackling inequalities for Disabled people, and other underrepresented communities, at its heart and won’t stop until we see these disparities in activity levels disappear.”

Next Steps

We want to hear from you! 

We’d love for you to share your experiences of getting active and having fun wherever you are. Please do get in touch to share your thoughts on the latest news or what sport and physical activity mean to you.

Get in touch with the media team

Stay in touch with Get Yourself Active

Never miss an update by following us on twitter @GetYrselfActive and signing up to our newsletter.

Click here to sign up to the newsletter