This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Disability Sport Conference
No-one with a disability should be denied the chance to take part in physical activity - that was the message at today's Scottish Disability Sport Conference.
Addressing delegates was Mary Allison, the Executive's Physical Activity Task Force co-ordinator, who stressed that the recently launched physical activity strategy was for everyone.
At the Dewar's Centre in Perth, Ms Allison said:
"We all need to be active. People with disabilities have the same needs and desires to lead a fit and healthy life as those who do not have disabilities.
"Everyone needs an environment to support them in getting more active. The physical activity strategy acknowledged that a major barrier to getting more involved is that the physical environment is not always available or adequate - this can be even more so if you are disabled.
"Places to walk, to play and to take part in sport are not always readily accessible in terms of money, location and the culture that surrounds them. Everyone needs a bit of help from people who are trained and confident to support them getting more involved in exercise. Focusing on the needs of individuals is very much part of that.
"Whether it is a sports coach, a practice nurse or a teacher we all need positive advice and feedback to get us and keep us active and people with disabilities need that too. Through the strategy, we are working to increase opportunities for disabled people to get involved in physical activity.
"We are working with the Older People's Forum to address the needs to older people with disabilities. Health Scotland are taking forward a range of new resources and training to support older people to get more active and this includes those with disabilities.
"Additionally, I am heartened to see that Sportscotland and Scottish Disability Sport are still working in harmony to maximise sporting opportunities for people with a disability. Earlier this year, the Scottish Executive allocated #600,000 to Sportscotland to establish a dowry for Scottish Disability Sport.
"This fund will allow Scottish Disability Sport to provide specialist support to ensure that the needs of children and young people with special needs are addressed as the Active Primary Schools and School Sports Development Officer Programmes are rolled out."
Scotland's first Physical Activity Strategy was launched on 13 February 2003. Key challenges identified were:
- Creating, improving and maintaining the supply of facilities for activities (including walking, cycling and informal recreation spaces as well as formal leisure centres and swimming pools);
- Developing, increasing and maintaining staff capacity in a wide range of settings to support people become more active; and
- Stimulating demand for increased physical activity through increased awareness in the general population.
The Executive planned to tackle the challenges by:
- The appointment of a National Physical Activity Co-ordinator - Mary Allison was already in post;
- The development of four action plans in the areas of Active Homes; Active Schools, Active Communities and Active Workplaces; and
- A new healthy living brand for physical activity which will tie in with the Executive's health improvement strategy.
See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/pages/news/2003/02/SEHD310.aspx for further details.
Further information about Scottish Disability Sport can be found at: http://www.scottishdisabilitysport.com