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Charity making Christmas count for disabled people in new campaign

08 Dec Charity making Christmas count for disabled people in new campaign

On Wednesday 1st December, Disability Sports Coach launched our #MakingChristmasCount campaign to highlight the importance of supporting disabled people to remain active and socially connected this winter. The campaign will launch ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December), and feature an exciting range of activities to get more disabled people active and reduce feelings of loneliness this Christmas.

Last year, many found their Christmas plans cancelled and experienced some degree of loneliness during COVID-19 restrictions. But for disabled people, the COVID-19 pandemic was even more significant.

One of the core challenges facing disabled people is loneliness. Disabled people are four times more likely to experience loneliness than non-disabled people1. Christmas can be a time of increased loneliness for many people, especially disabled people. However, throughout much of 2021, the problem was worsened, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing thousands of disabled people into further isolation as leisure centres, sports clubs and community groups closed during lockdowns.
CEO Peter Ackred, says:

“It’s really important to focus on disabled people this Christmas, as COVID-19 restrictions heighten once again. Research has found that 2/3 of the deaths that have occurred so far due to COVID-19 are disabled people2, and that sends a really strong message that the members of our community need to be supported not only now, but throughout their lives.”

The theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” Disability Sports Coach has seen first-hand the impact that COVID-19 has had on the disabled community – heightening isolation and anxiety among many.

COVID-19 has also impacted activity levels among disabled people. Sport England’s Active Lives Survey found a 2.1% decrease in activity levels among disabled people since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, compared with a 1.5% drop among non-disabled people.
So, our #MakingChristmasCount campaign and festive events aim to empower disabled people across the capital to get active and enjoy the physical, mental and social benefits of community-based physical activity during the challenging winter period.

Our events bring together disabled participants and inclusive sports providers to celebrate the festive season and get active. This year we are delighted to be hosting our first large in-person event since the pandemic began in the form of our Christmas Club on December 30th, along with online sessions and a sector event from the 21st to 23rd December.

The Christmas Club will be a pan-disability multi-sports event, where disabled people of all ages can enjoy inclusive yoga, football, basketball, boccia, dance and boxercise with a fun, festive atmosphere. We are also running three days of online activities via Zoom from Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd December, including a sector-orientated session on mental health.