Communities Minister Paul Givan, MLA has today launched an action plan for the development and support for disabled people participating in sport.
The ‘Active Living:No Limits 2021 Action Plan’ is a partnership document that will drive the development of disability sport across Northern Ireland and will encourage access and support for people with disabilities who wish to become involved in sport, either competitively or purely for recreational purposes.
During a Paralympic fun day organised by Disability Sport NI at the Girdwood Community Hub in North Belfast, the Minister also announced a further investment of £300,000 to provide specialist sports equipment that will underpin the development of 11 disability sports hubs in Council areas.
Speaking at the launch Minister Givan said: “I am delighted to launch this important action plan and to announce a further £300,000 investment by my Department in support of disability sport right across Northern Ireland.
“To be here today and witness the energy and abilities of all the participants has given me an opportunity to see the activities that our collective efforts make possible for so many people with a wide range of disabilities.”
The Minister continued: “The vision of the action plan is: “that everyone with a disability has an equal opportunity to access sport and active recreation leading to a more healthy and active lifestyle”. I am confident that this plan will turn this vision into a reality. In the past,the sporting and recreational potential of too many people has gone unnoticed; everyone should have an opportunity to make the most of their sporting and recreational talents. For too long, society has looked at what people can’t do rather than what they can do.”
The Minister added: “Against the background of a truly momentous summer for sport, including events such as the European Football Championships, the Olympics and Paralympic Games in Rio, this action plan champions equal access to sport and recreational activity for people with disabilities, at a level that suits those involved in terms of ability and ambition to strive for future performance and achievement.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all those involved who have developed and delivered this action plan which seeks over the next five years to bring about a positive change to the social, recreational and sporting life of people with disabilities and consequently to our entire community.”
Chair of the Partnership Project Board Kevin Doherty of Disability Action said: “Disability Action is well aware of the cultural, access and attitudinal barriers that people with disabilities continue to face in everyday life. This action plan supports the inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of active living and sport and we are excited to be involved in this new initiative.”
Kevin O’Neill, Chief Executive of Disability Sport NI added: “I’m delighted to see the launch of the ‘Active Living:No Limits 2021’ action plan which is a real game changer for disability sport in Northern Ireland. The plan will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of disabled people across Northern Ireland.”
Sport Northern Ireland convened and serviced the project board who developed the Action Plan and will continue to play a key role in the delivery and monitoring of the Action Plan over the next 5 years.
A copy of the Action Plan can be found at: Active Living: No Limits Action Plan 2021