Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee

CELG(4)-19-13 : Paper 3

Inquiry into participation levels in sport in Wales

Response from : Disability Sport Wales

Company No: 05199508:
Charitable Number: No: 1144663
Registered Office: Sport Wales National Centre, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, CF11 9SW























Background to the Federation of Disability Sport Wales                                               3

Legal Status



Area 1 - The extent to which the Welsh Government and Sport Wales

are achieving the goals set out in the Programme for Government, the

Creating an Active Wales action plan and the Vision for Sport in Wales                       5


Programme for Government / Creating an Active Wales / Vision for Sport

Community Outcomes

Elite Performance Outcomes                

Major Sporting Events                                                                                                  

Area 2 – The availability of datasets and statistics to measure participation

levels in sport, particularly those disaggregated by equality strand and

Socio-economic group                                                                                     10


Area 3 – The opportunities and barriers to sports participation that exist for

different groups of people, including by equality strand and socio economic

groups                                                                                                                         11


Opportunities for Participation

Barriers to Participation

Area 4 – What are the links between programmes to develop sport in Wales and

other Welsh Government initiatives to increase physical activity                                  13






The Patient Pathway


Area 5 – The impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy, the Ryder Cup

and other high profile Welsh sporting events and achievements on participation

levels in Wales                                                                                                             15


Elite Performance

Grassroots Participation

Raising the Profile of disability sport

Creating new (commercial) partnerships



1.     The Federation of Disability Sport Wales (Disability Sport Wales) was established in 1985 for the sole purpose of benefitting disabled people through the pursuit of sports and physical activity.


2.      It is recognised by Sport Wales and Welsh Government as the national lead body for the strategic development of disability sport in Wales.


3.     The legal status of Disability Sport Wales is that of a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Disability Sport Wales is a not-for-profit organisation.


4.     Disability Sport Wales is fully committed to supporting the principles of equality of opportunity.

4.1        Disability Sport Wales is responsible for ensuring that no job applicant, employee, participant, performer, volunteer or member receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religious belief, parental or marital status, pregnancy, sexual preference, language or political belief, class or social background.

4.2        Disability Sport Wales ensures that there will be open access to all individuals who wish to participate in all aspects of sporting and leisure activities and that they are treated fairly.

4.3        Equality of opportunity in Disability Sport Wales is regarded not as a privilege for some but as a right for all. Disability Sport Wales has achieved the Foundation level of the Equality Standard and is actively working toward the Preliminary Award level.


5      The VISION of Disability Sport Wales:


‘Transforming the Lives of Disabled People through the Power of Sport’

5.1 Our vision is driven by our commitment to a Wales where, irrespective of ability, every person has the right to a full and lifelong involvement in sport.  It is the belief of Disability Sport Wales that sport has the power to change the lives of disabled people for the better, whether taking part in community sport, achieving in a competitive arena or contributing to sport through coaching, volunteering or leadership. Disability Sport Wales believes that our Vision (and Mission’s) contribute directly to Welsh Government’s plan ‘Creating an Active Wales’ and to the sport sectors strategy: ‘A Vision for Sport’ (led by Sport Wales)


6.  The MISSIONS of Disability Sport Wales are:


(1)   Every Disabled Person Hooked on Sport for Life

   6.1 Disability Sport Wales endorses the position of the United Nations (Article 30 -   

   Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport):

i)           With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, (nations) shall take appropriate measures :

ii)          To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;

iii)         To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organise, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training (coaching) and resources;

iv)        To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational ....... venues;

v)         To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system

(2) A Nation of Disabled Champions

6.2     Disability Sport Wales shares the sector goal of Wales creating, and in Paralympic terms, sustaining a Nation of Champions. Disability Sport Wales will work toward achieving and when possible to exceed the agreed targets of the Sport Wales ‘Elite Sports Strategy’ relating to the Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.


























7.     Disability Sport Wales believes that through our Vision and Mission (s) it directly contributes to the ’outcomes of the current Programme for Government, the ‘Creating an Active Wales’ action plan and the ‘Vision for Sport in Wales’ strategy.


‘At the heart of this is a focus on people and our

commitment to support the development of a

fairer society in which every person is able to make

the most of their ABILITIES and contribute to the

community in which they live.’ (Welsh Government)


8.     Disability Sport Wales contributes toward the following aims of the ‘Programme for Government’:


Equality – Aim: ‘Create a fair society free from discrimination, harassment and

victimisation with cohesive and inclusive communities.


8.1 Disability Sport Wales delivers bespoke and specialist services to disabled people, either through the creation of sustainable community sports participation/membership opportunities or through the provision of an elite sport pathway enabling individuals or teams to achieve their full potential.


8.2 Disability Sport Wales has developed a programme called ‘insport’ which drives the principles of inclusion to the core of Welsh sport.


Education – Aim: Help everyone reach their potential, reduce inequality, and improve

economic and social well-being.


8.3 Disability Sport Wales, in partnership with UK partners and financed through a sponsorship agreement with Sainsbury’s, delivers a UK Disability Inclusion Training programme called ‘Active Kids for All’. The programme aims to up-skill teachers and non teaching support staff to deliver adapted physical education in an inclusive manner.


8.4 Disability Sport Wales supports the national competition programme ‘Gemma Cymru’ by advising the delivery agency and national governing bodies on which sports should be included in the event. Sports involved in Gemmau Cyrmu in the past include boccia, swimming, football, athletics and for 2013, wheelchair basketball.


Tackling Poverty – Aim: Reducing poverty, especially persistent poverty amongst some of our poorest people and communities, and reducing the likelihood that people will become poor


8.5 Disability Sport Wales liaises with its local authority partners to monitor ‘access to sport’ type schemes which provide subsidies/discounted for disabled people/carers to participate in local sport activities.


8.6 Disability Sport Wales believes that poverty should not be a barrier to fulfilling an individual’s potential in sport. Disability Sport Wales, in partnership with Sport Wales and commercial partners, provides Talented Athlete awards to identified athletes with real potential of achieving selection to British squads or the ParalympicsGB team (summer/winter Games). Disability Sport Wales also provides awards via its charitable funds to deaflympic and intellectually disabled athletes who achieve selection to European / World Games.


8.7 Disability Sport Wales has provided funding from its charitable funds to support the Special Olympics Wales team who will compete in the Special Olympics GB Games in Bath, August 2013.


The Culture and Heritage of Wales – Aim: ‘Enrich the lives of individuals and communities through our culture and heritage.’


8.8 Specific objectives that Disability Sport Wales contribute toward are


8.8.1Through Sport Wales, widen participation in sport and programmes targeted at increasing physical activity.

8.8.2 Increase the number of sports coaches and elite athletes in Wales.

8.8.3 Work with national, UK and international sports federations to ensure that more major sporting events are hosted in Wales in the future.


8.9 For the past 10 years Disability Sport Wales has measured key performance indicator outputs against the above objects through its two critical offers – community sport / elite performance.


8.10 Community Programme Outputs


8.10.1 Disability Sport Wales has supported the placement of Development Officers in each of the local authorities to create and sustain grassroots opportunities to participate in sport. Supported primarily by the grassroots club sector and voluntary organisations, the outcomes achieved over the past 10 years have been significant:

Performance Indicators

Position 2004

Position 2006

Position 2007



Position 2010





Number of clubs








Trained coaches








Number of volunteers








Number of local competitions









Number of participants in programme















Number of active club members











                   i.    In 2012/13 the community programme achieved significant growth further increasing the number of clubs by 20% and club membership by 10%.


                  ii.    The programme has also increased the number of coaches and volunteers who serve the community programme.


8.10.2   Disability Sport Wales is also committed to delivering high quality education and training opportunities to the sports sector. In 2012 / 13, Disability Sport Wales delivered 50 inclusion training courses across Wales to leisure centre staff, sports development officers the club sector and National Governing Bodies.


8.11.     Elite Performance Outputs

8.11.1   Over the same period Disability Sport Wales have contributed to the sporting success of the Nation, with Wales punching well above its weight.

Figure 1; Academy athletes selected for ParalympicsGB


Figure 2: Number of Welsh Athletes selected for Paralympic Games


Figure 3: Medals at Paralympic Games

Figure 4: Medals from Disabled Athletes at Commonwealth Games from 2002

8.11.2 Much of the success of the elite performance outputs is attributable to the introduction of a Welsh Academy system (the first of its type in the UK) for the identification and development of disabled athletes. The Academy is pan-disability in its approach, providing opportunities for Paralympic, Deaflympic and Intellectually disabled athletes.

8.12     Major Sporting Events

8.12.1 In March 2013, it was announced that a consortium bid involving Disability Sport Wales, Swansea University, the City and County of Swansea and Welsh/British athletics won the rights to host the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Athletics Championship 2014 in Swansea.

8.12.2 This major event is likely to attract approximately 1500 athletes/support staff from to 40 countries and will maintain the high profile of elite Paralympic sport in Wales following the success of London 2012.


9.     The above evidence illustrates that, as far as disability and Paralympic sport is concerned, the Programme for Government, Creating an Active Wales plan and Vision for Sport strategies are being delivered through the programmes and activities of Disability Sport Wales.




















10.     Disability Sport Wales has maintained a robust set of key performance indicators over a period of 10 years which, collectively, provide important statistical and performance management information which influences future strategy and priorities areas for action.

11.     Examples of trend data have been identified on pages 6/7/8/9 above.

12.     Disability Sport Wales has always sought to provide information reflecting its user groups. Currently Disability Sport Wales is able to disaggregate users by:

            12.1      Age

            12.2      Gender

12.3      Impairment Type (physical / learning disabled / deaf & hard of hearing / blind and visually impaired

12.4      Black Minority Ethnic

12.5      Welsh Speaking


13.     This information is made publicly available as and when required


14.     Disability Sport Wales has not historically collected statistical information by Socio-economic group but recognises that this is an area which should be addressed in future years. Future priorities such as the reduction of poverty have been identified in our 2013 – 17 strategic plan. Our impact in this area will need to be measured.


15.     Disability Sport Wales is undertaking an equalities survey (by under 18s and over 18s) to ensure that its provision of service meets the needs of its current user group as well as how it can better meet the needs of any non-user group or where take up of opportunities is currently lower by some groups within the community. 


16.     Moving forward, as well as the statistical data collected on at least an annual basis, Disability Sport Wales is introducing a new performance management approach through the use of the Results Based Accountability (RBA) system. RBA scorecards are being produced and will be made available to the general public, online, through Disability Sport Wales websites and through other public documents.















Opportunities for Participation

17.     Disability Sport Wales believes that it currently provides a robust range of opportunities for disabled people to become involved in sport, at all levels of the sporting pathway.

18.     Disability Sport Wales, in-partnership with the 22 local authorities, funds (via Lottery support) the employment of local disability sport Development Officers.

19.     The primary roles of these officers are to increase sustainable participation by disabled people in grassroots sport and to drive the ‘insport’ programme to help create a more inclusive sporting landscape in Wales.

20.     The Disability Sport Wales Community programme has been in place for 10 years and has been heralded by commentators and some overseas nations as one of the best practise approaches to the development and delivery of grassroots disability sport anywhere in the World.

21.     Since 2002, the number of clubs delivering disability sport opportunities has grown from 31 to 331. The voluntary workforce supporting that infrastructure has increased from 330 to 4,156, with the number of community events growing annually from 48 to 85. Overall the number of annual participation opportunities taken up by disabled people has grown from 14,271 to 1,012,923.

22.     Welsh representation at Paralympic Games has increased from 17 Welsh athletes in 2000 (Sydney) to 24 by 2004 (Athens), 31 by 2008 (Beijing) and 38 by 2012 (London).

23.     Much of this success can be attributed to the introduction of the Disability Sport Wales Academy system which identifies, develops and nurtures emerging athletes. Between 2004 and 2008, 10 Welsh academy athletes were selected into the Paralympics GB team. Between 2008 – 2012 this figure had increased to 18 athletes (with a further 9 indirectly supported by Academy services).

24.     In terms of opportunities taken up by different groups of people by equality strand, the following figures are available:

          24.1          Male members of clubs                        

          24.2           Female members of clubs        

          24.3           Welsh speaking members         

          24.4           BME members                         

          24.5           Disabled Coaches                    

          24.6           Welsh speaking coaches          

          24.7           BME coaches                          

          24.8           Disabled Volunteers

          24.9           Learning Disabled

          24.10         Deaf and Hard of Hearing

          24.11         Physically Disabled

          24.12         Blind and visually impaired



25.     The main emphasis of Disability Sport Wales is to now build upon this foundation of grassroots sport, sustain existing structures, whilst expanding the scope of inclusive sports activities and workforce knowledge and capacity through the delivery of the ‘insport’ programme.

Barriers to Participation

26.     Whilst Disability Sport Wales believes it has made significant progress over the past 10 years in creating new and improved participation opportunities for disabled people, barriers still remain.

27.     Evidence drawn from an independent consultants report in 2010 and more recently from the 22 local authority Development Officers indicate the following barriers remain:

          27.1        cost to participate in sport – normally due to session sizes and lower numbers

          27.2        locations of facilities/sessions – requirement to travel further to access choice of


27.3        lack of clubs – Need to increase capacity and knowledge of mainstream clubs to

deliver inclusively

          27.4        lack of appropriate support – requirement by some participants for higher support 


          27.5        perceptions around disability and sport – need to change mainstream attitudes

                        and engagement

          27.6        Lack of training to support mainstreaming – training now available through

Disability Sport Wales

          27.7        Dependency on local public / parental / carer transportation support – transport

critical for some disabled people. Public transport not always an option

          27.8        Poor timing of some sessions – concerns over availability of session times

27.9        Media representation / coverage to maintain profile of disability sport – need to

maintain higher levels of media interest in disability sport since London 2012. More

coverage and interest in grassroots sport

         27.10       Marketing Materials – sports providers need to ensure materials are inclusive in

                        terms of accessibility, visual presentation and messaging

         27.11       Ensuring promotion and information reaches disabled people

          27.12       Accessibility to some Venues – physical adaptations required in aging stock of

public buildings

         27.13       Parental/carer attitudes toward sport – parents and carers need to be supported to

                        ensure that disabled children participate in sport

         27.14       Physical Education in schools – Teachers and non teaching support staff need to

be supported to ensure that they have the relevant skills to deliver P.E. in an inclusive



 28.    Disability Sport Wales remains focused on eradicating barriers wherever possible. Action has already been taken to remove or reduce some of the above barriers e.g.

            28.1      Physical Education in schools – Introduction of Sainsbury’s ‘Active Kids for All’

                        programme in schools

            28.2      Marketing Materials – advice and training to NGBs, Local Authorities and clubs

through ‘insport’ programme on accessible marketing

            28.3      Cost to participate in sport – Local Authorities have introduced subsidised or

discounted ‘passport to leisure’ schemes to support disabled people / carers to 

access sport

            28.4      Perceptions, increasing capacity of clubs, lack of training – These issues,

are being addressed through the ‘insport’ programme.

            28.5      Media representation – significant upturn in coverage of disability / Paralympic sport

                        during and since London 2012. Disability Sport Wales has introduced a

                        communications post to drive promotion and increase media coverage.










29.     In line with Welsh Government’s ‘Creating an Active Wales’, Disability Sport Wales has  introduced a national sports inclusion programme called ‘insport’. This contributes directly towards two outcomes contained within the ‘Creating an Active Wales’ action plan.

a) Ensure that professionals and volunteers receive appropriate inclusion training as identified through local needs / impact assessments.

b) Work with Local Authorities and other partners to increase accessibility to facilities and services by addressing barriers that may dissuade participation by all groups.

(Source: Creating an Active Wales Action Plan)           

31.    ‘insport’ is a project which consists of 3 different programmes, each of which is aimed at a different segment of the sport and leisure sector.  It is being supported through a 3 year funded cycle by the St James’ Place Foundation, which will enable the delivery of resources, case officers (insport NGB), and the delivery of workshops (UK DIT) to support the sport and leisure network workforce. 


32.    The intention of ‘insport’ is to support the delivery of inclusive opportunity throughout the sport and leisure network.  Disability Sport Wales have provided support, and been responsible for the delivery of disability sport and sport for disabled people throughout Wales for over 25 years, which includes, (for the last 10 years) a community programme that has based full or part-time officers in all 22 LAs.


33.   Post the 2012 Paralympic Games the profile of disability sport is rising, and a progressive move towards inclusion is becoming less of an ideal and more of a reality.  In order to support this in Wales, DSW’s Strategic Plan 2013 – 2017 identifies a transitioned move from ‘delivery’ to ‘support’.  This is going to be achieved through the 3 ‘insport’ programmes:


insport NGB

·         aimed at National Governing Bodies in Wales

insport Development

·         aimed at Local Authorities facilitated through the Sport Development Unit

insport Club

·         aimed at ALL clubs (not just those already associated with DSW) throughout Wales



34.     The final element that Disability Sport Wales has a direct responsibility for within the ‘Creating

         an Active Wales’ plan is:


34.1Identify opportunities for research to widen knowledge of current participation levels  

     and barriers that prevent participation in physical activity by all groups.

35.     Disability Sport Wales supports this aim and intends to continue to undertake research into barriers that prevent participation in physical activity by disabled people.


36.    A second initiative introduced to increase participation is funded through Sport Wales. Called The Patient Pathway, this new initiative is delivered in-partnership with Betsi Cadwalder University Health Trust.



37.     This partnership proposal intends to create enhanced awareness, understanding and greater coherence between the health sector and sport network in North Wales, through a planned programme of education and up-skilling of professionals within both areas, so as to better enable a patient pathway which illustrates and opens opportunities for disabled people to get involved with physical activity, including sport.


38.       The Health sector is the one institution which is guaranteed to come into contact with every disabled person in Wales, at the moment data protection legislation combined with the traditional invisibility of disabled communities makes it difficult for the sport network to target and create awareness of physical activity and (disability) sport opportunities.


39.       In order to support disabled adults in the right to access opportunities, potentially attain a better health status, reduce the need to use acute health services, and target communication about physical activity including sport to a greater percentage of the disabled population in North Wales it is essential that more robust and sustainable collaboration, communication and co-existence, between key partners be facilitated.



The specific aims for the partnership will be:

Increase the numbers of physically active disabled people across the 6 local authorities in the region

Create a robust partnership between (Disability) Sport and Health

Contribute to the identification of talented disabled people who may be interested in/able to becoming involved with competitive or elite sport

Decrease disabled people’s requirement for medical intervention as a consequence of ill-health linked to physical inactivity

Identify a model for best practice with regard to establishing a conduit between health professionals and settings, and physical activity (including sport) professionals, which could be modified as appropriate and rolled-out through the other 6 Health Trusts/Boards across Wales




















40.       London 2012 provided a unique opportunity for sport to market itself to new participants. The Games themselves were never going to directly increase participation. It was for the sports providers themselves to decide how they would use London 2012 to maximise their offer.


41.       Disability Sport Wales took an early decision to use London 2012 to impact across four key areas:


41.1   Elite Performance

41.2   Grassroots Participation

41.3   Raising the Profile of disability sport

41.4   Creating new (commercial) partnerships


42.       Performance: In 2008 (post Beijing) Disability Sport Wales set the bold target of 36 Welsh athletes being selected into the ParalympicsGB team for 2012.


43.       The outcome was that 38 athletes were selected – the highest ever contingent of Welsh athletes in any single Paralympic Games. The athletes made up approximately 14% of the ParalympicsGB team, far exceeding the target of 5%. The athletes delivered 15 medals.


44.       If Wales had been competing as a nation at the Paralympic Games, by medals per head of population we would have finished number 1 in the World (closest rivals New Zealand). This is a remarkable position that we have enjoyed at every Games since Athens 2004.


45.       The positive impact that role models such as our paralympians can have on disabled people, particularly the young, and the non-disabled population can be profound, helping to change the aspirations of disabled people and the perceptions of society on the way they view disability. Succeeding on the world’s greatest stage for paralympic sport enables Wales to deliver on its aspiration of being a Nation of Champions as well as making a significant contribution to the equalities agenda of Welsh Government.


46.       Participation:  The local authority development officer network displayed great commitment and creativity in ensuring that 2012 was a year that delivered on expectations around ‘legacy’.


47.       Local Authorities delivered festivals, competitions, school based events, campaigns, young ambassador programmes, London 2012 Inspire Mark projects, Flame Festivals and more to ensure that they maximised the opportunity that this unique year provided.


48.       The outcome was an increase in the number of clubs delivering disability sport by 20% and a general increase in club membership by 10%. The number of general participation opportunities went through the ‘1 million’ mark.


49.       These outcomes were achieved partly because Wales had the foresight over the past 10 years to invest in a disability sport delivery model which was ready to exploit 2012.




50.       Raising the Profile of Disability Sport – Disability Sport Wales took the view that it had to be ‘ready’ to exploit 2012.


51.        In preparation, Disability Sport Wales changed its legal status to that of a charity (benefitting from the increased profile the Games would bring and the resulting ability to generate additional sources of income, other than Government or lottery funding)


52.       The corporate brand of Disability Sport Wales was also improved and strengthened, generating increased visibility to both potential participants and partners. The success and power of the brand has also partly contributed to the success of the increased levels of activity with commercial sector partners.


53.       A communications post was introduced to the organisation to manage messages around 2012 athletes, Welsh success, participation and sporting opportunities. A series of media friendly events were generated, each one looking at a different aspect of the Disability Sport Wales’ offer from community sport through to elite performance.


54.       Promotional activities were increased, including a more dynamic and targeted approach to online services including blogging, twitter feeds, Face-book, Disability Sport Wales You tube sites and more traditional website services. A campaign to increase participation was also introduced on the South Wales to London mainline train stations at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This campaign was only possible by using poster sites that were allocated to London 2012.


55.       The hosting of 11 paralympic nations for their holding camps in the lead into to London 2012, in-partnership with Welsh Government and Local Authorities also maintained intense media interest.


56.       The resulting outcome was increased coverage by all forms of media, sustained interest in our programmes throughout 2012 and beyond, and positive coverage of Welsh elite athletes and their individual performances.


57.       In March 2013 it was announced that a consortia including Swansea University, City and Council of Swansea, Welsh/British Athletics and Disability Sport Wales had won the rights to host the IPC European Athletics Championships 2014, in Swansea. This event will maintain the high profile of elite Paralympic sport and will further enhance the reputation of Wales as one of the foremost Nations for the delivery of disability sport.


58.       Creating new (commercial) partnerships – Disability Sport Wales has a track record of developing and sustaining innovative partnerships with the commercial sector and other partners. 2012 offered new opportunities to expand the range of partnerships based on the heightened profile of disability sport resulting from the Paralympic Games.


59.       During 2012, Disability Sport Wales entered into commercial agreement with the following Companies:



Sinclair Volkswagen Cardiff

St James’s Place Foundation

South Wales Chamber of Commerce



 Goldfox Media


 General Dynamics


60.       These deals are commercially sensitive, however, it can be reported that the total committed investment into Disability Sport Wales during 2012/13 was in excess of £300,000.


61.       These partners join an existing portfolio of commercial supporters including:



USY Peachey’s

Total Teamwear ERREA

ACE Feet in Motion

Cardiff Bay Rotary Club


62.       The value of this type of partnerships is that it offers new streams of income and / or genuine budget relieving ‘value in-kind’ support at a time when public finances are under pressure. The success of the commercial programme reflects the ‘values’ based approach that Disability Sport Wales applies when working with partners.


63.       Disability Sport Wales has now decided to invest in the appointment of a ‘Client Relations Executive’ post. This innovative approach will seek to further generate free income and manage existing commercial accounts and partnerships.



Evidence Ends


Disability Sport Wales

May 2013