The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is unveiling the Inclusion Club Hub after working with sustainable behaviour change agency Corporate Culture.
The new online toolkit will support sports clubs to improve provision and opportunities, so that more disabled people can be active at a local level.
After an unrivalled summer of sport including the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there has been a surge in disabled people looking for sports clubs, with reports of significant traffic increase. EFDS wants to ensure disabled people who look for local opportunities can be guaranteed a quality experience at clubs. The Inclusion Club Hub can support this positive participation.
The toolkit can be accessed at www.inclusion-club-hub.co.uk and is free to use. As it is online and suitable for mobile browsing, it means more clubs can use it at any convenient time, as an audit tool to find out how inclusive they are or a resource to support the club’s development. Other support includes developing a club action plan, strengthening the Clubmark process, or general planning.
Corporate Culture’s involvement with the toolkit’s development included creating, designing and building a site that was responsive to the device – such as a PC or mobile phone – being used to view it. Using experience developed from previous campaigns Corporate Culture were able to ensure each user received personal information to fit their requirements.
To start with, users are taken through a series of questions to find out more about their club. Their results are then sent directly to them, including ideas, methods and resources. The information contains case studies and better practice examples, so clubs can learn from others and adapt, helping every club member to have a positive experience.
EFDS’s research ‘Understanding the barriers to participation’ showed that there are a number of minor improvements a club can make which would help disabled people to feel more comfortable in their environment. Examples include being open and direct towards disabled people, asking the level of support needed for them to participate in the sport and slightly amending standard practices. The same research also identified the main way in which disabled people find out about sporting opportunities is through word of mouth from other disabled people.
Another piece of EFDS research reported disabled people feel disability-specific clubs rather than National Governing Body-affiliated clubs have a better understanding of their needs in sport. Promoting the club’s awareness of disabled people’s needs and what it can offer helps to overcome these anxieties.
All members need to feel valued and receive equal opportunities. It makes perfect marketing sense – to grow a club means satisfying all members’ needs. Satisfied customers will share their experience with other people they know and potential members.
EFDS works to support the sports sector and drive the inclusion of disabled people, who are still a largely under-represented group. For clubs, there is not one set way to improve inclusion. Clubs can include disabled people in a variety of ways. Some clubs run fully inclusive sessions which include all of their members. Other clubs have bespoke groups and sessions for disabled people, but they are still delivered within the main club structure. These both benefit disabled people to enjoy sport as much as non-disabled people.
Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS, said:
“We are very proud of the Inclusion Club Hub. Clubs are often the first point for people to take part in sport, so disabled people need to know that clubs value their membership and will support them, too. Inclusion Club Hub will certainly improve and increase opportunities for disabled people at a grassroots level. The extra support for clubs to deliver inclusive activities means more disabled people can enjoy sport and stay active for life.”
Andrew Malone, Head of Digital at Corporate Culture, said:
“The challenge with the Inclusion Club Hub project was to bring to life a paper-based document. In addition to this, in the age of 4G coverage, the site is built responsively to cater for mobile browsing. So many club officials can even complete the toolkit from the sidelines, while cheering on their members.”
Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Sport at Sport England, said:
“We welcome this new toolkit to help clubs to be more inclusive. High-quality local opportunities, especially through clubs, are key to increasing the number of disabled people playing sport regularly. With additional support, a lot more sports clubs can inspire future generations to be active and develop a sporting habit for life.”
Andy Reed, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said:
“We’re very excited about the Inclusion Club Hub. The Sport and Recreation Alliance is campaigning for as many of the UK’s 150,000 sport and recreation clubs as possible to provide accessible environments where disabled people can effortlessly play alongside non-disabled people. This tool is a very welcome step towards achieving that aim.”
Clare Macleod, Strategic Operations Manager for Sport England Clubmark, said:
“Community sports clubs play a fundamental role in increasing and sustaining sports participation. In order for disabled people to have meaningful opportunities to participate within these clubs, they should be inclusive and welcoming to all. The EFDS toolkit will support clubs to improve what they offer in this area and thus deliver more for disabled people. It will also help clubs work towards Clubmark accreditation by ensuring they have the necessary provisions in place to provide for all members of their local community.”
The Inclusion Club Hub follows Diversity Challenge (www.diversitychallenge.co.uk), which was unveiled in March. EFDS led on the creation of that self-evaluation tool with the other equality partners to drive the inclusion of under-represented groups in sport. Both were created with Corporate Culture’s expertise.
Clubs can register on the Inclusion Club Hub now at www.inclusion-club-hub.co.uk