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Encouraging disabled students into sport

To engage and encourage participation from disabled students the University of Nottingham appointed a disability sport officer. After appointment they undertook a consultation exercise with a number of disabled students to identify the barriers to participation.

These were:

  • the competitive attitude to sport at the university
  • coaches/teachers who do not have experience of working with disabled people
  • the timings and choice of activities
  • other people’s perceptions
  • the membership cost

Following the consultation, the university developed a tailored programme of sport and activities to address these issues and increase the participation of disabled people including:

  • any-body month
  • any-body club (fortnightly inclusive social sports club)
  • any-buddy scheme (sports buddy scheme)
  • goalball club (sport for people with visual impairments)

The annual any-body month offers students, staff and the local community the opportunity to try a variety of inclusive sports and activities. The initiative has been a great success with a 73% increase in participation from 2010, with 12% of those people declaring a disability (significantly higher than the national higher education average).