Thursday 13 March 2014
Research has shown that less than a quarter of people living in the Merseyside area with a disability are doing physical activity at least once a week. Participation in sport is seen as a means of boosting their confidence as well as improving their wellbeing.
To tackle this low rate of participation, Active Me has been launched in Liverpool thanks to funds from the National Lottery with the aim of providing new sports in safer and more comfortable environments for people with a disability.
Everton in the Community's record in running in the largest disability football programme in the world has meant that it is well placed to deliver the Active Me initiative with Liverpool City Council. The three-year programme will encourage participation among physically inactive adults with learning disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing and blind and partially sighted. It aims to get 200 adults who are sedentary into an active lifestyle by offering them weekly sessions in sports such as athletics, dance, badminton and swimming.
"This new programme is a chance for us to reach out to even more people with limiting physical disabilities"
Active Me was launched on Tuesday at Lifestyles Ellergreen in Norris Green, Liverpool, and Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar visited to show his support and get involved in a taster session with the participants.
"Everton in the Community has a fantastic reputation and track record in disabled sports development and this new programme is a chance for us to reach out to even more people with limiting physical disabilities and help them to realise their sporting ambitions," Pienaar told evertonfc.com.
"It is a fantastic opportunity for people in our local community who may lack confidence in playing sports to try something new, get fit and make friends."
Liverpool City Council received National Lottery funding of £334,000 by Sport England's Inclusive Sport Fund through their "Places People Play" programme, as part of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.
"We want to be able to eradicate any barriers which could prevent people with disabilities taking up a sport"
Councillor Wendy Simon
"We want to be able to eradicate any barriers which could prevent people with disabilities taking up a sport, and support them in trying something which may be new to them," said assistant mayor and cabinet member for leisure, councillor Wendy Simon.
"Through Active Me, we want to see an increase in the number of people involved in physical activity every week. We're delighted to have had so many signed up since December, and hope to encourage even more to take part. We're committed to increasing inclusive sports participation at every level and with this new initiative hope to create a legacy of lifelong sport for disabled people."