UKSA welcomes DCMS’ sport strategy with cautious optimism

My Sport, My Voice! Ambassador Adam Thompson coaching children

The UK Sports Association welcomes the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) new sport strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ and eagerly awaits change but in part with cautious optimism.

The report represents a positive step in the right direction and we are pleased that DCMS and UK Sport are committed to see a closer working collaboration with the Home Country Sports Councils.

UKSA is pleased to see a focus on increasing the involvement of disabled people in sport, and hope that this will extend in very real terms to athletes with learning disability.

The UK Sports Association is also pleased that the framework for a new strategy has identified the following five key themes:
– Physical wellbeing
– Mental wellbeing
– Individual development
– Social and community development
– Economic development.

The UK Sports Association plays a vital role in ensuring these positive outcomes for athletes with learning disability and looks forward to working with DCMS to deliver real results in these areas for the benefit of people with learning disability across the UK.

Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive for UK Sports Association, said: “We are optimistic about DCMS’ new sport strategy which shows ambition and aspiration for change. We particularly welcome the recognition for a broader and deeper talent support for non-Olympic and Paralympic sports.

“We hope that this focus will finally bridge the ever increasing gap in the sporting landscape that is swallowing up athletes with learning disability who are working hard and achieving in non-Paralympic sports or events, but for whom those achievements remain invisible, undervalued and unrecognised by the current sport structure.

“As we approach 2016, with ever more promises of a legacy beyond 2012, this lack of recognition and investment is unacceptable – we hope that Sporting Futures new and fresh approach will change this.”

McCillen goes on to say: “We are particularly pleased to see the pledge for a more joined up approach in the sports landscape across the UK, with an expected closer collaboration between the Home Country Sports Councils and UK Sport.

“However, we are approaching this with a sense of cautious optimism given the challenges that have beset previous attempts. We hope that the promise of change that A Sporting Future pledges to achieve will see smart, real and immediate changes in this area.

“The UK Sports Association is eager to work with DCMS, Sport England, other Home Nation Sports Councils, UK Sport, all national governing bodies of sport to promote and measure the huge value of sport beyond pure Olympic and Paralympic medial success.

“Sport has much to offer, but in the context of athletes with learning disability the impact of sport in the five key themes of the strategy can be truly life changing, whilst still contributing to Britain’s leading position on the world’s sporting stage.”