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What We Do

Despite the enormous benefits of keeping fit and active, 85%* of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland never take part in any form of sport or active recreation. Because of a complex range of social, attitudinal and physical barriers the reality in Northern Ireland is that most disabled people simply don’t get the opportunity to take part in and enjoy sport and active recreation. Disability Sport NI is working to improve this situation. *NISRA Survey 2007

NI Junior Paralympic Fun Day NI Junior Paralympic Fun Day

Disability Sport NI work very hard to provide an equality of access to sport for people with a disability in Northern Ireland.

The most important part of Disability Sport NI’s work is the development of regular participation opportunities for people with disabilities, ideally in their local area. We currently do this in the following ways:
 
Community Events Programme: Disability Sport NI runs a series of community events each year where people with disabilities can take part in fun but competitive sporting events in a range of sports including Boccia, New Age Kurling, Athletics and Aerobics.

Inclusive Leisure Projects: This Sport NI Lottery funded project, is a partnership between Disability Sport NI and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC)  Borough Council. The project focuses on the development of local participation opportunities for people with disabilities in the local ABC council Borough.

Active Clubs Programme: The Sport NI funded Active Clubs Programme aims to ‘support and enable accessible and sustainable participation opportunities through sports clubs’. Disability Sport NI has employed two Active Clubs Coordinators; Odhran Doherty who works with people with Physical Disabilities and Judith Brennan who works with people with Sight Loss. The coordinators work with identified sports clubs in order to assist them with developing new and innovative interventions aimed at increasing their club membership. They are also responsible for creating a range of opportunities for training, learning, education and capacity building for coaches and volunteers in clubs. 

Supporting Local Groups and Programmes: Disability Sport NI also supports a number of Sport NI funded community sports projects throughout Northern Ireland. We provide support, advice and training to these groups on how to successfully include people with disabilities in their programmes.

Learn more about our work in this area in the Sports Opportunities section of our website.

Performance Sport

Disability Sport NI works closely with Sport Northern Ireland and key governing bodies of sport to ensure that our most talented disabled sports people have the same opportunity as non-disabled sports people to train, compete and excel in their chosen sport.

Performance pathways are currently being developed in each of twelve ‘focus’ sports in partnership with the relevant governing bodies of sport, with key competitions and squad development programmes already in place in some sports.
 
Disability Sport NI also represent Northern Ireland on key UK performance sports organisations, including the British Paralympic Association. We also maintain close links with key Irish disability sports organisations.

Learn more about our work in this area in the Performance Sport section of our website.

Sports Facility Access

Disability Sport NI provides a sport facility access audit & advice service, designed to encourage and support the development of sports facilities which are fully inclusive of people with disabilities. We also work closely with Sport Northern Ireland to ensure that all of their funded sports facilities meet optimum levels of good practice for accessibility and inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities.

Learn more about our work in this area in the Sports Facility Access section of our website.

Training & Education

Disability Sport NI runs a variety of training and sports leadership courses, all designed to provide coaches, sports leaders, club administrators, leisure services staff and teachers with the knowledge and practical skills they require to successfully include people with disabilities in sports and recreation programmes. Disability Sport NI currently runs courses which involve over 500 participants annually.
 
In the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Disability Sport NI developed an innovative education project The 5 Star Disability Sports Challenge.  Aimed at primary school children throughout Northern Ireland, the project aims to increase children’s awareness and understanding of disability sport.

Learn more about our work in this area in the Training & Education section of our website.

Information & Advice

Disability Sport NI provides an information and advice service on all aspects of sport and active recreation for people with disabilities. This is crucially important to ensure that people with disabilities are aware of current sports and recreation opportunities.

If you would like information on how to get involved with a disability sport of your choosing, why not check out what is going on in your area through our Sports Opportunities database.

You may also like to visit the Resources section of our website for more useful advice and information or please feel free to contact us.