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Audit of sports opportunities for children and adults with a disability in Cumbria

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Cumbria is the second largest County in England with a population of just under half a million. The population is very dispersed, and with an ethnic population of approximately 0.7% (Cumbria in Figures, 2003).

Cumbria consists of six District Authorities: Barrow in Furness, South Lakeland, Copeland, Allerdale, Carlisle and Eden. Despite the long-term growth in population, Cumbria remains one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, and has a higher population living in remote rural areas than any other county in England. More than 70% of settlements in Cumbria have a population of less than 200 people. Indeed only 20 settlements have a population of greater than 2.500. However three of the Districts conceal substantial variations within their areas. For example although Allerdale and Copeland are relatively sparsely populated, there are substantial concentrations of people in large and small towns along the coastal fringe; The main areas being Maryport, Workington and Whitehaven. Barrow in Furness covers a very small geographical area, compared to the other Districts in Cumbria, covering only 77 square kilometres, 1.1% of the County. These variations between sparse population and population concentrations have significant consequences for the way in which sporting opportunities are developed and made accessible to all.

Cumbria is not often associated with high levels of poverty and deprivation for people living outside the county, as to many, disadvantage is seen as only a problem of inner city areas. This fails to recognize that there are many other parts of both rural and urban landscapes where genuine hardship exists. Copeland, Allerdale and Barrow in Furness all share the issue of remoteness from facilities that other Districts in Cumbria share. However they also encompass urban centres that have suffered economic decline in recent years. The urban areas within these Districts suffer from poor health, low income, high unemployment, and poor housing. Also approximately 70% of disabled people live below the National Poverty Line, ( Sport Action Zone (2001) West Cumbria & Barrow Needs Assessment and Action Plan).

One of the issues around disability sport is that of integration versus segregation in the delivery of opportunities in physical activity. It is generally accepted that sports development is about aiming to provide fully inclusive opportunities for all, and this should be the aim of all workers in the field of sports development. However segregated provision does have a part to play in this as segregated activity can act as a confidence building exercise, can provide competition amongst competitors of an equal standard, and segregated events can be held as promotional and taster days. Also some adults and young people with a disability do prefer segregated activities to those in the mainstream. However providing segregated provision without developing accessible mainstream opportunities is discriminatory and perpetuates the myth that people with disabilities cannot access mainstream sporting opportunities. Segregated activities should be viewed as an introduction to sport activity and not the solution.

This audit has not measured the number of people with disabilities who access mainstream provision, as there is no reasonably accurate way of measuring this. However national research carried out by Sport England and the English Federation of Disability Sport has shown that people with disabilities face certain barriers when accessing sports provision which means that a significantly lower number of people with disabilities take part in sport than those without.



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [ This [2004] audit sets out to ascertain what sports provision exists for adults and young people with a disability in Cumbria. This research does not set out to identify barriers to participation as this has been carried out before, nationally and regionally. ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference : Steventon, J. (2005). Audit of sports opportunities for children and adults with a disability in Cumbria. Carlisle: Cumbria Sport


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Download this file (Audit.pdf)Audit.pdfSteventon, J. (2005). Audit of sports opportunities for children and adults with a disability in Cumbria. Carlisle: Cumbria Sport
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