A young male wheelchair tennis participant

Focus on...disability sport

Working in partnership to improve equality and inclusion

As the governing body for disability sport, Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) believes in the power of sport to transform lives and bring life-long social, physical and psychological benefits for participants and athletes with disabilities.

SDS understands the importance of innovative thinking and when this is combined with great collaboration, the result can be positive and meaningful change.

Focused on ensuring that participants with disabilities can engage in physical activity and sport, SDS has been working with partners from health, education, sport and third sector organisations and at local branches where SDS staff support local authorities and trusts.

Encouraging partners to work with a participant-centred approach, aligned with the SDS Activity Inclusion Model (AIM), has helped to develop strong examples of inclusive practice.

The AIM model, developed from Black and Stevenson’s Inclusion Spectrum and aligned to the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, helps people, including people with a disability, to achieve their goals. This tool helps to develop activities through open, modified, parallel and specific options, tailored to the setting and activity. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, SDS encourage partners to adopt the most appropriate inclusive practice to meet the needs of the organisation and participants. These include:

  • events to engage new participants
  • programmes to provide further opportunities
  • progression into inclusive mainstream clubs
  • talent development
  • design, delivery and development of Disability Inclusion Training
  • upskilling the Scottish sport workforce.

Gavin Macleod, CEO of SDS, said: “We are indebted to the partners who have supported our work and are committed to developing a more inclusive approach to sport and physical activity across Scotland.

"We all want to see access to sport improve and we are incredibly grateful for the positive response from partners to the participant-centred model to help develop more inclusive sport.

“This is about creating long-term solutions, changing our thinking and in some cases doing things differently. It is also about listening to people from a wide range of organisations and developing solutions together.

"We are looking forward to developing existing partnerships further, creating new partnerships and progressing the culture of inclusion in Scottish sport with the launch of our new strategic plan in 2021.”

SDS has also identified the importance of working with a range of disability support organisations to reach a wide group of people with a disability who may not have considered the benefits of sport.

One great example of an innovative approach that resulted from strong partnership working is the Tayside Get Out Get Active (GOGA) programme, which supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together.


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