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Investigating the disability barriers to sport

By 27 February 2020No Comments

THE Observatory for Sport in Scotland is launching a review of research into disability sport in Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) as we continue to find ways to increase participation for all.

The OSS produces a series of research reviews, reports, papers and projects each year to help people and organisations to better understand barriers to sport in its widest sense, and to identify solutions that enable more people of all ages and abilities to become take part in regular, fun activity.

Many sports are adaptable for people with a disability – if we focus on the ability.

This latest review was proposed by SDS and its Chief Executive Gavin Macleod after he and SDS staff attended the first OSS National Sport Summit. He explained why.

“From our point of view this will give us the evidence and collation of research that we just haven’t got in Scotland at the moment,” he said.

“There is not very much Scottish-based research going around and so we have to rely on bits and pieces of information and data from disability organisations or other agencies south of the border or further afield. We are not a research organisation and are not research experts, and so even when we access some research it takes time and work to understand it and turn it into something that we can all use to help develop sport in Scotland. So it’s great to work with OSS who have experts across the research landscape, committed to helping us to increase and widen sport participation for all.”

In Scotland, 21 percent of people have a registered disability and 70 percent would like to take park in more sport. The OSS is also working in partnership with organisations across Europe and this review will feed into a wider European research project studying key barriers to activity for people with disabilities.

Over 30 organisations are currently engaged in the OSS Disability Sport Review, but we welcome all contributions. The draft review is here, and if any people and organisations with experience of disability, be it physical, learning or sensory, would like to contribute to the review please get in touch.

Mr Macleod added: “This review will add to our existing evidence but also highlight where the knowledge gaps are in the aspirations that we have, and give us more clarity in how we take that forward. The Scottish Government, sportscotland and a range of funders require empirical evidence, so this will help us help them and make the case for disability sport stronger.”

If anyone would like more information on this review, or have suggestions for other areas of OSS work, please get in touch with OSS Director David Ferguson at: