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The Peter Harrison Foundation is the latest organisation to partner with the Observatory for Sport in Scotland, to enable the first major research project into disability and sport in Scotland for 20 years.

Since the National Sport Summit in 2019, OSS has engaged a wide range of partners to investigate the challenges around participation in local sport activity and sport’s ability to properly include people with disabilities. This year-long project will include input from Scottish Disability Sport, sportscotland, Disability Equality Scotland, Special Olympics GB, Deaf Scotland and UK Deaf Sport, as well as athletes with disabilities, and will be sponsored by the Peter Harrison Foundation.

The OSS conducted a research review in 2020, led by specialists in disability sport research Professor Richard Davison and Professor Gayle McPherson from the University of West of Scotland, which sought to understand the existing data and identify knowledge gaps. That report will be published this month and help to inform the full project as it seeks identify barriers to sport activity experienced by people with physical, learning and sensory disabilities, and uncover solutions to removing them.

Andrew Ross, Director of the Peter Harrison Foundation, said: “The trustees of the Peter Harrison Foundation are pleased that they were able to sponsor the proposed research into disability sport by the Observatory for Sport in Scotland. For over 20 years the Foundation has been committed to widening opportunities for participation in sport by people with disabilities. Through a programme of charitable grant giving it has invested substantial sums in the improvement of elite Paralympic performance as well as in the development of grassroots clubs and facilities across the UK.

“We know that participation in sport and exercise by people with disabilities is still not what it could and should be, not just in Scotland. We hope that this research will draw attention to some of the barriers to participation which still exist and throw light on examples of good practice which can be replicated. It should provide us with evidence to show where further investment can add most value and help to bring about the kinds of change which can improve the mental and physical health of the disabled population.”

Led by its founder Peter Harrison and his enthusiasm to enable and empower people with disabilities to enjoy sport, the Foundation supports individuals and organisations across the UK which provide opportunities for self-development through participation in sport; care of children and young people with special needs; and education. This research project will seek outcomes to help inform policy and shape better practice for national and local decision-makers and sports organisations across the whole of Scotland. It aims to conclude with a national disability and sport conference in 2022.

For more information, or to be part of the research, please contact David Ferguson: david@oss.scot.

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