EFDS Report Disabled People’s Lifestyle Survey

Understanding disabled people’s lifestyles in relation to sport.

Defining current participation, preferences and engagement to provide more attractive offers in sport. 

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is the strategic lead in sport and physical activity for disabled people in England. In addition to being a funded National Partner of Sport England, EFDS, as a Federation, provides a platform for collaborative working across England and the main impairment groups. Our vision is that disabled people are active for life. Part of EFDS’s work is to champion opportunities for disabled people to enjoy sport, supporting the sport and physical activity sectors to be more inclusive. Our aspiration is to see equality in sport whereby disabled people are just as likely to be active as non-disabled people.

To achieve our vision, we work with various stakeholders. They include National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) and National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) to increase suitable and relevant opportunities for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity.

In order to increase the number of disabled people who take part in sport and physical activity and to ensure they stay active can depend on whether the offers meet the market demand and need. It is also important that once these offers exist that they are promoted in a way which reaches disabled people and motivates them to take part. Not all disabled people will have the same reasons for being or not being active. It is therefore important to understand what encourages and prevents different disabled people from taking part and what commonalities exist.

EFDS are embarking on an exciting multi-stage research project designed to understand what motivates disabled people in their everyday lives. One of the aims of the project is to develop a number of different profiles for disabled people, which outline the key drivers to encourage or prevent them from taking part in sport. This can be known as market segmentation and the profiles developed will help EFDS to tailor our guidance and recommendations to stakeholders. They will highlight the type of sport interventions that will be more appealing for different disabled people, reducing wasted opportunities and meet market demand.

To be successful, we need to understand disabled people’s lifestyles. Not just about their sporting habits, but how sport does or does not fit into their livelihood. The why not is as important as the why- so it is important to find out more about how they use their spare time, their current behaviour and their experience of sport and physical activity.

By understanding more about disabled people’s lifestyles in general, we can start to understand the trigger points, motivational drivers and their likely sustainability. Rather than disabled people grouped generally by their impairment or other key demographics, they can be grouped by their motivations. Then, offers for these groups can be designed more appropriately and engage more disabled people based on their needs, rather than other factors.

Offers can be in various guises, including programmes, events or opportunities etc. These offers need to use effective language and messaging to attract more disabled people. To market these better means using the ideal communication channels and formats, in a timely fashion and in the relevant place. Rather than use the scattergun effect with disabled people, good marketing means we can all target audiences more effectively.

This report outlines the key findings of the first phase of the project- a quantitative study designed to understand:

  • What disabled people enjoy doing in their spare time
  • How do disabled people seek information about new hobbies and interests
  • Which kind of people are role models, who influence opinions and attitudes
  • How, if at all, sport fits into their lives compared to other hobbies and interests
  • What are the opinions and experiences of sport, exercise and physical activity
  • How do disabled people interpret the terminology used within the sports sector

It is split into two parts. The first part outlines what disabled people expect from a sporting experience and the second identifies the best ways to market offers more effectively.

This report will also look into and identify the extent to which different demographic characteristics impact on responses. The demographic groups looked at are:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Type of impairment
  • Whether the impairment was congenital (born with) or acquired (developed after birth)
  • Whether the person attended a mainstream or special school
  • Whether the person is currently active or not (does or does not take part in sport or physical activity)

To ensure that the report is truly representative of all impairment groups, an easier and shortened version of the main survey (outlined above) was created to be used with people with a learning disability. Where relevant, throughout the report, the additional findings are included.

Report findings based on a market research conducted in November - December 2012 by English Federation of Disability Sport. Report written By Emma Spring, on behalf of the English Federation of Disability Sport, In September 2013.


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