This year, we’re bringing our community together over Christmas to tackle loneliness among disabled people
Every December, we run a campaign highlighting the endemic issue of isolation in the disabled community. This year, our new Making Christmas Count campaign will launch on International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), providing an exciting range of events to get more disabled people active and reduce feelings of loneliness this Christmas.
Last year, COVID-19 saw the UK experiencing a Christmas like never before. The impacts of this were far-reaching, from families being unable to celebrate together, to businesses suffering a loss of income during what would usually be their busiest time of year.
But for disabled people, the COVID-19 pandemic was even more significant. Many of the 14.1 million disabled people across the country were forced to self-isolate for most of the year due to being in high-risk categories, and all missed out on services and social events that provided a vital support network in their lives.
Sport England’s Active Lives Survey also found a 2.1% decrease in activity levels among disabled people since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, compared with a 1.5% drop among non-disabled people. It also found that “those with a disability or long-term health condition saw no recovery across mid-March to mid-May 2021, compared to the first full lockdown during the same period in 2020 – remaining 7.1% down on 2019. This suggests a return to activity may be slower for this group and without additional support many may not return.”
For millions, this was detrimental. One of the core challenges facing disabled people is isolation – in fact, disabled people are four times as likely to experience chronic loneliness than non-disabled people. But, with social distancing measures in place at what can be one of the loneliest times of the year, this was exacerbated even further. Sport England also found that increases in loneliness since COVID-19 have been higher in disabled people than the non-disabled population.
So now is the time for us to get together and support each other with a bit of festive cheer!
With guidelines relaxed and vaccines rolled out, disabled people can finally get back to the activities they enjoy – and celebrate the festive period for the first time in two years.
We are #MakingChristmasCount and giving disabled people the experience they deserve this year by providing engaging sports activities to help boost their visibility within local communities and the public consciousness as we continue to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the month, our ‘My Winter, My Words’ series will share stories from our members, volunteers and carers, centering their voices and experiences in the conversation around disability rights.
Our Christmas Events for disabled people in 2021
On 30th December, we will be hosting our first large in-person event since the pandemic began in the form of our Christmas Club at The Castle Leisure Centre in Elephant and Castle. The Christmas Club will be a pan-disability multi-sports event, where disabled people of all ages can enjoy inclusive yoga, football, basketball, boccia, dance and boxercise with a fun, festive atmosphere. Booking is essential to attend, so click here to register today.
For those who are still more comfortable participating from home, we are also running three days of online activities via Zoom from Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd December, including inclusive balls skills sessions, a virtual bake-along and a quiz with special guests. Click here to register your place.
To find out more about our Christmas events, click here.
Disability Sports Coach CEO, Peter Ackred, says:
“It’s really important to focus on disabled people this Christmas, especially with COVID-19 still going on. Research has found that two-thirds of the deaths that have occurred so far due to COVID-19 are disabled people. That sends a really strong message that the members of our community need to be supported not just now, but throughout their lives.”