Parasport powered by Toyota, an online hub to empower disabled people to become more active, has launched a new £250,000 fund to provide training and equipment to registered activity providers.
The new Toyota Parasport Fund opens today and will be delivered in partnership with the British Paralympic Association, Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, Disability Sport Wales and Scottish Disability Sport.
This exciting new opportunity means activity providers registered on Parasport can apply for grants to improve the quality and quantity of activities available to disabled people.
The new UK-wide funding programme has the backing of ParalympicsGB athletes including multiple Paralympic swimming gold medallist Bethany Firth from Northern Ireland. Prior to starting swimming lessons as a pupil at Longstone Special School, Bethany had a fear of water, having fallen into a pool as a four-year-old on holiday in Australia.
Firth said: “I think it’s amazing what the Toyota Parasport Fund is doing because so many people don’t have the opportunity to try a sport or get involved.
“There are so many different sports out there and everyone has a different sport that they might enjoy. People can get into sport for so many other reasons than winning a medal whether that’s for the health benefits or the social side.
“If I hadn’t had the opportunity through my school to get involved in swimming, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I wouldn’t have the medals I’ve won. For Toyota to create the opportunity is amazing.”
Parasport was launched in March 2019 and already has more than 1,600 activity providers offering disabled people the opportunities to become more active through Parasport.org.uk, which creates a vibrant community for people to share their experiences and become advocates for the benefits of being more active.
Parasport empowers disabled people and their networks by providing the information, inspiration and confidence they need to become active.
Andrew Cullis, Toyota GB Marketing Director, said: “We are extremely proud to launch the Toyota Parasport Fund as the next step in our support of inclusive sport and activity in the UK.
“Alongside our partners from Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, Disability Sport Wales and Scottish Disability Sport, we have a fantastic opportunity to improve the options available to disabled people to get active and make a lasting impact on the grassroots landscape.”
Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive at the British Paralympic Association, said: “Thanks to the launch of the Toyota Parasport Fund we are delighted to offer clubs registered on the Parasport website the chance to apply for grants to further improve the opportunities they offer to disabled people.
“Parasport is a crucial part of helping us to deliver our vision: through sport, inspire a better world for disabled people. It enables us to highlight the wide range of opportunities available for disabled people and these grants will help improve the experience of disabled people taking part in physical activity across the country and will be a welcome boost to the array of activity providers registered with Parasport.”
Activity providers from across the UK who have registered on Parasport are eligible to apply for support to improve the quality and quantity of sport and activities available to disabled people. The application mechanism varies depending on whether a club is active in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. To find out more or to make an application, search ‘Toyota Parasport Fund’.