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Disability Sport in Community Clubs

2023 National Sport Club Survey insights

Disability Sport in Community Clubs

2023 National Sport Club Survey insights

The provision of sport for disabled people was a key focus of the 2023 National Sport Club Survey – an annual snapshot of the management, operation and governance of New Zealand’s 7,500 sport clubs.   

The survey provides insights into how community sport clubs around the country are providing participation opportunities and being inclusive of disabled people. 

It’s great to see that sport clubs around New Zealand are making progress towards catering for disabled people, but more work is needed to ensure inclusion at all levels – from coaching and delivery to strategy and governance. The majority of clubs surveyed say they have barriers for disabled people to participate in their clubs that need addressing.

Findings from the survey show: 

  • 60% of clubs say they have barriers that need addressing for disabled people. 
  • 78% of clubs say they provide opportunities for disabled people to engage alongside non-disabled people (such as partnering with non-disabled ‘buddies’ and creating teams selected based on ability not disability). 
  • 55% of clubs have taken steps to include disabled people in their club (such as offering specialised and/or adapted equipment, accessible club facilities, tailored events and/or programmes, upskilling coaches). 
  • Only 34% of clubs are ‘fairly’ or ‘completely’ confident that their leaders and deliverers are able to meet the needs of disabled people.   
  • Only 14% of clubs say it is 'essential’ or a ‘priority’ to enhance opportunities for disabled people in their community.   
  • 29% of clubs ask members about physical or intellectual impairments.  
  • 68% of club boards discuss matters related to disability sport ‘rarely’ or ‘not at all’. 

What are disabled participants’ sport club experiences? 

Through the 2016-2023 Voice of Participant (VoP) Survey Report, we know that on average disabled participants are less satisfied with their club experience than their non-disabled peers.  

Of the 11 sports that included disability questions in their VOP survey, disabled participants have lower satisfaction levels than non-disabled participants in nine sports.  

Disabled participants report higher satisfaction when they are offered and take up adapted versions of their sport to suit their circumstances (69% compared to 63% of those who do not), showing this to be an effective and important aspect of club offerings.  

“…(It) would be great if there was more education about adapting training etc and therefore encouraging more inclusion for kids with mild disabilities so they can enjoy it more and end up participating for longer.”   

- 2016-2023 Voice of Participant Survey  

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