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Will Mellor encourages disabled people to be more active as Together We Will campaign hits London

Will Mellor is bringing the Together We Will campaign to London – a nationwide initiative dedicated to encouraging and supporting disabled people, along with their friends and families, to become more active.

The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.

In London, around 1.1 million people have an impairment or long-term health condition (Sport England, Mapping Disability: The Facts, 2016). The city currently has low numbers of active disabled people. Only 18 per cent of disabled adults reportedly take part in sport or physical activity once a week for recommended 30 minutes, compared with 40 per cent of non-disabled adults (Sport England Active People survey 10, 2016).

To help address this disparity, today sees campaign ambassador, Will Mellor hosting a sports day with CORE Projects, a local initiative providing sporting activities for disabled people, at Attlee Youth and Community Centre in Bethnal Green. The event hopes to engage and motivate disabled people across London to get moving, whatever the activity.

The event reflects insights showing that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.

Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:

“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which aims to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.

“My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) to deliver the Together We Will campaign this summer, with backing from Sport England.

Campaign ambassador, Amanda Worne will also be in attendance. Amanda Worne had a cycling accident in August 2015, when her brakes failed as she was cycling downhill. The accident left Amanda with a broken back and paralysis from the waist down.

The 45-year-old mother of four from Sussex spent six months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital as part of her rehabilitation and now uses a wheelchair.

Just one year on from her accident, Amanda has completed a sky dive for charity, is learning to scuba dive and will also be taking part in a marathon next month.

Amanda’s response to her accident and positive outlook on life means she is a great advocate for those who lead an active lifestyle, and a fantastic ambassador for the Together We Will campaign. To help encourage and motivate other disabled people, along with their friends and family to become more active.

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:

“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.

“That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.

“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”

Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active. As research highlighted that often disabled people do not know where to go to find the right information about opportunities available to them.  

These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.

For more information about the National Disability Sports Organisations and the support they offer visit www.efds.co.uk/ndsos.

The Together We Will campaign is running from July to end of September 2016, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.

For more information about Together We Will and how the National Disability Sports Organisations can support you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page www.efds.co.uk/together.

Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.