78% of disabled people say their impairment or condition stops them being active, often related to low awareness of suitable activities and fears about safety and risk. (Activity Alliance 2021-22)[i]

The Southwark Inclusive Sport and Physical Activity Network (SISPAN) is spearheaded and chaired by Access Sport. The network works in partnership with London Sport, Southwark Council, London Southbank University (LSBU) and Disability Sports Coach and includes other like-minded organisations who support and deliver inclusive sport and physical activity for D/deaf and disabled people in Southwark. SISPAN’s vision is that all D/deaf and disabled people in the borough are more physically active in their everyday lives.

Following the success of the first Active Together Festival in 2022, SISPAN hosted their second event at LSBU Active on Sunday 19th February 2023.

The aim was to provide a day of fun and inclusive sport and physical activity for D/deaf and disabled young people and adults living in and around the borough in a truly accessible space. The event saw 22 disabled participants attend along with their families and carers coming not just from Southwark but also Lewisham, Greenwich, Lambeth and Bromley.

"Thanks so much, Henry loved the event and keeps asking when we can go to another one! It was definitely a success!" - Parent

Community sports clubs across Southwark delivered a variety of different activities including Tai Chi, seated Volleyball, fencing and Boccia. These activities created the opportunity for the participants to try sports that they may not otherwise have had access to. Surrey Cricket also attended and delivered fun games alongside some of the grantees of the SISPAN’s current Active Together Project funded by the London Sport Together Fund; And Fitness for All and Ballers Academy.

Events such as these are the focal point of inclusive sport and celebrate what’s on offer locally. SISPAN spoke to different participants and their families to find out what they enjoyed about the festival and as well as continuing to understand the challenges they face accessing sport in Southwark.

"Orla and I did have a great time! This session and the kind of engagement it provided was super for Orla, who loves being physical, but gets literally left behind or overwhelmed by other kinds when playing with her neurotypical peers. These sessions really allowed her to engage at her own pace!" – Parent

SISPAN recently did an audit of all the inclusive provision taking place and are now currently planning the next phase of their work. This includes hosting a networking event for providers so that they can better understand what the workforce requires to continue empowering D/deaf and disabled people as well as continuing to build and harness relationships with the social prescribers and health sector. Partnerships and co-creation are key to the work Access Sport delivers.

The Active Together festival hosted at London South Bank University was a great success in offering inclusive sporting opportunities to the local community giving children and young people the experience of trying new sports and activities in a supportive environment and brand-new sports facilities. We look forward to working together to deliver further pan-disability events and opportunities to the local community. - Safia Zerdazi, London South Bank University (LSBU)

You can see the different sports and happy faces at the event by clicking through the photo gallery below, or click here to visit the gallery to download an image:

 SISPAN Active Together Festival - February 2023

Thank you to London Sport, Southwark Council, LSBU, Disability Sports Coach and all the inclusive clubs and volunteers that took part.

To find out more about our work in the area visit our webpage:
Changing Places, London

[i] https://www.activityalliance.org.uk/how-we-help/research/annual-survey