Tips for Clubs

In our Accessible Activities campaign we are encouraging clubs to consider if they can improve their accessibility so more of the 13,000 disabled people in Guernsey can take part. This sheet offers some guidance and links to hints and tips locally and further afield.

An accessible and inclusive sports club can sometimes require a few physical adjustments to the building, or an update on coaching techniques but more often than not only a handful of small adaptations need to be made to ensure your club is inclusive to disabled people here in Guernsey. The largest barrier to inclusion is personal attitudes, if you club is open, welcoming and flexible that is a large step towards accessibility.  Regular forward planning and continuing commitment can ensure your club is accessible to everyone regardless of their ability.

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Why is it important to make your club inclusive to disabled people?

Sport is something which can, and should, be enjoyed by everyone – regardless of race, gender, age, sexual-orientation or disability. Many clubs here in Guernsey are looking for ways to increase membership and participation. Being inclusive may not necessarily mean running fully inclusive sessions for all members to attend – it may just require you to tailor some sessions or introducing bespoke sessions to suit the participant’s ability. You can include disabled people in many different ways. In Guernsey there are over 13,000 people with a disability, the diversity of disabilities means that any adjustment could be minimal or require a little more planning.

How accessible is your club?

Put yourself in the shoes of a disabled person who wants to join your club:

  • Is it easy to join your club?
  • Is it easy to find out about your club?
  • Is your signage easy to read?
  • Are their coaches available and willing to welcome new members personally and tell them everything they need to know about their club?
  • Are existing members and staff friendly and open to new members?
  • Do existing members and staff offer advice and support?
  • Do you have an induction for new members?
  • Does your club have a buddy system for new members?

What stops disabled people from taking part in sport?

There are many barriers which prevent disabled people from participating in sport. These can be broken down into three main types: psychological, physical and logistical barriers.

Psychological barriers

Psychological barriers are the views and opinions of disabled and non-disabled people which stop disabled people joining in with sport or physical activities. Out of the three barrier types, psychological barriers are recognised as playing the biggest role in preventing disabled people from taking part in sport.

Disabled people may suffer from personal perceptions which make them feel that they either can’t or don’t want to take part in sport. This may be because they’ve had a negative past experience in the past and are hesitant to take the risk of playing sport again. If your club is welcoming, supportive and you offer a positive first experience, this can help break down this barrier. The perceptions of others also play a role in creating psychological barriers. For example, if you are unable to advise a disabled person when they are enquiring about the club about the opportunities available, they will instantly feel unwelcome or uncatered for, even if this isn’t the case.

Physical barriers

A lack of suitable facilities and equipment can prevent disabled people from participating in sport. This can be a challenge for clubs, as equipment may be expensive or viewed as being in low demand. We would like to think that you would be able to attract more participants if you have the right equipment in place. For local advice on access check out Hints and Tips

Logistical barriers

Logistical barriers include the geographical location of a sports club, the expense involved to travel to the venue, the ability to involve carers or supporters, the communication of opportunities and whether activities are suitable or not.

Things to consider

Parking and transport

Many disabled people need to plan their journeys in advance and in more detail to ensure they are able to reach their destinations in good time. The proximity of public transport links, availability of accessible buses and taxis, setting down points and parking can be critical components in ensuring they can arrive and return safely and easily.

Getting about outside

It is vital that disabled people can identify and reach their intended destination independently and without risk, this means considering the overall accessibility of your external paths, walkways and seating areas that feature around your training venue.

Information and communication

Good signage and assistive technology can ensure information is communicated effectively to disabled people. Consider the text font you use in your promotional material, are your signs universally recognisable? If you are catering for participants with hard of hearing is a hearing loop installed/available? Access for All Guernsey has more information on this in their Hints & Tips section

Come on in

Providing access to buildings such as the club house, changing rooms or café areas enable disabled people to participate fully in sport and the social aspects of being a club member.

Tell everyone and celebrate your successes

A lot of clubs don’t always want to self publicise their success. Perhaps you don’t see it as the right thing to do – to blow your own trumpet, so to speak? Or it simply may not have crossed your mind. But your success can really help someone else and perhaps cut the time down to make more clubs accessible in Guernsey. There are a lot of ways to promote and share your great work. These could include the following:

  1. a) Give members and non-members access to information through your website, leaflets, posters, social media and other marketing material. Make it available in alternativeformats and ensure you provide lots of different ways to contact you.
  2. b) Promote the changes and improvements you have made.
  3. c) Keep the changes up. Monitor and continually improve adaptati

Join us in celebrating events such as Disabled Access Day 10th March 2017 or International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3rd December 2017

We have used, and adapted, the English Federation Of Disability Sport’s Access for All: Opening Doors (2015) document to provide guidance on how you can ensure your club is accessible to disabled people here in Guernsey.