Who Says?

Active Essex

For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. We are proud to be supporting Activity Alliance in moving the conversations on, opening people’s minds and shifting out-dated views on disability. Who says it’s not a real sport if you have to adapt it?

Who says disabled people aren’t competitive?

First launched in summer 2019, phase one of Who says? gave people the positive stories, resources, and guidance to replace negativity. As of March 7th the exciting campaign is back for phase two – focusing on changing attitudes towards disabled children and young people in sport and activity.

Progressing inclusive sport has been at the centre of Active Essex’s Essex All Together campaign, since it’s conception in 2017. Despite 70% of those living with a disability or long-term health condition wanting to be more active, there is still a big gap between making it a reality. We’re pleased to be growing a community of more than 35 incredible ambassadors who believe that can change, and they’re out and about in the local community challenging perceptions and inspiring others to find a sport that suits them.

Last week our team had the chance to speak to international athlete and Essex All Together Ambassador, Freya Levy, at a Wheelchair Basketball training session. She said: “Sport is so powerful for me, it’s enabled me to keep my childhood dream, I wanted to play rugby for England, and I’ve managed to tick that off” […] “The best piece of advice I could give is just go out and do it – who says we don’t want to be active? Who says we don’t want to be competitive – just go out and I promise it will change your life, not just physically but mentally.”

We also had the pleasure of attending an Inclusive School Games session in South Essex last week, where children were getting stuck in with curling competitions. Gillian Newlyn, School Games Organiser, said: “Who says PE can’t be inclusive in schools. We really enjoy bringing our children to events like today, being able to bring children who sometimes do like to get involved in PE, to be able to come along and feel like as confident, and just as important as everyone else.”

In keeping with the focus of children and young people, the new Who says? films explore four negative perceptions that can impact a disabled child’s opportunities to be active. Each film provides upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled children and adults.

These insights are:

Join us in sharing the films, adding your own voice using the hashtag #WhoSays! Let’s call time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion, and sport, and ask – Who says?