For the first time, access to sport for disabled people is at the heart of Sport England’s £1 billion youth and community sports strategy. UK Sport recently announced more than £70 million of funding for our elite Paralympic athletes, which is 43% more than the investment they received for London 2012. Last month alone, we invested more than £10 million in 44 community sports projects for people with disabilities.
Voluntary sports groups in my constituency have worked for a number of years with local special schools to provide coaching for disabled children. They are now working with sports colleges, developers and councillors to create a new sports park to increase and improve access for all. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is excellent work and will she commend those groups? Can her Department help us to make the dream a reality?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Such innovative working can make a real difference for disabled children, and help disabled adults get access to sporting facilities. I want the Department to do everything it can to support such work, and I point my hon. Friend towards the funding that the Government have already made available for such community sport projects, which I hope will help him.
It was great to see so many Paralympians recognised in the new year’s honours list, but does the Secretary of State share my disappointment that disabled sportsmen and women appear to have to do so much more than others to achieve similar recognition?
I hope the hon. Gentleman will recognise that this time around there has been much more recognition for our Paralympic athletes, and rightly so. We must continue to strive to do even better, but I hope he will agree with me that the sort of investment that the Government are putting into Paralympic sports will ensure that Paralympic athletes have better support in the future to achieve their very best.