Panathlon continues to break participation records, as latest figures reveal the number of young people involved in our programme grew by more than a third last year.
A total of 7,426 disabled young people took part in Panathlon competitions or coaching days in the 2014/15 academic year – an increase of 38% on the previous 12 months.
Panathlon held a record 115 competitions in 2014/15 (up 37%) involving 450 schools, with 77 coaching days (up 64%) contributing to a massive 51,080 active hours of sport for disabled young people – an increase of 45%.
A total of 1,350 students across the country qualified as Panathlon young officials last year (up 35%), meaning a grand total of 8,776 young people benefitted from their involvement in Panathlon throughout the year – an increase of 38%.
Panathlon ambassador and Paralympic champion Liz Johnson said: “It’s fantastic to see Panathlon continue to go from strength to strength, as confirmed by these latest participation figures.
“This latest increase reflects the success of recent additions to Panathlon, including our popular swimming programme and the successful Primary Panathlon, which has taken off since launching two years ago.”
“The boost in numbers is fantastic,” added Liz, “particularly when you remember that every single one of those numbers is a young person with a disability who gets the opportunity to take part in competitive sport, which is what makes Panathlon so appealing.
“Without Panathlon, many of these children would otherwise have no access to competitive sport at all. Having that opportunity is so important for any child and Panathlon make it happen. It’s easy to see why the charity is going from strength to strength and demand is increasing across the country.”
Panathlon reached 27 counties and all 32 London boroughs last year – investing more than £450,000 in competitions, sports equipment and coaching – and continues to grow, with plans to involve 30 counties by 2017 and be truly nationwide by 2020.
After Sport England revealed in March that fewer disabled adults are taking part in regular sport, the huge increase in the number of young people getting involved in Panathlon provides some positive news for the future of disability sport.
“It’s very welcome news and it’s still only the start for Panathlon,” said Liz. “At a time when the government are consulting on their new sports strategy and the future of sports funding, Panathlon has proved yet again that, when it comes to getting young disabled people involved in competitive sport, it delivers time after time.”