SIR Philip Craven has praised a Bolton project that gives disabled youngsters access to sport.
The former Bolton School old boy and president of the International Paralympic Committee was speaking before a House of Commons reception to champion sport to help beat the isolation of young people with disabilities.
And a scheme run by the Bolton Lads and Girls Club, along with youth clubs across the region, is being highlighted as something the rest of the country should aspire to.
The A-Level Playing Field project, from OnSide Youth Zones and Seashell Trust, gives young disabled people the chance to take part in sport and play with their non-disabled peers.
Disability charity Scope, in a survey with parenting website Mumsnet, found six in 10 families thought their disabled children did not have fair access to leisure activities.
Every child, whatever their ability, is able to take part in every activity — from football to climbing — offered at OnSide’s network of Youth Zones, including BLGC, and youth clubs in Manchester, Oldham, Wigan, Carlisle and Blackburn.
Sir Philip said: “A-Level Playing Field explains in many ways that each individual is a member of one world no matter what make-up they may have. Everyone should have the right to feel the thrill of playing a sport and having fun.
“It doesn’t matter whether an individual may possess a perceived impairment or not, sport is for all in the true sense of those words. By giving all young people the opportunity to enjoy sport together, rather than apart, and to excel, this project leads the way in redefining Sport For All for the 21st century.”
Young people from Youth Zones and their families will be attending the reception, which hopes to push the scheme, in Parliament, on Monday. Among the guests will be Blackburn MP Jack Straw, sports broadcaster John Inverdale, Baroness Grey-Thompson and Paralympian and TV sports presenter Rachael Latham.