We’ve been out on the road delivering the Xccesible leisure centre training course over the past few weeks.
CARA and our partners on the Training and Education Working group are passionate that people with disabilities get every opportunity to participate in sports, recreation and physical activity. The Working Group developed the Xcessible training to ensure that people with disabilities get equal opportunities to participant in leisure centres.
We understand that these are tough times for leisure centres and we continue to get asked the same question “Why should we take the time and money to improve our centre accessibility and facilities for people with disabilities in a recession?”
These 5 reasons show the potential of the disability market – and how to take advantage of this untapped market.
1. The size of the market
An estimated 750,000 people in Ireland have a disability, or mental health needs, amounting to 18.5% of the population. The spending power of people with disabilities in Ireland is €3.3 billion (PLEASE NOTE: high costs have been flagged as barrier to participation by people with disabilities) People with disabilities are the single largest untapped market in Ireland. Can your centre afford to turn their back on this market?
2. The ageing population
As mortality rates decline, there has been a massive demographic shift in the population in Ireland. There are more people than ever over the retirement age with time for recreational activities and they have high spending power!
3. Become a market leader in the inclusive leisure sector
There is a misunderstanding that ‘Accessible Leisure’ means better wheelchair access, but there is also many other kinds of disabilities which can be cheap and simple to cater for (e.g Spinning class for people with a visual impairment or Boccia for people with a intellectual disability).If you’re the first centre in your area to have these better facilities or programmes, this is a unique niche market for your centre!
4. The customer loyalty
Surveys have shown that people with disabilities are a very loyal consumer group – they’re more likely than average to return to the same activity if they have a good customer experience and no accessibility issues.
If more centres could see the potential behind this and provide a first class experience for people with disabilities, think of the growth in business and repeat customers that you could receive!
5. Positive Attitude
As mentioned in point three making your centre more inclusive need not cost you, a recent survey for the (U.K.) Disability Rights Commission 41% of disabled people valued a positive attitude above value for money. A positive attitude by staff can make all the difference. So to go back to the start, the “Xcessible” leisure centre training will help ensure your staff are trained up to ensure an inclusive environment for people with disabilities from the carpark and throughout the centre!
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