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LCQ7: Provision of recreation and sports activities for people with disabilities

     Following is a question by the Hon Kenneth Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (October 22):


     Earlier on, a study report on "Sports for All: Participation of people with physical disabilities" pointed out that people with disabilities (PWDs) encountered various difficulties in using sports facilities provided by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and participating in sports activities organised by LCSD. Regarding the promotion of PWDs' participation in sports activities, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether the authorities organised any sports activities for PWDs on the Sport for All Day in the past three years; if they did, of the number of PWDs participating in such sports activities; if not, whether the authorities will consider organising such sports activities on the Sport for All Day;

(2) of the nature of and the number of participants in the sports activities organised by the authorities for PWDs in each of the past three years; whether the authorities have considered organising territory-wide sports competitions for PWDs with reference to the mode of the Hong Kong Games; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether LCSD currently provides ancillary equipment for PWDs, such as canoes suitable for use by people with physical disabilities, to assist them in participating in sports activities; if it does, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(4) whether LCSD has provided its full-time and part-time staff with training, information or guidelines on assisting PWDs in participating in sports activities; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(5) of the details of the existing barrier-free facilities provided for PWDs, including the visually impaired, the hearing impaired and the physically handicapped, in the various sports facilities managed by LCSD; whether the authorities will consider allocating additional resources to improve the barrier-free facilities in various sports facilities; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(6) whether the authorities will consider formulating specific policies and measures, as well as allocating additional resources to encourage more PWDs to participate in sports activities; if they will, of the details of the relevant work; if not, the reasons for that; and

(7) whether the authorities will consider reviewing the same operation and governance of national sports associations with a view to improving their work in the promotion and development of sports activities for PWDs; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1) The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has organised the "Sport for All" day every August since 2009 to encourage members of the public to take part in sport and physical activity. Most of LCSD's recreation and sports facilities are open for free use by members of the public on that day. People with disabilities can choose suitable facilities at which to exercise, according to their preferences. Furthermore, LCSD offers free recreation and sports programmes and educational activities for people of different ages and levels of physical ability at designated sports centres on that day, and most of these activities are suitable for people with disabilities. To mark the United Nations' International Day of Disabled Persons, LCSD organises an annual free-admission event in co-operation with the Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities and makes sports facilities available to people with disabilities and their minders free of charge on a designated day so as to encourage more people to take part in sport. On the day in question, people with disabilities can apply through rehabilitation or disability organisations to use the designated facilities in the sports centres, which include basketball and volleyball courts, badminton courts, activity rooms and table tennis tables. Last year, this event saw more than 1 700 people with disabilities and their minders use LCSD sports facilities free of charge. In addition, people with disabilities and one of their carers can use LCSD swimming facilities free of charge on "Free Ride Day".

(2) Each year, LCSD organises a wide variety of recreation and sports programmes for people with disabilities such as swimming, athletics, ball games, dancing and fitness training and carnivals. These programmes are mainly elementary training courses or "play-in" sessions. In the past three years, the numbers of participants in LCSD's community recreation and sports programmes for disabled people were: 65 949 in 2011-12, 69 591 in 2012-13 and 69 425 in 2013-14.

     At present, some disability organisations and "national sports associations" (NSAs) organise territory-wide competitions in individual sports for people with disabilities. Examples include: the Hong Kong Annual Athletics Championships for the Disabled; the Hong Kong Special Olympics Swimming Competition; and the Badminton Competition for the Deaf. LCSD provides NSAs for disabled athletes with a subvention under the Sports Subvention Scheme and offers them venue support to organise these events.

     The biennial Hong Kong Games (HKG) is a major multi-sport event with the 18 District Councils as participating units. Its objectives are to provide more opportunities for residents in the 18 districts to take part in sport, exchanges and co-operation, and to strengthen the public's sense of belonging to the district they live in. For the 5th HKG to be held in 2015, we will introduce a new event - the "Vitality Run" - that will be suitable for people of all levels of ability, including people with disabilities. This will be conducive to encouraging wider participation in the HKG.

(3) Each year, LCSD discusses with disability organisations the organisation of activities suiting the needs and interest of people with disabilities. These organisations include: the Hong Kong Sports Association of the Deaf; the Society for the Welfare of the Autistic Persons; the Hong Kong Physically Handicapped and Able-bodied Association; the Hong Kong Blind Union; the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association; and the Community Rehabilitation Network under the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation.
     LCSD and the disability organisations strive to provide the necessary ancillary facilities to facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in sports and recreational activities. For instance, some public swimming pools provide lifts designed to facilitate their access to the pools, as well as swimming aids specifically for the training of swimmers with disabilities. Ramps are provided at bowling greens to facilitate access by wheelchair users, and specialised fencing equipment is provided to disabled fencers.

(4) LCSD from time to time organises courses for its staff on the planning and provision of recreation and sports activities for people with disabilities to enhance staff members' understanding of their needs and help the staff acquire a better knowledge on how related sports activities should be organised. Courses previously provided for LCSD staff cover the organisation of activities for the chronically ill, people recovering from psychosis, the visually impaired and people with autism. LCSD also employs qualified instructors to provide appropriate training courses to its part-time staff.

     To ensure that consistent services are provided, LCSD has issued guidelines on the organisation of recreation and sports activities for people with disabilities. The guidelines set out in detail how activities jointly organised with disability organisations should be planned, arranged and implemented, and serve as a reference for staff involved in the implementation of activities. Moreover, a staff-to-participant ratio is set for these activities to ensure that adequate care is provided for people with disabilities.

(5) LCSD has always observed the Government's policy of providing barrier-free access and facilities. At present, all major sports facilities managed by LCSD, including 95 sports centres, 43 swimming pools, 25 sports grounds, 4 holiday camps, 5 water sports centres, and the Hong Kong and Mong Kok Stadiums provide barrier-free access and facilities.

     In addition, all LCSD leisure venues built after 2008 are in compliance with the requirements of the "Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 2008". As for leisure venues built before 2008, LCSD has arranged improvement works in the form of renovation or alterations insofar as the geographical environment, architectural conditions, technologies and resources permit. Examples of improvement works include the installation of facilities for barrier-free access, and the provision of facilities such as tactile guide paths, Braille signage, and Braille and tactile maps for the convenience of the visually impaired.

(6) In 2014-15, LCSD plans to spend about $160 million on organising over 38 000 community recreation and sports programmes for people of all ages and different levels of ability. The programmes are open to the public, and people with disabilities may choose to enrol in those programmes that they consider suitable based on their interest, level of ability and the programme requirements. In addition, LCSD organises some 1 300 free recreation and sports programmes in the districts each year specifically for people with disabilities. These include swimming, athletics, ball games, dancing and fitness training courses and carnivals. LCSD also assigns coaches to provide outreach services at centres for the physically handicapped. People with disabilities are taught the knowledge and skills for various physical activities.

     People with disabilities currently enjoy concessionary rates at all times when hiring LCSD's recreation and sports facilities or enrolling in its fee-charging programmes. The same concessions also apply to one carer for each disabled patron.

     In the past year, the amount of subvention that the Government has provided to NSAs for disabled athletes through various channels has increased by nearly 15 per cent. We will continue to liaise and communicate with the NSAs to further encourage and support the participation of people with disabilities in sporting activities.

(7) LCSD provides an annual subvention under the Sports Subvention Scheme to NSAs, including those which promote sports development for disabled athletes, to promote and develop local sport. Subvented activities include international competitions held overseas and locally, national squad training, development schemes and training for officials. Each year, LCSD invites the NSAs, including those for people with disabilities to submit annual plans, and reviews the effectiveness of programmes organised in the previous year as well as the targets achieved so as to help NSAs formulate future programme plans and to promote efficient operation and governance.  

     LCSD completed a comprehensive review of the Sports Subvention Scheme in 2010, and since April 2011 has implemented a number of improvement measures to enhance the monitoring of the use of sports subvention and the internal governance of NSAs. The key measures include strengthening NSAs' manpower and enhancing their internal controls and accounting capabilities; streamlining reporting requirements and increasing flexibility in the use of the subvention; developing a computer system to assist NSAs in the management of information on subvented activities and the timely submission of reports; conducting mid-year reviews of NSAs' performance and compliance with subvention requirements to facilitate improvement; formulating guidelines and organising workshops to help NSAs to implement best practices in governance and internal controls.

     At present, the promotion and development of sport for people with disabilities are primarily undertaken by the relevant bodies (including NSAs for disabled athletes and organisations for people with disabilities), which conduct their business in compliance with the requirements laid down by the International Paralympic Committee and other relevant international federations. We will continue to work closely with the relevant organisations to promote and develop sport for people with disabilities more effectively.

Ends/Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:55


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