INCLUSION and diversity are frequently used words these days, but while they are easy to say, they are not always easy to put into practice. That’s not a criticism, it’s more a reality and can come from lack of awareness and knowledge. But that’s not to say things aren’t changing and we have moved on a lot from when I started out my career in sports administration.

One of the good news stories that caught my eye was the opening of a gym in Straiton, Midlothian, which focuses on people living with disabilities or long-term health conditions. Sitting outside what is termed as “mainstream” can be a lonely place, not just for an individual but for their families, who can sometimes feel lost trying to find suitable interests that can accommodate their loved ones.

Will Perry, who swam for ParalympicsGB in the S6 100m freestyle at Tokyo 2020, highlighted just how difficult day-to-day life can be. He told how people laugh and stare at him in the street and take his picture without his permission.

Will has dwarfism, which affects around 7000 people in the UK. I can’t begin to imagine the upset this kind of behaviour causes, or what pleasure the perpetrators get out of these senseless actions.

We have some amazing Paralympians in Scotland, Maria Lyle and Kayleigh Haggo to name but two, but we need more coverage of the opportunities available to disabled people and also to highlight and create strong visible role models.

Last year, for the first time, Scottish Women in Sport presented a separate para-athlete award which was won by the amazing Aileen McGlynn.

Scottish Disability Sport does an amazing array of work, not just with elite athletes but for those who want to make friends, have fun and get a little fitter.

I had the pleasure of working with them last year, on the promotion of boccia for the Scottish Women and Girls Sport Week and I met several young women who were wheelchair users. All of them had a great day and were looking to sign up on a regular basis.