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New funding to promote physical activity amongst Disabled people

Thursday 12th September 2019

Thousands of people working across health, social care and sport will be trained to support Disabled people to become more physically active.

Disability Rights UK has secured £604,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to continue its work increasing the participation of Disabled people in exercise, physical activity and sport. Over the next three years the funding will:

  • Increase the skills and knowledge around physical activity of the health and social care workforce and put in place new approaches to tackling inactivity
  • Enable Disabled People’s User Led Organisations to work with the sport sector to create approaches and practices that improve provision for Disabled people
  • Build the capacity of user led organisations to support local Disabled people to take part in physical activity.

In addition to increasing the skills and knowledge of the social care and health sectors, Disability Rights UK is partnering with Sense in adapting physical activity guidelines for support staff. This work will enable us to gather insight to help evaluate the benefits of physical activity and sport for people with complex disabilities.

The latest funding announcement follows four years’ work by the Get Yourself Active (GYA) programme, which was led by DR UK and funded by Sport England. It tested out new approaches and training for social workers and those working in the sports sector – with the active involvement of organisations led by Disabled people.

The evaluation confirmed that nearly 3,100 people – including nearly 900 holders of personal budgets – became more active as a result.

The local coordinators helped to increase physical activity levels among Disabled people, and the proportion of respondents who undertook physical activity at least once a week or more increased from 28% at the start of the programme, to 68% six months into the programme. The evidence also indicated that getting active had helped to improve people’s mental wellbeing and contributed to reduced use of some statutory services.

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK said:

“We are thrilled that Sport England has extended funding for the programme. If we put the right approaches in place and educate the right people then we can ensure Disabled people have the tools and knowledge to be physically active in the way that is right for them.

“We will build on our learning from the previous four years of the GYA programme and capture the energy we know is out there amongst health and social care staff and the sports sector – as well as amongst Disabled people themselves.”

The programme trains health and social care professionals in delivering messages to Disabled people and demonstrates to gyms, sports clubs and other physical activity organisations how they can co-produce innovative activity for Disabled people.

Leanne Wightman, Project Manager of GYA said:

“What is really important is that through the user led groups Disabled people themselves have a real voice in shaping the services and activities that they are most likely to use and benefit from.”

Adam Blaze, Strategic Lead, Sport England, said:

“We’re really pleased to continue our work with Disability Rights UK and announce today’s investment of National Lottery funding to help more people get active. We know that Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive compared with non-Disabled people, and this is often due to a lack of opportunity or knowledge about what is available. The last four years of GYA have created opportunities for over 3,000 Disabled people to be physically active and trained 185 social workers on the benefits of physical activity and how to support people to use their personal budgets to get active.

“The next phase of the project will create long lasting change by continuing to support Disabled people to be more physically active and linking up and supporting key enablers in Disabled people’s lives; the sports and physical activity sector, Disabled People’s User Led Organisations and the health and social care sector, to upskill and embed inclusive practice through training and co-production.”

In other news: Take a look at our animation to see how you could get active