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Elliot’s story

Elliot explains the importance of supporting grassroots projects through the Together Fund in this story.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why do we need to fund grassroots organisations via the Together Fund?

At Get Yourself Active, we work alongside Disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to lead change in the social care, health, and sport sectors. We do this to improve health and well-being outcomes for Disabled people and help them get active in a way that is right for them.

Disabled people and people with long term health conditions are among the most inactive groups in society. We know that more needs to be done to understand the barriers to physical activity that Disabled people face and how best to overcome them.

Supporting the grassroots

In July 2020, we became involved with the Together Fund (TF) from Sport England when Disability Rights UK became one of the fund’s delivery partners.

The fund aims to reduce the negative impact of Covid-19 and any widening of inequalities in participation rates in sport and physical activity.

Data from the Sport England commissioned “Physical Activity attitudes and behaviours” survey during Covid-19 shows widening gaps in activity levels across certain communities: people from Lower Socio-Economic Groups; Culturally Diverse Communities; Disabled People, and People with Long-Term Health Conditions.

Disability Rights UK already had many connections with user-led organisations (ULOs) across the country that they could reach out to about the fund. We also felt it was important to contact small community-based groups that we knew would also be providing vital support during the pandemic.

To help us achieve this, we partnered with Community Catalysts. They support communities across the country to use their talents to start and run small enterprises and community businesses that support and care for other local people. Community Catalysts connected us with several small community organisations that we hadn’t worked with before. A dozen went on to become TF partners of ours.

It’s important to fund smaller grassroots organisations through the Together Fund to ensure we are helping to support communities at all levels. We know the importance of these groups to many people’s well-being.

Working with grassroots organisations also allows us to gain further insight into some barriers Disabled people face within their local communities. As well as the difficulties that smaller organisations can experience, which can often differ from some of the barriers found within larger organisations.

Examples include problems recruiting and keeping volunteers or not hearing about national funding opportunities. In addition, grassroots organisations often don’t get the chance to have their voice heard at a national level and help influence policy changes.

Giving Disabled people a voice

By working with smaller grassroots organisations, Disability Rights UK gives them an opportunity for their voice to be heard.

For example, we facilitate quarterly informal get-togethers for the small grassroots organisations we fund via the Together Fund. They have a forum to discuss some of their issues and support each other with solutions.

The Together Fund has provided the GYA programme with an amazing opportunity to partner with several grassroots organisations to help influence the sector in many ways. We are excited to continue to work with our current/partner with new organisations in the future as we continue to deliver the fund.

Next Steps

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