In 2020, Disability Rights UK (DR UK) was selected by Sport England as a Tackling Inequalities Fund (TIF) delivery partner. The fund was set up to help reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on the activity levels of Disabled people. This report created by Traverse, highlights the successes of the TIF funding to date, and outlines the clear next steps for the new phase of funding.
Between August 2020 and March 2021, the Get Yourself Active team at Disability Rights UK has been able to award a total of 36 grants. So far, 14 of the projects have completed their activities. These exciting activities have directly and indirectly supported 1368 people through fitness and yoga, dance and performance-based activities, peer mentoring and buddying support, and sport.
Traverse’s evaluation has made it clear that taking part in these TIF-funded activities has had a range of mental wellbeing benefits for participants, such as reduced isolation, and improved confidence and mood. Projects also reported improvements in participants’ physical wellbeing (e.g. strength, mobility, fitness) which is, of course, great news.
Participants were able to see these improvements because the projects were designed to provide accessible opportunities to be active and to improve people’s knowledge of why and how to be active. We know that these barriers are those which often limit the benefits that many access from sport and physical activity.
Co-production continued to be a priority throughout, for the Get Yourself Active team, meaning activities should be needs-led, engaging and inclusive. Of course, co-production was more difficult during the pandemic due to social, environmental and technical challenges but that didn’t mean it wasn’t as important or rewarding for those involved.
Throughout this stage of the TIF project, digital delivery mechanisms (such as Zoom, Teams and other digital platforms) have opened physical activity to new audiences, but it was important for online activity sessions to still take into account Disabled people’s needs and the barriers they face. As we go forward, the lessons learned during this stage will prove invaluable in designing projects that work for everyone involved.
Overall, TIF has provided vital breathing space for the organisations we have worked with. While there is evidence of sustainable elements within some projects, most require further funding to sustain or embed their activities and this will become our next focus.
It is clear to us that the next phase of TIF presents clear opportunities to explore physical activity types in more depth, capture lessons learned about digital co-production, and provide partners with more strategic support around partnership building and sustainability planning. We are very excited to continue this amazing and important work. Stayed tuned!
You can read the full report here.