By Leanne Wightman
It is one month since we launched our new Sport England funded Get Yourself Active project and as well as feeling a huge sense of relief that the event went smoothly with no glitches, I felt a little sad when it was all over. However, the launch event was not just about having a nice lunch and telling people WE’RE HERE. It was a chance for us to tell Get Yourself Active friends (stakeholders sounds so formal!) what we need from them to make this project work. So although the launch is over, there is still a real buzz and we intend to sustain this excitement throughout the project.
What I found so encouraging was simply how many people turned up when they said they would. This says to me that there is a real sense of excitement about the project across health, social care and sport. The launch was a rare opportunity for people from such a wide range of professional backgrounds and disciplines to think about and talk through how we improve disabled people’s health, wellbeing and independence through physical activity and sport. It was even rarer to be having this discussion in the context of personalisation, the Care Act and the NHS vision for community based services as espoused in the Five Year Forward View.
We had some inspiring presentations from our partners and ‘friends’, these can be found on our the film section of the website – please take a look. Then over to our discussion groups who put the world to rights and made many useful comments and suggestions about what is needed to make this project a success…
Someone suggested that we need to promote meaningful involvement of disabled people if Get Yourself Active is to be a success;
‘Disabled people need to be upskilled to know how to navigate through the process and be provided with the required information in the right way.’
If more disabled people are involved in providing these services we will have a better chance of good quality service design. We had a great response from friends in the sport sector too;
‘Sport providers will jump all over this – they’ve been waiting to find out how they can link in with people on PBs.’
We were also interested in identifying the many challenges we face including tight local authority budgets, the infancy of such an approach in health and a lack of confidence from sports providers to engage with disabled people meaningfully. So it is clear there is lots to do which means it is vital that friends of the project help us to achieve our outcomes.
It is important to remember why we are delivering this project, getting people on board is a means to an end. Get Yourself Active is about better physical activity and sport options for people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health issues, sensory impairments those with Autism and older people, that’s what we are passionate about.