Get yourself active blog

Meeting New Role Models – My Time with Get Yourself Active

By Emily Yates

Emily-joining-in-with-the-football-sessionHaving volunteered at the London 2012 Games, and consulted for access and inclusion for the Rio 2016 metro systems, I’ve now got quite a good handle on major sporting events and how they work, especially for athletes, staff and spectators with disabilities. It’s incredible that so many determined, talented and flipping hard-working individuals can come together from across the globe and create something that not only gains medals, but wins over hearts and, most importantly, changes minds, attitudes and outlooks.

What I slowly came to realise, though, is that competing on the world’s stage is not possible for everyone, disabled or not. It then went deeper than that: without the correct information, funding and support from those in the health, social care and sporting sectors, many people with disabilities were finding it tough to get active at all. Sport is great for keeping fit and healthy, but it also has so many social benefits, as well as being one of the best things to promote confidence and self-esteem. Many of the people I met whilst filming were not getting that mind, body and soul fuel before the likes of Get Yourself ActiveCCIL and Scope in Chester worked their magic. And what a difference it has made – see for yourselves in the films!

Melyssa, Ben and all the guys at Scope Chester were great to work with, and their passion for the sports and activities they love will hopefully rub off on all that watch the videos, as it has with me. I met some true local role models, and hope that this fantastic initiative will create many more, all striving towards their personal best with their personal budgets. Let’s all get active and help each other, regardless of where it may lead.

Emily is the presenter in our latest films which follow different people getting active in a way that is right for them! You can find out more about Emily by visiting her website or following her on twitter @emilyryates


Getting active…the way you want

By Liz Sayce

Disability Rights UK, Lloyds Reception at the Houses of Parliament. 15th October 2012.

I’ve always found a short jog better than benzodiazepines (minor tranquillizers) for anxiety. Not everyone’s the same, but for me stress melts away with the rhythm of each step, the physical buzz, the relaxation that comes with a bit of gentle exercise. Right now I’m excited to be preparing to run (well, jog slowly) at Parallel London – where I’ll be jogging alongside people who are wheelchair racing, walking and otherwise covering the distance (which is anything from 100 metres to 10 kilometres). It’s inclusion in practice.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could easily get active, in any way they wanted? People are very different in what they do want. My sister in law thrives on swimming all year, even when it means breaking the ice, which to me sounds like torture (in fact when the world cold swimming championships happened in Tooting Lido, some participants complained the water was too warm because it was marginally above 0 degrees centigrade). Other people want to play softball, climb mountains or do a myriad of other things.  Which is why we need a personal approach to enabling everyone living with impairments or health conditions to get active. It’s no good promoting outdoor swimming to me or mountain climbing to the person who wants to try softball.

This is why the Get Yourself Active programme is so important. It starts with what people want to get involved with – and makes getting active just one part of planning the support you want, to have a good life. It enables people to use a personal budget for any support you require to do the things you want to do, including physical activity. And it works to break down any barriers in the way. So in principle the sky should be limit in what people can choose to do.

Earlier attempts to engage disabled people to get active have not always been personal in this way. Particular sports have promoted what they offer – but that’s no good if sky-diving (say) isn’t your thing. Others have scouted for new talent for future Paralympics – but most people will no more be Paralympians than any non-disabled member of the British public will be an Olympian. And while health promotion campaigns are vital – and often great – there is still a risk that they can come across as telling you about the exercise you should be taking, rather than making it easier to do the exercise you want to have a go at.

So Get Yourself Active is important. It is testing out how a much more personal approach may encourage people to try getting active on their own terms. Disability Rights UK will share the learning far and wide. You can start by watching the latest in our series of films which follow different people, getting active in a way that is right for them.

Oh and if anyone would like to sponsor me, I am planning (rather optimistically) to jog 10 kilometres at Parallel London in September – see

Interested in taking part in the Parallel London event at the Olympic Park on 6th September? Find out more here.

See the new Get Yourself Active films showing how people are getting active…in the way they want!

Get Yourself Active Launches series of films about people getting active in their own way

Emily-chatting-about-why-it's-good-to-get-active!!We are very proud to share our brand new series of films following disabled people who are getting active in a way that is right for them… and owning it! We follow a group of individuals supported by Tom from Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) who works to connect people up with activities and influence the support planning and personal budget process locally.

The Get Yourself Active project is all about building partnerships across health, social care and sports sectors led by Disabled Peoples User Led Organisations and we think the films show the great outcomes that can be achieved when these partners come together.

We had a great bunch of people involved in making the films;

Emily Yates, accessibility consultant and travel writer presents the films for us and gets involved in some of the activities. We are really pleased that Emily could be involved in making the films and talking us through the experiences of the active people we are following. Follow Emily @EmilyRYates

Tom Bell, CCIL GYA coordinator encouraged our active stars to get involved in the films and has done some excellent work linking people up with appropriate activities and influencing personal budget and support planning processes. Follow CCIL on twitter @cheshirecil

Melyssa, our star rock climber and her PA Clare show how personal assistants can and should be an important part of getting people active. Becky from The Boardroom was a great coach and her passion for rock climbing rubbed off on us all. Follow The Boardroom @BoardroomClimb

Ben and his personal trainer Kelly from David Lloyd Gym show that if there is the right support and encouragement to get active people feel more confident in themselves and feel that they have the freedom to make their own choices. Excellent gym moves Ben!

The guys at Scope Chester playing football with Wendy from Cheshire FA were willing to give it a go even though some of the group didn’t feel confident. It is great to see how working with the guys in a truly inclusive way, opened opportunities for involvement and inspired more people to get involved.

And finally, our friends at Fuzzy Duck did a great job of putting together an amazing film about people getting active and having the freedom, choice and control to really get something out of it. We really appreciate the work that Fuzzy Duck put into getting our stories across – THANK YOU. Follow the ducks @fuzzyduckcreate

Please share these great films with anyone you think might be interested!!

New campaign encourages more disabled people to be active

TWW Master_logo_FINALA new national campaign has launched today to encourage and support disabled people, along with their friends and families, to become more active.

The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.

Results show that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. As one in five people in England have an impairment or long-term health condition, disabled people are a large proportion of everyone’s community. However, research highlights often disabled people do not find the opportunities accessible or appealing enough, or do not know where to go to find the right information.

Other insight shows that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active and do not necessarily take part with just other disabled people. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.

Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport to deliver the campaign, with backing from Sport England.

The Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active.

These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.

Well-known actor, Will Mellor, is one of those championing the three-month campaign. He is extremely passionate about ensuring more opportunities exist for disabled people. With lived experience of disabled people in his family, Will wants to help make a difference and spread the Together We Will message. He is joining in the campaign by raising awareness of the opportunities and organisations that can support disabled people to be more active.

The eight NDSOs are British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.

Each NDSO plays a valuable role in providing accessible opportunities and support for disabled people. The Together We Will campaign will help direct disabled people, their friends, family and supporters, to the recognised NDSOs for more guidance and information about being active.

Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:

“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which helps to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.

“My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:

“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.

“That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.

“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”

The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.

Activity organisers and providers can be involved in Together We Will.  Encourage disabled people to take part in your events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill.

For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page

Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.

We are using Word-Bank

img4Word-Bank helps you to get the most out of the information on the Get Yourself Active website. Word-Bank highlights words which might sometimes be hard to understand and explains what they mean. We are using Word-Bank because we think it is important that people using the website have as much understanding as possible of the information we are providing.

So how do you use it? All you have to do is click the little black arrow to the left of the screen and turn Word-Bank on or off. When it is turned on you should see that some words are highlighted and underlined. When you click on these words you should get either a short explanation, often with a picture.

Who has developed Word-Bank? Enabled City is a specialist technology provider and work to make it easier for disabled people to access technology online and in the outside world.

We hope you enjoy using it!

If you want to know more about Word-Bank please visit Enabled City and follow them on twitter @enabledcity

English Federation of Disability Sport website goes live!


EFDS High_res_white_borderThe English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is proud to reveal a brand new website which will assist disabled people in finding contacts and support on how to be more active.

Sarah Marl, Marketing and Communications Manager at EFDS, who looked after the project, said:

“Over the last year we have worked hard to design and deliver this fantastic new site. As our most important information source, we wanted to lead by example in many areas. We embraced the chance to review and refresh the wealth of support we offer on this digital platform.

“We hope you enjoy the new site, find the right support and opportunities. We also welcome providers to use our site to promote their own activities and resources.”

Take a look around the website HERE

See the Me, Being Active films here