Get yourself active blog

Sport for Confidence programme recognised for success in NHS strategy

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Sport For Confidence, a pioneering initiative, which sees an Occupational Therapist based in a leisure centre to support people with learning disabilities to participate in mainstream sporting activities, has been recognised in the ‘Allied Health Professionals Into Action‘ Strategy document published by NHS England.


This unique partnership between healthcare professionals, leisure centres and local sports clubs sees Occupational Therapists (OT) working directly with sports coaches and staff, to make adjustments that create truly accessible sport and leisure opportunities.

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (CAHPO) for England, says:

“Allied Health professionals into Action demonstrates a shared commitment to make greater use of the full range of allied health professionals in all aspects of service delivery to promote the adoption of new ways of working across the health and care system and to improve patient care.”

The new guidance provides a blueprint for Clinical Commissioning Groups, provider organisations, health leaders and local authorities to fully involve AHPs in transformation programmes and the delivery of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. It offers 53 examples of AHPs working to drive and support change by working innovatively. Sport for Confidence is included as a case study which demonstrates the significant cost saving to the NHS by investing in its programme of preventative care rather than treating long term sickness and incapacity to work.

Working closely with Community Teams, including day centres and care homes, and other AHPs including physiotherapists and Community Learning Disabilities Teams, Sport For Confidence runs a range of sports and physical activity sessions via leisure centres across Essex, attracting more than 500 participants per month, both with and without learning disabilities. Sports on offer include trampolining, boccia, cricket, fencing, multi-sports and New Age Kurling. All sessions are paid for by the individuals and the programme is supported by a £100,000 funding grant from Public Health Essex.

Speaking about the inclusion in the NHS Strategy document, Lyndsey Barrett, a senior occupational therapist and founder and leader of Sport for Confidence, says:

“Our ambition is to place an occupational therapist (OT) in every leisure centre in the country. Financial evaluations have proved that this method of preventative health care can save the NHS up to £765 per individual across a 20-session period.* This is significant when multiples are applied. Involving just 1,500 participants in our programme could save the NHS more than £1,000,000.

The Strategy places an emphasis on the value of preventative health care. Steve Ward, Executive Director at ukactive, adds:

“Sport For Confidence is a fantastic example of how leisure operators, specialist enterprises, the health sector and local authorities can work together to achieve central and local Government physical activity and health objectives. Preventative health care needs to be at the forefront of our NHS Strategy and the Allied Health Professionals into Action report demonstrates exactly how this could work, providing a multitude of case studies and collaboration examples.”

Through partnerships with Everyone Active, Fusion Lifestyle and Essex County Council, Sport For Confidence is offering regular sessions at 7 leisure facilities across Essex. Basildon Sporting Village, managed by Everyone Active, was the first centre in the country to pioneer the Sport For Confidence model. General Manager, Tom Fletcher, says:

“Partnering with Sport For Confidence has enabled us to reach segments of the community we would not have otherwise been able to reach.  Our aim is to provide inclusive sporting facilities for all and working with an allied health professional has helped us to achieve this.”

Click here for more information and to read the original article in full. 

Visit the Resources section of our website for information on physical activity and sports, health, social care and disability information and other useful links.

Participants needed for new activity research project

Monday 30 January 2017

Can you help the University of Birmingham? They’re looking for disabled people who are interested in becoming more physically active to take part in a new research project about sport and exercise.

Led by the University of Birmingham, this project is supported by the National Disability Sports Organisations and English Federation of Disability Sport.

Who are we looking for to take part in this research project?

  • People over 18 years of age
  • People who are currently not doing any physical activity but would like to become active

People within the following impairment groups:

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • People who have cerebral palsy
  • Amputees and people with a limb impairment
  • People with restricted growth or dwarfism

What would be involved?

To start with we would like you to help us understand how we can support you to get active and have fun!

Stage One
We will support you to be more active. We meet with you to discuss what physical activity you would like to do and invite you to two workshops which will give you ideas on how to get started and stay active. We will also support you to complete a 30 week activity programme.

Stage Two
We would like to meet with you again and find how you are getting on with the activity programme and if you are still active. We would like to talk about how we could have helped and supported you better during the activity.

The University of Birmingham will reimburse you for all transport costs throughout the project, and as thank you for taking part in the research you’ll receive £30 on completion of the project.

How can I join the project?

There are a few places remaining at upcoming workshop session in:

London – Saturday 4 February

Birmingham – Tuesday 7 February

There a few places left for the upcoming workshop sessions in London on 18th of February, (1pm- 3.30 pm close to Waterloo Station) Please respond by 6pm on 15th February if you are interested.

There may potentially be a session in Bath – date to be confirmed.

If you are interested in taking part in the project and would like more details please contact Eva Jaarsma at the University of Birmingham. You can email Eva or call 0121 414 8258.

Yoga sessions launched for people with sight or hearing impairments

Friday 27 January 2017

National disability charity, Sense, has launched free yoga sessions for individuals who have sight and hearing impairments. The sessions are being held once a month at St Peter and All Souls, Fitzwilliam St, Peterborough. The sessions, which run every second Monday of the month, have been made possible following a grant of £424,958 from Sport England. This was awarded to Sense to increase opportunities for people with deafblindness to participate in sport and physical activity through its ‘Sporting Sense’ project. Family, friends, carers and assistance dogs are welcome to attend the sessions which take place 14.00 until 15.00 every second Monday of the month at St Peter and All Souls, Fitzwilliam St, Peterborough, PE1 2RS. Places are limited and booking is essential.

For more information, or to book a place, those who wish to attend should get in touch with Callan Barber at or call 07813 825 571.

Click here to view Get Yourself Active’s Peterborough partners, Inspire Peterborough.

Premier League clubs could face legal action over disabled facilities

Friday 27 January 2017

Premier League clubs’ facilities for disabled supporters have been severely criticised in a parliamentary report which states MPs would support legal action to force compliance by clubs with minimum provision set out by law. The report by the Culture, Media and Sport committee cites expert evidence that eight of the Premier League’s 20 clubs will fail to achieve the minimum legal number of wheelchair spaces for supporters, as set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, by a deadline of August this year. The report said it was “completely unacceptable” that a number of Premier League clubs, principally those in older grounds, have failed to carry out basic adaptations over the past 20 years.

“It is very clear that sports clubs, notably many of those with very considerable income and resources, have not done anywhere near enough for sports fans with disabilities in recent years, despite the increase in income many of those clubs have enjoyed,” the report says.

Lord Holmes, the disabilities commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has threatened the Premier League and its clubs with legal action under anti-discrimination legislation if they do not comply with minimum standards, and the committee says it would support this.

For more on the story click here

From physical activity and sports resources, to health, social care and disability information, view our range of resources to help you get active.

Australian Open 2017: Gordon Reid completes career Grand Slam in doubles

Friday 27 January 2017

Image of a person playing tennis

Britain’s Gordon Reid completed a career Grand Slam in the wheelchair men’s doubles by winning the Australian Open in a final-set tie-break.

Reid, alongside Belgian Joachim Gerard, won 6-3 3-6 1-0 (10-3) against fellow Briton Alfie Hewett and Gus Fernandez. The Scot, 25, won Wimbledon last year alongside Hewett, after previously winning the US and French Open (twice).

Read more about Gordon Reid’s Australian Open victory

For information on how you can get active visit our Information in your local area page.

If you are a wheelchair user and want to find a sport to enjoy, visit WheelPower. Wheelpower is dedicated to providing opportunities throughout the year to introduce people to wheelchair sport.



Sport England publish the first figures from their new Active Lives survey, giving new insight into how people get active across the nation

Published Thursday 26th January 2017

The original article can be found here.

The survey, which runs 365 days a year, asks people over 16 across England about the sport and physical activities they take part in. Results will be published twice a year.

The first round of the survey was completed by 200,000 people between November 2015 and November 2016, making Active Lives the biggest and most comprehensive survey of its kind.

Key statistics include:

  • The number of adults who do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity sport and physical activity per week
  • The number of adults who do 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity sport and physical activity a week, meeting the guidelines recommended by the Chief Medical Officer
  • The most popular types of activity

In line with the Government’s new strategy for sport and physical activity, many different types of activity are now included – such as walking, cycling for travel and dance – reflecting the full range of what people actually do.

Sessions are only included in the figures if they are done at least at ‘moderate intensity’, which means raising your heart rate and getting a little out of breath.

Levels of activity

Figures from the Active Lives survey show 25.6 per cent of adults are currently inactive. There are some big differences within these numbers.

People in the highest socio economic groups tend to be more active than those in the lower groups and you’re significantly more likely to be inactive if you’re aged over 55.

Fifty-one per cent of disabled people with three or more impairments are inactive, compared to 21 per cent of people without disabilities.

In contrast, 60.7 per cent or adults (or 27 million) do at least 150 minutes of activity per week, meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for weekly activity.

More men than women are physically active, especially in sporting activities.

The figures show the enormous role that walking, fitness activities and playing sport have in people’s lives, with many people doing several different things to add up to an active lifestyle.


In terms of inactivity, there are differences between those with or without a disability; 51% of those with three or more impairments are inactive compared with 21% of those without a disability.

In terms of activity, there are differences between those with or without a disability; only 36% of those with three or more impairments are active compared with 65% of those without a disability.

Read Active Lives 2015-16 Year 1 Report 

Information about Active Lives

For information on how you can get active visit our Information in your local area page.

Leo Capella’s response to The crisis of disabled millennials: ‘It feels hopeless’

Earlier this month The Guardian newspaper released the article The crisis of disabled millennials: ‘It feels hopeless’

From work insecurity to student debt and unaffordable housing, young adults are facing huge challenges. And none more so than disabled people, with cuts to social care and accommodation making their lives increasingly impossible.

The article follows the lives of Clare Phipps, Ryan and Ashley Worth, and Gabi Howard-Lovell who have been prevented from participating in society and developing as individuals because of their impairments and their local authorities’ inabilities to provide them with adequate social care and housing.

Leo Capella from the I Can Make It project responds to the article below:

I hate seeing fellow disabled people miserable. And this article in the Guardian made me sad that situations like the ones described in it are happening on my watch, whether professionally or personally. However, I take comfort in the fact that I Can Make It and the other campaigns/projects at Disability Rights UK exist because we don’t want to just get mad. Instead we get smart and provide solutions to the challenges that people with disabilities and health conditions face including when it comes to jobs.
Gabi Howard-Lovell, if you’re out there do have a look at our webpage for more information about I Can Make It. And if you’re interested in becoming a champion for us then do drop me an e-mail. After all it would be really great if something positive could rise from these horrid situations.

“I Can Make It” is a three year campaign led by Disability Rights UK.  Its aim is to create new job opportunities for young disabled people using the Social Value Act as its main driver.  To find out more information about the I Can Make It campaign then visit the website, or if you would like to volunteer with the campaign.



The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation

The Mental Health Charter for Sport & Recreation is quickly approaching its two year anniversary. There has been some phenomenal work to raise awareness and to challenge stigma and discrimination across the sector, but still lots more that can be done. Access resources and templates, read plans from partners from across the sector, and be inspired to turn your signature into action by visiting the Sport & Recreation Alliance website.

The original article can be found here.

We want to use the power of the sport and recreation sector to make our activities welcoming, positive and inclusive for everyone. That’s why the Sport and Recreation Alliance alongside the Professional Players Federation and with support from the mental health charity Mind, have created the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation.

The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation sets out how sport can use its collective power to tackle mental ill health and the stigma that surrounds it.

The Charter outlines five actions that we, as a sector, can take to help make mental health a commonly understood matter and to help those in need.

Download your copy of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation

If you would like to talk specifically about mental health, you can find more information and talk to a specialist at Mind.

Read about Time to Talk Day on Thursday 2nd February 2017. Find out how you can help get the nation talking about mental health and keep the conversation going round the clock.

Preventing suicide in England: Third progress report of the cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives

Reading about people committing suicide is never a pleasant thing and the latest Third progress report on the cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives which was recently published gives grim data on the rate and frequency of suicide incidents in the country.  For example, suicide rates in England have increased since 2007, making suicide the biggest killer of men under 50 as well as a leading cause of death in young people and new mothers. On average, 13 people kill themselves every day in England. The death of someone by suicide has a devastating effect on families, friends, workplaces, schools and communities, as well as an economic cost. The Government is developing a range of interventions to reduce the rates people are committing suicide, some of which are; connecting national policy with local delivery to drive and monitor progress with partners and stakeholders; work to continue with the National suicide prevention strategy advisory group, providing financial support to National prevention alliance (NSPA); strengthening the National Strategy to drive delivery of its aims at a local level where it matters most to prevent further families, friends, colleagues and communities from experiencing the tragedy of suicide and increasing Government’s focus on young people in educational settings, including colleges and universities, to raise awareness of suicide risk and mental wellbeing.

So what has Sport or physical activity got to do with reducing the incidents of suicide in the country, well, the report recognises that sporting communities are an important way to engage with young and middle-aged men; there is evidence that engagement via this route can be successful (for example, State of Mind Sport and Andy’s Man Club). Government also plans to consider further engagement through the sporting community to build on the good work already taking place around the country to address these issues. Public Health England’s guidelines on suicide prevention planning for local authorities highlights that sporting initiatives may be an effective way of targeting young men and local areas may want to engage local sporting figures, or gym/fitness professionals to become suicide prevention champions.  This recognition and acknowledgement of the role of sport and by extension physical activity strengthens our resolve at DR UK/Get Yourself Active to continue to campaign and advance the rights of disabled people to actively participate in sport and physical activities.

You can read the full report here

If you want to get active and participate in sport or activities (some can be physical) click 

Junior Sports Camp at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Saturday 25th March 2017

Join WheelPower at the upcoming Junior Sports Camp at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Saturday 25th March 2017. The Junior Sports Camps offer participants the opportunity to have a go at a variety of sports in a fun, safe and inclusive environment. Activities on offer range from archery to wheelchair basketball.


Enter online now by clicking here

Junior Sports Camp Entry Form March 2017

Do you want to get active in other ways? Click here for information in your local area.