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. 

Unorthobox encourages people of all abilities to improve their wellbeing

Unorthobox is a new social enterprise encouraging people of all abilities to improve their health and wellbeing and increase their physical activity levels.

Unorthobox Coach and Founder, Sarah-Jane says:

“I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in sport and activities to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Unorthobox sessions provide a welcoming and fun environment to get fit, learn new skills and participate in sport alongside people of various abilities, ages and backgrounds”.

No previous experience in boxing is required. These are mixed ability sessions (disabled people and non-disabled people train together). The sessions are similar to training in a boxing gym and consist of fitness, pad and bag work. The main difference with these sessions is that there is no sparring; participants hit pads and bags but not each other.

If you want to work towards something there is the opportunity to participate in the GB Boxing Awards scheme (at a small additional cost). This is a scheme endorsed by GB Boxing, similar to martial arts’ grading systems. The participants will receive a handbook, a certificate and medal for passing each stage of the awards.

Time for a selfie with Kira Carter, Boxing Tutor for Unorthobox. Kira is Youth National Champion and on the England Boxing Team.

Unorthobox was also at the Get Out Get Active Bradford Launch, and national partners GOGA partners Women in Sport said:

“Unorthobox, led by Sarah-Jane was a real hit with the ‘drop- in’ participants. It appealed to individuals wanting to get fitter, to families exercising together and to those who just wanted to have fun. Women in Sport research suggests that women choose to take part in activity for a variety of reasons, it seems that Unorthobox’s delivery is meeting those needs.”

Click here for more information about the Get Out Get Active Bradford Launch.

Unorthobox has just launched sessions in Bradford.

Mixed ability, non-contact Boxing sessions take place at Heaton Tennis Centre on Thursdays.

Age 7-14 are 4.30-5.30pm

Age 14-Adults are 6-7pm

Please note that on Thursday 26th January the adults class will be at 6.30-7.30pm.

If you are interested in taking part in Unorthobox sessions contact Sarah-Jane on 07769 359612.

Visit the website:

Follow Unorthobox on Twitter: @unorthobox1

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting new programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK’s least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities. GOGA launched in London in January 2017. To find out more about Disability Rights UK’s role is in the GOGA programme and its Peer Support Programme click here or contact GOGA Peer Support Lead, Kate Pieroudis .on 07715 960710 or email her at

No one should have no one

Have you ever been lonely?

Then spare a thought for over one million older people who are estimated to be lonely in the UK today.

Age UK has produced a report about loneliness in the UK and it makes for grim reading. Chronic loneliness can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart conditions and strokes, depression and dementia. The report also identifies the link between older people increasingly becoming lonely and isolated to social care funding cuts. For example, services like Meals on Wheels and day centres have been massively eroded. Other vital local services such as libraries, community centres, lunch clubs and public toilets are closing or reducing their hours and either introducing or raising charges.

Click here to read Age UK’s ‘No one should have no one: Working to end loneliness amongst older people’ report

Sport England has released Nationwide search for brilliant ideas to support inactive older people, which in turn can help reduce loneliness. Click here for more information and follow Get Yourself Active on Twitter @GetYrselfActive for regular updates. 

Get Out Get Active arrives in London

Published Thursday 19th January 2017

The original article can be found here.

Last week saw the London launch of the Spirit of 2012-funded Get Out Get Active (GOGA) programme, a three-year initiative focused on supporting disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. London Sport will be working with the London Borough of Lambeth and Enable Leisure and Culture Wandsworth, alongside an extensive range of local partners delivering and supporting fun and inclusive activities over the next three years.

As well as lead GOGA partner the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), national partners Volunteering Matters, Disability Rights UK, Women in Sport, Sporting Equals, StreetGames and Age UK will all bring their expertise to the London project.

Disabled Londoners are only half as likely to be as active as non-disabled people, with over 60% of disabled people in London wanting to do more activity (Active People Sport England). However, GOGA is not just about getting more disabled people active; it is about listening to the 64% of disabled people that would prefer to take part in inclusive activities with non-disabled people (EFDS Lifestyle Report 2013).

By delivering a range of innovative and inclusive activities based on extensive insight, GOGA will try to meet the demands and bring people together to be active.

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive for Spirit of 2012 said:

“We want to make getting active appealing, accessible, fun and inclusive for people of all ages and abilities. Spirit of 2012 is funding Get Out Get Active in response to overwhelming evidence that inactive people need encouragement and support to take those first steps into active, healthy lifestyles.”

Alex Gibbons, Disability Programme Manager at London Sport said:

“London Sport is excited to be working with the English Federation of Disability Sport to bring the Get Out Get Active programme to London. Working in partnership with the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth, the programme will support Londoners of all abilities to enjoy being active together, motivating them by tapping into their core values and the things that matter most; building friendships, maintaining health, having fun and progressing in life.

“By targeting some of London’s least active people, GOGA represents a vital step towards achieving London Sport’s vision of making London the most physically active city in the world.”

For more information on the activities that have been announced so far click here.

Click here to find out more about GOGA or to find out more about the specific sessions in Lambeth and Wandsworth, please see the below contact details.

  • For Lambeth please email Lambeth Community Sports Team at or 02079260396
  • For Wandsworth please email Emma Toft from Enable Leisure and Culture at or 02088718154
Kate, Get Out Get Active Peer Support Lead at Disability Rights UK

What is Disability Rights UK’s role?

Disability Rights UK is running a Peer Support project as part of a bigger Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Programme. This will support disabled people, people living with long-term health conditions and non-disabled people to become mentors, matching them to support someone one-to-one who wants to get more active but who might be experiencing barriers.

What is peer support?

Stories and experiences are powerful. Many disabled people take part in physical activity and have experience of overcoming barriers such as access issues. When they share these skills and experiences with other disabled people, this is peer support.  Peer support can change your life. From boosting confidence to improving health and wellbeing, it provides a safe, welcoming environment for people who want to get active.

Interested in working one to one with a mentor to get active? Could you become a mentor to support someone else to get active?

Get Out Get Active Flyer

Click on the image to enlarge flyer

Call Kate Pieroudis, Peer Support Lead at Disability Rights UK- 07715 960710 or email her at

Time to Talk Day 2017 – Thursday 2nd February 2017

This Time to Talk Day, we want to get the nation talking about mental health and keep the conversation going round the clock.

Conversations about mental health change lives.

At the moment, too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless by other people’s reactions.

But talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult. It can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or go for a walk, and listening to someone talk about how they feel.

Being open about mental health and ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.

“It’s #timetotalk because if you say something, you realise how many people around you haven’t, and needed to”

This is what Time to Talk Day is all about – giving us all the chance to talk and listen about mental health.

Whatever the hour, every conversation, every text, every share means more people are reached and more lives are changed.

Join us on Thursday 2 February and get the nation talking round the clock.

Conversations about mental health change lives. Help get the nation talking round the clock on Time to Talk Day – together we can all make sure that no one feels isolated or ashamed for having a mental health problem.

All of the resources you need to plan and run your event are now available:

Once you’ve arranged your activity register it on the Time to Change website to spread the word.   

Time to Talk Day 2017

St George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool Announces Social Return on Investment

“This work was initiated and led by St George’s hydrotherapy users. I think it demonstrates the great value that is placed on the service by its users and another, albeit small, but positive example of disabled people taking responsibility and ‘getting active’.” Karen Oldale

St George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool is located in Peterborough. The pool is run and funded by Peterborough City Council, who work in partnership with the Friends of St George’s.  The pool is supported by local and regional organisations such as Disability Peterborough and Healthwatch Peterborough, which is a local consumer champion working to help people get the best out of their local health and social care services.

The scope of this project represents an evaluative SROI analysis of St. George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool for the investment period of the financial year 2016.

In this analysis the impact of St. George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool activities is based on the investment in the organisation for that year but in the Sensitivity Analysis we have also considered the potential for additional benefits to be secured over a longer period of time.
Whilst use has been made of a very comprehensive user survey undertaken by the Friends of St George’s Pool in 2015-16 limited stakeholder engagement has taken place. This document will form the basis of processes to be put in place to collect the data that would further evidence the change presented. However, steps will also need to be taken to:

  • improve the measurement approach through ongoing and consistent data collection in the future
  • ensure stakeholders will be more fully involved in the development and testing of financial proxies.

The analysis indicates that St. George’s Hydrotherapy Pool will deliver circa £1,525m of social and economic value in a one year period. Based on a projected investment of £97,879, this results in an SROI ratio of 16:1. That is, approximately £16 of value will be created for every £1 invested in St George’s Pool.

Read the full report here.

Read Karen’s blog A session or class at the pool is an integral and highly valued part of the week for many and follow them on Twitter @Pborohydropool and @pbhydro_users.


An important message from DR UK CEO Liz Sayce

The original article can be found here.

A message from Liz

I wanted to let you know that after 10 years as CEO of Disability Rights UK and its legacy charity Radar, I’ve decided the time is right to retire from full-time work and move on. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made as I love this job, in particular the incredible team, the great relationships with members and partner organisations and the chance to be part of a network with such rock-solid shared commitment to the vision of equal participation for all. It’s been a huge privilege to be CEO over this time.

I will leave at the end of May 2017 and the role will be advertised shortly.

Reflecting on the 10 years, there have been both great highs and real challenges. Amongst the highs has been merging 3 organisations to create a new, national disability rights organisation that can genuinely describe itself as ‘disabled people leading change’ (with 86% of Trustees having lived experience of disability and over 60% of staff; and decisions in the hands of our voting members, all disabled people or Disabled People’s Organisations). And then co-developing a new strategy and building the confidence of partners and funders, so that we have been able to reach over 1.5 million disabled people each year with desperately needed information and advice on rights, and set up innovative programmes to test new approaches – from research led by disabled people into independent living solutions (DRILL) to opening up job opportunities for young disabled people (I Can Make It). We have worked with partners to shape debate, inform policy and campaign: for instance, helping get ‘peer support for employment’ on the map, influencing apprenticeships to be more inclusive and campaigning successfully for specific changes to proposals on issues including PIP, housing benefit and social care.

But the challenges are huge. In 2016 we held 7 events around the country on the UN Convention – and heard again and again how disabled people’s rights to live independently in the community, or even to have basic access, are often simply not met. We will report on this soon. There has been a damaging slippage in debate on disability to seeing support in terms of protecting so called ‘vulnerable’ people – rather than support being a springboard to equal participation, an investment in people’s potential. And the prevalence of poverty amongst disabled people places deep restrictions on participating in ordinary activities in our communities. On top of that many DPOs struggle financially with sustained cuts in public funding. DR UK was fortunate to resolve a historic pension deficit and is in a sustainable financial position for the future.

It’s been amazing to work with such great colleagues and allies over these sometimes turbulent years. We’ve seen that it’s through alliances and joining forces that we have the greatest chance of achieving positive change.

I’d like to offer my personal thanks to all of you who have supported me and Disability Rights UK over the last decade

Best wishes


And a message from Anne Beales, chair of DRUK

We’re very sorry to see Liz go, but appreciate the reasons why and wish her all the very best in her retirement from full time work.

We are grateful for the time, energy and commitment she has brought to both Radar and Disability Rights UK over the years, as well as the wider sector.

She will leave us with a solid legacy which we will continue to build on, and ensure that DRUK continues to be ‘disabled people leading change.

We will begin the recruitment of Liz’ successor shortly. We will be recruiting someone who has personal experience of disability, or living with a long term health condition, to replace her.

Cerebral Palsy Sport Survey – Have your say!

Tuesday 17th January 2017

Cerebral Palsy (CP) Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports organisation supporting people with cerebral palsy reach their sporting potential. Its vision is that everyone who is physically disabled is able to access a sport of their choice. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with physical impairments through the provision of appropriate sport and recreational activities.

Cerebral Palsy Sport is looking at the provision that it has for adults and how it can shape what programmes to run going forward.

If you would like to share your input then please click here to complete the short survey. 

The importance of disabled people adding their voice to help shape the future for trees and woods in the UK

2017 is the year of the Tree Charter! On November 6th, on the 800th anniversary of the influential 1217 Charter of the Forest, the Charter for Trees, Woods and People will be launched to recognise, celebrate and protect the rights of people in the UK to the benefits brought by the trees and woods in their lives. For the past year more than 60 organisations have been working together to explore and highlight the important role that trees play in the lives of people across the UK, in order to identify the benefits that should be protected for the future by the Tree Charter. This consultation phase ends at the end of February 2017 so that the articles of the charter itself can be written based on the public testimonies and expert guidance from the 60 organisations involved in the campaign. For a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers please take a few minutes to complete this short survey:

Writer and photographer Tanvir Bush, who has retinitis pigmentosa, reflects on the importance of disabled people adding their voice to help shape the future for trees and woods in the UK.

When I was six my best friend was a tree, an enormous, spreading Jacaranda tree in our front garden.  We were living in Lusaka, Zambia then, expatriates; my Dad a GP and my Mum an artist.  They were always busy. I was always up that tree. It was a castle, a space craft, a fort, a school, a house, an ark, an entire universe. The bark was thick, soft and dry and looked like elephant skin.  It was very comfortable to sit in and the way it had grown, out as well as up, up, up, meant that it was a superb climbing tree. I, being small and light back then, could get higher than my older sister, higher than any visiting kid, so high that often adults would come out of the house and not see me clinging to branches over their heads.

The tree was host to marvels; delicate moths and strange insects so well camouflaged that one could easily miss them hiding in the bark, all sizes of ants and spiders, bumbling beetles glinting in their armour, caterpillars (avoid the hairy ones!), hundreds of flying things from wasps to carpenter bees, bluebottles to dragonflies and geckos, snouted lizards and higher out of range, the occasional snake.  Birds nestled and sang above and all around was the clicking, clacking and tiny munching sounds of tree life. I would be in that tree for hours at a time.

A young Tanvir with the Jacaranda tree in 1976.

Forty years later and l clearly remember how wonderful it was to climb into that tree and I still am always itching to climb another. Harder now, obviously, not just because it freaks out my guide dog but also because I have become scared of falling.

There are many disabled people though who cannot get out to run their hands over the bark of a tree, breathe in the open air, be alone or comfortably with companions in the woods and park lands. It may be because there is no safe easily accessible local park for them to wander into. It may be that they would, like me, require help with access, with finding the routes or manoevering on difficult terrain.  Even when one is able to get to a slightly wilder place, there may be stiles, battered unkempt tracks and the like that prevents anyone with mobility issues from getting very far.

What does this matter? Well, research into outdoor learning (Learning Away 2015), eco-therapy (MIND-Feel Better Outside, Feel better Inside Report 2013) and the effects of being in nature on the human condition, have shown repeatedly that getting outdoors boosts physical and mental health, can create social cohesion and reduce social isolation among other benefits.  In this way it is integral to everyone’s health and happiness. Creating ways in which disabled people, the elderly or parents with pushchairs and small children might access and enjoy nature too must surely be an obvious part of any Tree Charter that aims to influence and impact on all areas of our society.   It may be as simple as accessible loos and gates for wheelchair access, guided tree walks or large print maps. It may be as impactful as mobility scooters and community events on site (as at Westonbirt Arboretum) but whatever it may be, it will create value and a more equal community of tree lovers.

Dr Tanvir Bush is a novelist and film-maker/photographer. She is based in Wiltshire with her guide dog and research assistant, Grace.

Her latest novel, Cull, is available via Unbound. Read an excerpt online and access the e-book here.

Click here to watch an interview with Tanvir about the Tree Charter.

British Blind Sport launch Guide to Visually Impaired Archery and Shooting

National Disability Sports Organisation, British Blind Sport has launched a brand new guide to enable coaches, leaders and club personnel to learn more about sight loss and eye conditions and have a greater understanding of the needs of people with visual impairment who want to take part in the sports of archery or shooting.

Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, British Blind Sport help blind and partially sighted people get active and play sport. Sport and recreational activities can enhance the lives of people with visual impairments, by improving their health and increasing their social interaction. BBS encourages adults and children to participate in activities at all levels, from grassroots to the Paralympic Games.

The charity, that provides sporting opportunities for visually impaired (VI) people throughout the UK, has already launched educational resources into VI football, swimming, athletics, judo and general VI sport and are proud to add the Target Sports guide to the library.

Funded and supported by Agincourt 600, the VI Target Sport guide has been designed to educate the coaching and club network to ensure a greater knowledge of VI archery and VI shooting and help enhance opportunities for more VI people to take part in these exhilarating sports.

Alaina MacGregor, CEO of British Blind Sport, said, “We know that ensuring participation in sport is a positive experience for a VI person is often due to a skilled and confident coach or teacher. The guide is a fantastic and insightful tool for those coaches and teachers who want to help others achieve their sporting goals and who are committed to making a visible difference through sport.”

Dr. Sinclair Rogers Chair of Agincourt 600 said, “The Agincourt 600 charity was set up to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, one of the most famous battles in English history. The key part that longbows and archery played in the battle led the committee to pledge support the advancement of archery, fencing and shooting for the disabled. We could think of no better scheme to support disabled people than this project. This resource will hopefully continue the good work that BBS has already done in these sports and allow the sports deliverers to continue providing sporting opportunities in an informed and productive way.”

1,200 copies have been produced and are ready for distribution to those coaches and sports deliverers who want to learn more about visual impairment and how to deliver VI target sports.

The guide is accessible either as a hard copy glossy document or via the British Blind Sport website –  If you want to obtain a copy, please contact or call 01926 42 42 47.

Prime Minister must find consensus on health and social care

The original article can be found here.


The Chairs of three House of Commons Select Committees are urging the Prime Minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding in a letter published 6th January. The letter has been sent by Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Committee, Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee.

Health and social care challenges

The Committee Chairs say that a “political consensus” is needed to address the “pressing social care challenges facing the country” and that it must also include the NHS. They call on the Prime Minister to invite all parties to take part in an urgent review, covering the health and social care systems.

The MPs continue: “In short, the problem is widely recognised – we now need political agreement so that a solution for the long term can be found.”

Future funding

The letter follows the Prime Minister’s appearance before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 20 December 2016, when she answered questions on health and social care funding.

The letter reads:

“We were encouraged by your recognition at the Liaison Committee that everyone has a part to play in finding a sustainable way of ensuring social care provision in the future. You also accepted the need for a review to find a way of funding social care sustainably for the long term.

We believe that can best be achieved if there is cross-party consensus, and therefore urge you to invite all parties to become involved in a review, which should begin as soon as possible. Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever Party is in government over the coming decades.”

Finding a consensus

The Committee Chairs argue that the consensus should be reached swiftly so that the agreed approach can be reflected in the next round of Government spending.

“We also feel that the ongoing separation of health and social care is creating difficulties for individuals and avoidable barriers and inefficiencies. Any review should cover the two systems”, the MPs add.

Read the blog by Rich Watts ‘Public services: only a means to living full and active lives‘.

EFDS announces appointment of Andy Dalby-Welsh as Deputy Chief Executive

11 January 2017
The original article can be found here.

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is delighted to announce Andy Dalby-Welsh as its new Deputy Chief Executive. With a wealth of experience in senior management and sports participation, Andy will start in his role on the 23 January 2017.

Andy joins EFDS from The Change Foundation, where he has been their Director of Operations and Partnerships for over two years. During this time, he also had a short tenure acting as their Chief Executive. His previous roles were at the Foundation’s formerly named Cricket for Change and included Director of Operations as well as Programmes. Here, he gained over 10 years of experience in strategy creation and implementation, change management, finance management, organisational growth and developing transformational partnerships.

Andy, 38, is a former international cricketer, with lived experience of disability. In 2004, he set up his own project, Sport for Choice, creating sporting opportunities for blind and visually impaired young people. It aimed to build young people’s self-confidence, self-esteem, independence and friendships. In 2009, he was recognised at the Pride of Britain Awards for this work with disabled people.

In the newly created role at EFDS, Andy will provide executive and strategic leadership alongside the Chief Executive, Barry Horne. He will lead on the charity’s business development and be responsible for Corporate Services, Marketing and Communications, Research and Insight, Event Management, Fundraising, Public Affairs and Member Support.

Andy said about his appointment:

“I am really excited to be joining EFDS at this positive time of growth. I am incredibly passionate about the importance of disabled people being active. I have experienced first-hand through developing sports programmes for disabled people, and through representing the England blind cricket team, the increase in friendships, confidence, independence and aspirations that participating in sport can bring.

“I look forward to creating a step change in the number of disabled people benefitting from their participation in sport and recreational activities.”

Barry Horne, Chief Executive, said:

“It’s a great time for someone of Andy’s calibre to be joining our talented and committed team. We put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring that we recruited the ideal person for this brand new role. Andy’s valuable experience backed by a passion for change will undoubtedly help to move EFDS forward.

“The staff, Board and I are excited about the opportunities Andy can bring to EFDS and look forward to him starting.”

For more information on EFDS, please visit our website, email or call 01509 227750.

Active Ageing Fund

The original article can be found here.

Nationwide search begins for brilliant ideas to support inactive older people.


Sport England have put tackling inactivity right at the centre of their new strategy Towards an Active Nation – which means over the next four years, they’re going to triple the amount they invest in helping inactive people become active.

As a first step, they will be investing up to £10 million into projects that help inactive older people get active through their Active Ageing Fund.

Download our Active Ageing Prospectus

Sport England are looking for both new and existing partners who are willing to work with them to co-design innovative, different and experimental approaches that put older people at the heart of their efforts.

Key facts

If you have a great idea of how to tackle inactivity in this diverse audience, then they want to hear from you.

Here are some key facts about the programme that you need to know:

  • Value of investment: £10 million
  • Fund opens: 14 December 2016
  • Anticipated size of bids: £50,000 – £500,000
  • Length of project: Minimum of one year
  • Expression of interest deadline: Midday 13 February 2017
  • Awards made: June 2017

You do not need to have a fully-formed project at this stage. It might be that you want to test an innovative idea to learn whether it works, to replicate in other locations something that has already been proven successful or set up something new in your area where there is a real need.

The first part of the process involves the submission of an expression of interest form, where Sport England will need to know a little about your organisation, your understanding of the audience you want to work with and your initial ideas on how you might tackle inactivity.

If your project is fully worked up and ready to start, then they still want to hear from you as your application can be fast-tracked to a full project award.

For more information about the Active Ageing Fund and how to apply click here.

Personal Budget: a personal adventure.

By Graham Tucker

One day I woke up and started a whole new phase in my life. I was a newly divorced sixty something overweight guy who happened to have a visual impairment and a list of medical ailments as long as your arm. There I was now living alone, somewhat socially isolated and pigeon holed as a “vulnerable person” in need of help.

There were many hoops to jump through with social services and it seemed like a circus; the assessment process was a nightmare. I was told that Tesco did some very nice microwave dinners – not what I wanted to hear given my desire to eat more healthily and lose some weight. In the end I was given a massive four hours a week support, which I eventually got increased to six hours a week.

I discovered by chance the Personal Budget scheme. Back in the circus ring, with more hoops to jump through, I eventually I gained control over how I used my six hours a week. So, with help, I employed a Personal Assistant (PA) and became an employer. It sounds – and was – challenging, but the finances and payroll were looked after by a charity who took all the worry out of it. All I do is complete a time sheet for my PA every four weeks. My local authority pays my direct payments to the payroll company and I, with more help, arrange the all-important public liability insurance.

The downside is that six hours a week was never going to be enough. I joined a gym through a local scheme called Fresh Start which involved a referral from my GP. It was a 12 week course targeted at my needs and ability. Best of all it was free! The downside was it used nearly 50% of my PA time, but it was beneficial. I decided to invest the money I would spend on a gym membership on my own cross trainer which now sits in my living room and is used most days

Having a PA enables me to make better choices. She helps prepare fresh vegetables, meals and acts as my eyes when shopping, constantly checking those “traffic light” indicators on the food labels. I have a great PA however before I got her, over a year ago there were several bad experiences with others. Six hours a week is nowhere near long enough but it has led me on to better things.

More than a million disabled adults may not be receiving the social care they need: new LCD research

New Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD)’s State of Social Care in Great Britain report states that more than a million disabled people may not be receiving the social care they need.

The report estimates that as many as 2.7 million working age disabled adults in Great Britain could need social care to live independently and more than one million may not currently be getting enough support to do this.

Image result for state of social care report leonard cheshire

Some of the other highlights from the report include more than two in five people surveyed feel isolated or lonely and over half (56%) of those who do not receive enough support maintaining social and community links are unable to leave home when they would like at least once a week.

Please get in touch if you would like to share your story about receiving or not receiving social care support and how this affects your ability to get active. Follow us @GetYrselfActive for regular updates. 

Read the full report here: The State of Social Care in Great Britain.

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Disability Sport Summit

leap-logoDid you know that only 17.2% of disabled people take part in moderate physical activity once a week, however seven in ten disabled people say they want to be more active. This shows that more work is needed to be done to become an active nation.

Leap is the non-profit county organisation for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, with responsibility for increasing levels of physical activity and sport. Funded by Sport England we are working with our partners, the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), the British Paralympic Association (BPA), WheelPower and event sponsor Slater & Gordon to co-ordinate the inaugural county-wide disability sports forum on Tuesday 28th February to help address these challenges.

Aims from the summit are to:

  • make a difference to the lives of disabled people through sport and activity
  • establish a disability sport and activity forum to share best practice
  • attract national funding and
  • optimise our position as the birthplace of the Paralympics.

If you work with or on behalf of disabled people, the summit welcomes you, and through the summit we hope together we can enrich our knowledge about the benefits of physical activity and sport. Please be reassured that the focus of this summit is not about elite sport, but is about getting down to the grass roots level of sport for all.

We would be delighted if you are able to join us, and help to create a disability legacy at county level to equal the recognition achieved through the Paralympics established in Buckinghamshire.

For more information on the conference programme and how to get involved please click here or email Fiona McMillan.

To book your space for the event click here.

martin-mcelhatton naomi-riches alistair-patrick-heselton sponsors

Click here to view the keynote speakers.

First day at DRUK Get yourself active as a volunteer

By Iyiola Olafimiyan

iyiolaGetting active either through sport, gyming (going to the gym :)), drawing or volunteering is something I cherish as a disabled person, so when I contacted Leanne last year about volunteering on her project I was glad she said…..yes!

So I came in on my first day anticipating that I will be well received by the folks at DRUK and get inducted into the project. You guessed right, Leanne and the rest of the team received me well and made me feel like part of the family. One great thing I am going to love about volunteering here is coffee – yes, coffee -there is good coffee here and it is free – something to look forward to every Friday then, bye bye instant coffee (every Friday treat)

I am settling down, going through policies and documents and basically getting used to the environment. I think I am going to like it here. I will not be doing a second day or third day sequel however I will occasionally update you and share my experience getting active.

Iyiola will be posting news items and tweeting from @GetYrselfActive so please follow us and check our new pages for the latest updates

Tee off with Disability Golf day on Saturday 7th January 2017

The original article can be found here.

Disability Sports Coach has joined in partnership with The Golf Trust to host a Disability Golf Day this Saturday 7th January 2017. The event is a celebration of their ongoing work together to promote golf opportunities for disabled people in London.

The free event is for all disabled people to come and just play golf at different stations. Coaches will be present at each station to give tips. If you’ve played golf in their clubs or never played before there will be suitable and fun stations for you!

The event is taking place at Willesden Sports Centre, NW10 3QX from 2-4pm. Parking is available.This event has also been made possible thanks to funding from Jack Petchey.

Please see flyer below and contact Emma on 020 7021 0973 or email for any queries.

For further information please visit the Disability Sports Coach website.


Priorities for the NHS and social care in 2017

The original article can be found here.

2017 promises to be another challenging year for the health and care system, with demand for care increasing faster than the supply of resources.

A system already stretched to its limits will have to work even harder to maintain current standards of care and to balance budgets. This requires a continuing focus on operational performance and renewed efforts to transform the delivery of care at a time when frontline staff are working under intense pressure.

The NHS five year forward view (Forward View) will be tested to its limits as leaders work to improve performance and transform care. The NHS locally has to deliver £15 billion of the £22 billion efficiency improvements required under the Forward View, with the remaining £7 billion to be delivered nationally. It also has to provide evidence that new care models are delivering benefits. Failure to do so will raise serious questions about the assumptions on which the Forward View was based and on the ability of leaders to deliver their plans.

Against this background, the King’s Fund has identified five main priorities for 2017:

For more information and to read the original article in full click here.

British Paralympic Association responds to the New Years Honours list

The original article can be found here.

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) are delighted that so many of ParalympicsGB’s gold medallists have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in this outstanding year for British sport.

Lee Pearson’s contribution to equestrian sport was recognised with a Knighthood, as well as the significant contributions of Sophie Christiansen (CBE), Sascha Kindred (CBE), Anne Dunham (OBE) and Jody Cundy (OBE) over many years to their respective sports and to the Paralympic team.

ParalympicsGB’s Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe, who led the ParalympicsGB team in Rio, will receive an OBE, while Tim Reddish, BPA Chairman, receives a CBE and Tim Hollingsworth, BPA Chief Executive, an OBE.

Tim Reddish, Chairman of the BPA, said: “It gives me great pleasure as Chairman of the BPA to see that so many people involved in the success of ParalympicsGB in Rio have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. I am also very pleased that the hard work and achievements of BPA staff members Tim Hollingsworth and Penny Briscoe has been recognised. I congratulate all recipients on their richly deserved recognition.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA, added: “I am delighted that the efforts of both the team and the team behind the team representing their country have been recognised today.

For a full list of ParalympicsGB team members recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours and to read the original article in full click here.