Get yourself active blog

“I was doing exercise without it seeming like exercise’’


Wednesday 27 September 2017

National Fitness Day is a brilliant way of raising awareness of the enjoyment and benefits physical activity can bring to a range of people.

Demonstrating the enjoyment of physical activity has been a key component in establishing sustained participation amongst disabled people across Cheshire, through the Get Yourself Active project.

When the Get Yourself Active project started in February 2015, Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) had an exciting opportunity to shape a project which would meet the goals and aspirations of local disabled people, who wanted to be active. We know from EFDS research that disabled people are still half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. This is why it is critical that when we do get the opportunity to engage disabled people in physical activity, we create a setting which supports personalisation. It is also important to base the activities around the wider benefits physical activity can bring and not solely focus on the way an activity technique is conducted.

At a recent project CCIL set up, in partnership with the Iris Vision Centre in Crewe and Everybody Sport & Recreation, a participant commented after a session that she had taken part in, that due to the enjoyment, it didn’t feel like she was exercising. I thought this was brilliant, as the participants had a session developed to meet their needs, which allowed them to focus on the enjoyment they were having, instead of focusing on the exercises they were doing. The success of the delivery has resulted in regular sessions being embedded into the Vision Centre’s activity calendar, which is being delivered by local leisure centre staff, in a way which meets the needs of the participants.

Many of the community support networks and external organisations we have partnered up with have never engaged with the physical activity or sport sector. This is a similar situation with the health and social care sector, that have described the sport and leisure landscape as ‘’confusing’’.

Disabled People’s User Led Organisations (DPULOs) are in a fantastic position to help support the leisure sector to understand what disabled people want and how they can be inclusive. As DPULO’s are organisations with lived experience of disability and have links to a large number of people with disabilities, they are a crucial stakeholder in the design, development and delivery of inclusive activities. I hope other DPULOs support National Fitness Day, to encourage and showcase disabled people being active, in an environment which is right for them.

Tom Bell

September 2017

Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) is a Disabled Peoples User Led Organisation working across Cheshire to empower disabled people to have independence, choice and control over their lives and remove the barriers that exist within society.

CCIL works in partnership with Disability Rights UK to deliver the Get Yourself Active project which is about ensuring that disabled people have the information and knowledge to make choices about being active in a way that is right for the individual. CCIL has been working in partnership with colleagues in social care, health and the sport sector to develop and share models of practice which empower and support disabled people to get and stay active.

Contact CCIL or DR UK

Tom Bell – Get Yourself Active Coordinator at CCIL


Leanne Wightman – Get Yourself Active Project Manager at DR UK


InstructAbility Dips Its Toe In the Water

Friday 22 September 2017

A collaboration between Aspire, Nottingham City Council and The Institute of Swimming has resulted in the launch of a new Swimming Teacher Training Programme for disabled people.

The course, which sits under the InstructAbility umbrella is being piloted in Nottingham, in November, with online applications now open on the InstrutcAbility website.

InstructAbility was set up by the national spinal injury charity and inclusive leisure operator, Aspire, in 2010. The multi award-winning project which is funded by Sport England, is best known for its inclusive Gym Instructor programmes delivered in partnership with YMCAfit.

Opportunities for disabled people to become fitness professionals will also be available in Nottingham, with a gym instructor course running parallel to the swimming pilot. Key features of both courses include adjustment to training to ensure it is accessible to a wide range of disabled people. The other unique aspect of the programme is that once qualified, instructors undertake work placements to develop their own experience whilst encouraging other disabled people to participate in leisure activities, hence, providing benefits for employers and customers too.

Louise and Sam swimming

Hilary Farmiloe, InstructAbility Manager at Aspire says,

“During our consultations, Nottingham City Leisure Services highlighted the demand for swimming teachers, so we have teamed up with the Institute of Swimming to deliver this new pilot programme. In the short term we hope these courses will provide more disabled people with training and employment in the leisure sector. Longer term we are working with governing bodies, training providers and employers to create sustainable solutions to increasing the diversity of the sector workforce.”

The fully funded programmes are open to disabled people who have experience in swimming or in using the gym. The training and work placements will take place within Nottingham City Leisure Centres.

Lauren Licietis, from Institute of Swimming said,

“We are extremely proud to be part of this project and hope to use insight gathered from the pilot to make careers in swimming more accessible.”

Disabled people who wish to apply for a course can get further details on the website and are encouraged to apply early due to the limited places available.

‘Tell Us About Your Care’ Partnership

Friday 22 September 2017

Disability Rights UK ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ partnership with the Care Quality Commission

Good care? Poor care? Tell us now

Disability Rights UK is working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as part of a new ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ partnership together with a number of national charities, including Mind, The National Autistic Society, Patients Association and the Relatives & Residents Association.

View leaflet

Disability Rights UK will be gathering feedback from disabled people who contact us about their experiences of using health and social care services.

Deputy CEO Sue Bott says:

“Disability Rights UK are delighted to be working with CQC as part of the Tell Us About Your Care Partnership.  We are pleased that through this initiative disabled people and people with long term health conditions will have the opportunity to tell the regulator about their experiences of the health and social care services they use, not only specialist services but services like GP surgeries that are used by everyone.”

The CQC website can be accessed here, and in the meantime you can also provide direct feedback to the CQC on your experience of using any of the services they regulate.

We’re working together to ensure health and social care services in England provide you with high quality care so tell us about your care.

Sign up for a Get Yourself Active learning event near you.

Wheels for Wellbeing’s Beyond the Bicycle Conference

Monday 18 September 2017

Wheels for Wellbeing are celebrating 10 years of enhancing disabled people’s lives through the many benefits of cycling with our first Beyond the Bicycle Conference.

Following the release of Public Health England’s report and their finding that not enough is being done to promote cycling and walking, Wheels for Wellbeing’s Beyond the Bicycle Conference is perfectly timed. With equalities legislation requiring public bodies to consider the needs of disabled cyclists, attend to gain a crucial update on how to meet this requirement.

This event offers practical strategies for removing barriers to cycling and increasing the numbers of disabled cyclists.

Join us to explore the transformative relationship between disability and cycling through topics such as:

  • Promoting inclusive cycling in your area and understanding its benefits
  • Recognising cycles as mobility aids
  • Making cycling infrastructure inclusive

With increased investment and ongoing efforts to make cities more cycle-friendly, this event explores how to best utilise resources in order to create an inclusive and accessible environment for all.

Speakers include:

Morning Chair: Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Rights UK

Afternoon Chair: Ruth Cadbury MP, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group

Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner
Rupert Furness, Head of Active and Accessible Transport, Department for Transport

Dr Justin Varney, National Lead for Adult Health & Wellbeing (Healthy People), Public Health England

Isabelle Clement, Director, Wheels for Wellbeing

Dr Andrew Boyd, GP, Clapham Park Group Practice and Clinical Lead, Physical Activity, Royal College of GP’s

Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport, University of Westminster and Chair, Policy Forum, London Cycling Campaign

If you are a disabled cyclists or individual campaigner interested in attending, please email us on:



Sign up for a Get Yourself Active learning event near you, and find out how we have been working with and for disabled people to get them more active.

WheelPower Primary Sports Camp

Monday 18 September 2017

WheelPower’s Primary Sports Camps are a great way for children aged 6-11 with a disability to discover sport in a safe, welcoming and friendly environment and all activity is adapted to suit your abilities. The Camps are a great way to make new friends, improve your health and have fun!

Date: Saturday 4th November 2017

Time: Registration is from 9.15am and the camp will finish at approximately 3.30pm.

LocationStoke Mandeville Stadium Guttmann Road Stoke Mandeville Aylesbury HP21 9PP United Kingdom.

There is plenty of accessible parking at the Stadium – make sure you give your vehicle registration number to reception and then parking is free all day! The Stadium also has accessible toilets and changing facilities

Cost: The entry fee is £9.00 per participant and £5.00 per parent and a lunch will be provided.​ Accommodation, if required, will be available on Friday and Saturday night at the Olympic Lodge, Stoke Mandeville Stadium at an additional cost.

The deadline for registration and camp payment is Friday 20th October 2017.

To book online via Eventbrite click here.

Click here to download a booking form.

For more information visit


British Blind Sport Have a Go Day Newcastle

Friday 15 September 2017

British Blind Sport will be running a fun, free, multi-sport event in Newcastle on Friday 27th October for local visually impaired and blind people. Working in partnership with Henshaws Newcastle, a number of sports and activities will be available to sample for free.

The event is open to everyone, no previous experience in sport or physical activity are necessary and family or friends are welcome to attend.

When and Where

Date: 27th October 2017

Time: 10:30-3pm

Venue: Walker Activity Dome, Wharrier Street, Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE6 3BR.

 Get Involved!

Register online please click here

For further details please telephone:  07917 388 172 or email

Sign up for a Get Yourself Active learning event near you, and find out how we have been working with and for disabled people to get them more active.

Contact a Family re-brands

Friday 8th of September 2017

Contact a Family has re-branded. The organisation to reach more people especially young families is now to be simply known as “Contact”. The re-branding and new look will make their information and online presence more accessible and bolster the support they provide families in those stressful early days.

To access their new look click here


Sign-up for a Get Yourself Active learning event near you

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Disability Rights UK and partners are holding a series of events across the country to share the learning from the Get Yourself Active (GYA) project. Project partners will share their experiences of developing better opportunities for disabled people to be more active. They will highlight their success through partnership work with disabled people’s user led organisations, social care, health and sport sector organisations. If this is your area of work, you can sign up for an event near you today.

About the event

  • Listen to presentations from GYA partners about their experience of coproducing with and for disabled people.
  • Learn about our key findings from evaluation and research carried out in partnership with OPM and the University of Birmingham.
  • Discuss how you might be involved in developing these approaches locally with colleagues from different sectors.

A full agenda, including the list of speakers will be available soon.

Areas of interest

  • Personal budgets, personal health budgets and the Care Act
  • Coproduction in design, development and delivery of physical activity and sport locally
  • The role of disabled people’s user led organisations in engaging with inactive disabled people
  • Outcomes of physical activity around independence, choice and control, health and wellbeing and community connections

Who should attend?

These events are for you if you are from a Disabled People’s User Led Organisation (DPULO), the health or social care sectors, or the sports sector, and you have an interest in early intervention and prevention approaches through physical activity, personalisation, co-production and involvement and wellbeing outcomes.

Event listings

North West – Manchester, 27 September 2017, 09.30 – 13.30

East – Peterborough, 2 October 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

Yorkshire – Leeds, 9 October 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

South West – Bristol, 10 October 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

South East – Southampton, 17 October 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

East Midlands – Leicester, 2 November 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

North East – Newcastle Upon Tyne, 9 November 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

West Midlands – Telford, 15 November 2017, 10.00 – 14.00

You can click here to sign up to your nearest event

We hope you can join us for a morning of interesting presentations and discussions, followed by a networking lunch. Find out more from Kirsty Mulvey, Engagement and Research Officer at Get Yourself Active by calling 020 7250 8112 or emailing



New joint fact sheet by DR UK and EFDS on Personalisation released

Disability Rights UK and EFDS have released a new fact sheet that provides information about the personalisation agenda and top tips on how to support disabled people to be active using personal budgets.

The fact sheet is the latest addition to a collection of engagement resources that advises organisations on how they can plan, target and deliver more appealing and accessible activities for disabled people. Disability Rights UK and EFDS hope this new resource will lead to more successful engagement ideas for disabled people to be and stay active for life.

The fact sheet covers the following topics:

  • What is the personalisation agenda?
  • What is a personal budget?
  • How do personal budgets link to being active?
  • Top tips for engaging personal budget holders and other disabled people in physical activity

Disability Rights UK supports personalisation and believes that independent living is about more than the care disabled people receive. It is about enhancing independence, wellbeing and quality of life. Being active is an important way to feel good, socialise and be part of the community.

For more information about personal budgets, visit Disability Rights UK website.

To access the new fact sheet: Supporting disabled people to be active using personal budgets click  DR UK EFDS Engagement Resource Personal Budgets