Get yourself active blog

6 Things You Need to Know About Accessibility Mark

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Accessibility Mark is opening doors for more disabled riders to participate in equine activities up and down the country. Here we find out more about the initiative that was launched to provide commercial riding centres with a recognised accreditation.

For some people horse-riding is more than just learning to ride, the activity is also therapy, helping to build strength and balance or improving their communication skills.

The benefits to mental and physical well-being are now much endorsed, with a recent study from the charity Mind, concluding that 80% of people said their mental health improved following exercise.

Accessibility Mark is helping to provide more opportunities for disabled riders, here we find out 6 things about the scheme that you might not know.

6 Things You Need to Know About Accessibility Mark

  1. Accessibility Mark is a Sport England funded project launched by Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participant project.
  2. The scheme gives riding centres, schools and clubs access to support and training from RDA so they can deliver new opportunities to the disabled community.
  3. Centres can gain a recognised accreditation from RDA promoting the fact they have received training and meet the required standards.
  4. There are currently 38 centres nationwide that have gained the Accessibility Mark stamp of approval and are encouraging those who do not already participate in equestrian activities or would not usually have the opportunity to do so, to experience the many benefits that riding and being around horses can bring.
  5. Accessibility Mark caters for riders with learning disabilities as well as physical disabilities, therefore during training emphasis is also placed on communication, teaching staff members how to effectively converse with people who have difficulties in this area.
  6. RDA provides access to their resources such as the RDA Tracker programme. The Tracker is a simple to use holistic tool to measure progress delivered through horse riding. These results can be used by coaches and therapists to tailor lessons accordingly for maximum benefit.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

Amilly Fitness is here!

Thursday 19 October 2017

Inspire Peterborough, Oak Activities and The Mobility Aids Centre have worked hard to create our very own inclusive health and wellbeing centre, one that’ll cater to everybody!

Based in Stanground, Peterborough they are providing the perfect go-to destination for all of Peterborough and the nearby villages. Excited to know more? Read on!
WE CAN NOW ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WILL BE OPENING ON 1 NOVEMBER 2017 with two action-packed days a week for you to enjoy!

Earlier this summer we hosted an open day that SAW a near 100 people – including the Mayor and a television actress – come and check out not only what we will have to offer, but share their views and ideas also.

Once you enter the doors at Amilly Fitness you will have the chance for an all-inclusive workout, you can have fun and take part in classes. Also, it’s a chance to meet new people, set up a routine to live your week by, and yes, we’ll have refreshments on offer. So whether you’re looking to add something to your weekly schedule, or you want to meet new people, Amilly Fitness will be providing a platform for you to do both with.

Tom of Oak Activities insisted there’d be something for everyone to enjoy, saying,

“for the seated exercise class; aimed at 50+ and adults with disabilities. This fun class which is aimed at all levels and abilities: focus on strength and conditioning and the major muscles groups. The aim of the class is to improve balance, strength and movement in arms, legs and hands.”

Looking for more reasons to come and see what Amilly Fitness has to offer? Tom further added

“We want the gym to offer something other gyms do not offer – a non judgemental place for adults to come and improve their fitness without feeling self-conscious. A safe and welcoming gym where people can get fitter then have a cup of tea with friends.”

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect place to come and spend your Mondays and Wednesdays? We think so! With our fully-trained gym staff, our Inspire team located nearby, and much, much more, you’ll have an experience that’ll keep you coming back for more for just £2 per session.

We also have room for you to join the team in some capacity. If you’re looking to gain some experience or add a new reference to your CV then Amilly can help you. We’re always on the look-out for both gym instructors and refreshment assistants. Contact us or you want to meet new people and gain new skills.

Stay tuned to our social media for all updates, timetables, vacancies and much, much more.

This is quite simply just the beginning, and although we’re already giving you a lot to keep you entertained, we’re aiming to grow with your demands, preferences and needs.

Kenneth from Inspire is adamant that Amilly Fitness will be like nothing that went before it.

“People want a place they can visit that will refresh and reinvigorate them both mentally and physically”, he said. “Amilly Fitness will be just that. I myself was a carer for my Mother, and a place like this would’ve been not only beneficial for her, but carers like myself”,

he continued.

“We wanted to create something unique, something that would get the city of Peterborough and the surrounding areas talking. I think we’ve done just that and on November 1st you will all get to see what the entire team has spent months working on. I, for one, can’t wait to welcome you the Amilly Fitness family”,

Kenneth concluded.


Who are we? Amilly Fitness, part of Inspire Peterborough an inclusive and disability sport project of Disability Peterborough

Where are we? Amilly House, Stanground, by The Mobility Aids Centre 88 South Street, Stanground, PE2 8EZ

How to book? Visit or for group bookings please call Inspire on 01733 330815

Further information? If you want to know anything at all then email Inspire Peterborough on, visit our facebook page/amilly-fitness, or call Inspire on 01733330815 or Tom Milner from Oak Activities on 07342036029!

Has becoming active helped you? Why not share your story with us by emailing or read other people’s personal experiences here.

Free wheelchair dance talent development programme

Friday 13 October 2017

Wheelchair dance is recognised by the International Paralympic Committee and people compete all around the world. Supported by the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund, we are delighted to announce a FREE 9-week wheelchair dance development programme for people interested in competing or performing.

The course will be led by a world-leading wheelchair dance champion who will take participants through the different Latin and Ballroom dances, developing technical and creating skills. You don’t need a dance partner.

Whether you compete in other wheelchair sports and want to challenge yourself in a new field or just love to dance – we will support you to develop your potential and progress along a competitive pathway. Former dance experience is helpful but not required.

Places are limited and must be reserved in advance.

To book visit:

Or call: 07976 363861

Want to know more about how to get disabled people active? Sign up to one of our Get Yourself Active Learning Events.

Cambridge: Make your sports sessions inclusive

Friday 13 October 2017

Adapted Sports Course at Cherry Hinton Village LC – 16th November 2017

Disability Sports Coach is delivering an ‘Adapted Sports Course – coaching disabled people’ with to 20 spaces available. The course is ideal for coaches, support workers, teachers, volunteers and anyone working with disabled people, who want to make sport or activities inclusive.

The course covers both theory and practical experiences including:

  • An introduction to disability awareness
  • Practical experience of Paralympic an Adapted Sports such as Boccia, Goalball, Table Cricket, Polybat & New Age Kurling including setting up and using the equipment, rules, game tactics and coaching scenarios
  • Principles of how to adapt and modify activities for different impairment groups with practical scenarios and tasks

The course is fully accredited by SkillsActive and all attendees receive an Adapted Sport Training Guide and a certificate of attendance on the day.

Course Information

  • Thursday 16th November from 11.30 – 5pm
  • Cherry Hinton Village Leisure Centre, Coville Road, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, CB1 9EJ
  • £130 + booking fee

Book your place with a few simple clicks today! 

Want to know more about how to get disabled people active? Sign up to one of our Get Yourself Active Learning Events.

Specialist Equipment Helping Accessibility Mark Riders

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Here with the help of Accessibility Mark we take a look at some of the specialist equipment commercial riding centres use when providing lessons for disabled riders.

Horse riding has many benefits for disabled people and for those with conditions that effect communication, physical strength and balance.

Part of the foundations for the success of Accessibility Mark is down to the horses and ponies that are required to quickly adapt between riding lessons for clients in a commercial riding school and the disabled riders during an Accessibility Mark session.

Due to certain conditions riders can at times struggle to grip the reins properly or use the reins to balance, this is where centres can take advantage of specialist or modified equipment to ensure the safety of both horse and rider.

Wherever possible it is recommended that regular equipment should be used, but there are a number of useful pieces of equipment for those who need them.

During the initial training to become an Accessibility Mark centre, the ASO (Accessibility Support Officer) will introduce staff to a number of simple aids, as well as training on how to use each piece effectively to the benefit of the horse, rider and coach.

Correct use of the reins is one of the most important steps in learning to ride in order to communicate with the horse. Most novice riders will use their hands to balance when they first start learning, which can be uncomfortable for the horse; this is even more problematic for riders with poor core strength.

There are a wide range of specially adapted reins that can help riders to be more effective with rein control where function, grip, strength and hand and arm position may be compromised.

Rainbow reins are one of the most popular choices widely used for riders who lack concentration and are good for teaching the correct contact. The different colours help to achieve even rein length and can improve awareness when trying to prevent the reins from slipping through the hands; they are also easy to pick up when dropped by selecting the same coloured section.

Rainbow reins are one of the most popular choices, helping to teach the correct contact and are good for riders who lack concentration.

Rainbow reins can be used in conjunction with coloured mounted games equipment such as bean bags, poles and balls. For riders with learning disabilities, the coloured equipment is a simple tool in teaching colours and to follow patterns.

One centre using specialist equipment to great effect is Wrea Green Equitation Centre, based in Preston, who have even make extra modifications to meet their rider’s needs.

Owner Chris Pollitt explains how this modification is helping riders and ensuring the welfare of the horses and ponies: “We ask our saddler to remove the billet fastenings from the rainbow reins and replace them with a clip that can easily be attached and removed from the bit. When we are teaching a rider to steer we would attach the reins to the headcollar to remove pressure from the pony’s mouth, with a leader in control of the pony and in some cases two assistants either side.”

Other reins that can be used are ladder reins, looped reins and bar reins. Ladder reins are ideal for riders with poor strength in their hands or riders that need to control the horse with the wrist or elbow joint if hand grasp is non-functional.

Looped reins have several loops sewn to the inside of plain leather reins, that are large enough for the whole hand to slip in and out easily, meaning that reining can be done the with wrist, back of the hand or elbow. Bar reins provides a means for one handed riders to have improved contact.

Other pieces of equipment to help a disabled rider achieve their riding goals include bunny ears and a balance handle which both attach to the D ring on the saddle. Holding the Bunny ears or balance strap instead of the reins puts the rider in a better position, improving balance and security in the saddle.

Bunny ears improve balance and security in the saddle.

Kay Padfield, owner of Church Farm Equestrian, near Bristol said:

“We have riders that can’t grip the reins but who can grip the bunny ears, also some of our autistic riders won’t hold the reins properly or just let go suddenly, so it is in the interest of the horse for us to have control and for the rider to hold on to the ears. The suede texture of the ears can also be more appealing for some riders to hold.”

Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that it can offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure it provides a first-class experience that aims to be hugely beneficial.

There are currently 38 Accessibility Mark approved-centres across the country.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

Sign up to one of our Get Yourself Active learning events here.

Sport England Job Vacancy: Senior Manager Disability

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Sport England is looking for an outstanding individual to join its disability team to help deliver its new strategy, Towards an Active Nation.

Closing date: Thursday 12 October 2017

Sport England’s vision is that everyone in England, regardless of age, background or level of ability, feels able to engage in sport and physical activity. Nearly half of all disabled people do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week and only 42% reach the recommended amount of physical activity each week. We need to change this and you can help us do that.

In Towards an Active Nation we are prioritising demographic groups who are currently under-represented in terms of their engagement with sport and physical activity. This includes many different groups such as women, older people, disabled people, and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

We are looking for a Senior Manager to join our high performing disability team, which is part of a new directorate leading on inactivity. You will also work closely with other directorates and teams across Sport England to make sure that we deliver effectively to disabled people across all areas of our work.

The role will have responsibility for leading on several relationships with key partners to influence these stakeholders in relation to the delivery of our disability ambitions as set out within our strategy.

You will also be responsible for overseeing some of our existing disability investment programmes, ensuring these have the greatest impact possible and increase the number of people engaged in sport and physical activity.

We are looking for someone who has significant experience of disability and has worked on projects or programmes that have influenced disabled people. An ability to successfully project manage is essential. However most important of all is the ability to manage relationships and successfully influence change at a senior level to deliver strategic outcomes.

Interested? Discover more by visiting for further information or to apply.

Sport England actively promotes diversity in employment and sport and welcomes applications from all parts of the community.

Full Time, Permanent / £37,336 (London), £33,256 (National) plus generous package

Senior Manager Disability job pack download