Get yourself active blog

We are looking for local authorities to collaborate with

Wednesday 31 January 2018

We are looking for local authorities (adult social care and public health) to collaborate with.

Disability Rights UK is working with local partners to increase opportunities for disabled people to get active through working with social care, health and public health colleagues across the country.

Sport England have funded the Get Yourself Active project for the last three years to build relationships across disabled peoples organisations, social care, health and the sport sector. We have made particular progress in improving outcomes for people in receipt of personal budgets and we are working towards demonstrating the impact of this on level of service use. Essentially, we believe that we can show that as a result of better approaches to knowledge and information about physical activity, people will start to use public services differently.

We have just announced that our project has been extended by one year starting from February 2018. In year four we would like to find areas with an interest in exploring this approach so that we can share our evidence base and models of practice as well as measure the impact of this.

Please do get in touch with Leanne Wightman at if any of the above interests you.

Save the Date: I Can Make a Pledge

Wednesday 31 January 2018

You are invited to the I Can Make a Pledge event on Tuesday 20 March 2018 to help celebrate the end of the first phase of the I Can Make It project, led by Disability Rights UK and funded by Comic Relief

Date: Tuesday 20th March 2018
Time: 10am start followed by networking lunch; optional afternoon workshops
Venue: Financial Times Office, One Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HL
Cost: Free of charge

The I Can Make It (ICMI) campaign by Disability Rights UK will come to the end of its first phase, funded by Comic Relief, in March 2018. The campaign was launched to create job opportunities for young disabled people by generating social value in the procurement of public services. See our website for more background information on the campaign

With the help of our Champions, all of whom are young disabled people, we have made significant progress to date. We’ve supported procurement teams and commissioners in several local authorities nationally with their social value policies and processes; met with MPs, Councillors and Mayors to gain political support; and we’ve evolved to offer support in social value to corporate businesses. We’ve left almost no corner of England untouched, having met with local authorities in the southwest through to the northeast…and that was just one week of the campaign! Our Champions have also progressed, gaining knowledge, confidence and skills.

The event:
All of this is fantastic and a credit to our Champions, but what really matters now is creating real jobs for real people. Until we see more young disabled people gaining and keeping employment as a direct result of the campaign, we won’t have achieved our desired outcome. The “I Can Make a Pledge” event is intended to bring together all the
friends we’ve made so far – in addition to inviting some new friends – as we come to the close of this first phase. We are asking all of the local authorities and businesses to either pledge a specific number of jobs for young disabled people, or pledge to make it a requirement of some of the services that they contract. We’ll be asking Mayors and Councillors for a pledge of more political support. Pledges can be made in advance of the event (see details below), or on the day. How and what you decide to pledge is up to you, but we will support you with your aims. The event will also be a fantastic opportunity to meet our Champions, chat to the ICMI and Disability Rights UK team, make new contacts and discuss ideas on getting more young disabled people into employment. We will also have some fantastic guest speakers. An agenda will be sent to confirmed guests nearer the time.

Please put the date in your diary now but above all, have a think about what your organisation can do to give young disabled people an opportunity to participate in your workforce. You can e-mail us anytime with your pledge or any queries at: or call us on 0207 250 8180

Formal invitations will follow in the New Year – please either share this message, or let us know of anyone else who you think may be interested in attending.

Disability Rights UK extends its thanks to The Financial Times for kindly hosting this event for us.

‘Being physically active has given me back a life worth living’.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

This week’s personal experience blog is written by Danny.

I wasn’t always a sporty person but when I was fourteen I took part in school rugby tournaments. Rugby led me to weight training which quickly took over and became my passion. I realised quickly that it was because the results were all down to me. I used the gym religiously with my training partner, and even came in third in an amateur body building contest in 1995. I had high hopes of further progression having found my ‘thing’; sadly it wasn’t to be.

My life changed between 1995 and 2013 when I experienced some mini strokes and kidney damage. I was diagnosed with a condition called Antiphospholipid Syndrome (Hughes Syndrome/APS or ‘sticky blood’) which is an autoimmune condition that causes the blood to clot. This affected my fine motor coordination, particularly in my hands and it caused me to temporarily lose the ability to talk.

After a long stay in hospital and rehab I started to manage my condition. I slowly got back to a new normal although my adjustment to my impairments was not without some difficulties. I naively thought I could pick up where I left off with the gym, but soon found out I would need to relearn some old habits because of my loss of coordination and other issues.

I was initially in denial when I thought about my attitude and ability to take part in sport. I felt I could just get past my condition and go back where I left off. I decided I’d try something different instead, so learned martial arts – not the smartest move when on blood thinners.

During the Christmas period of 2012 I came down with what I believed to be a bug/flu-type illness. I collapsed on my landing and next thing I remember I was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. The next two-three months were a blur, bouncing from neurological ward to a high dependency, intensive care unit. My APS had become an extremely rare catastrophic type (CAPS) which means several organs are directly impacted in very quick succession.

I lost my balance, coordination and speech and I still suffer from this today. My balance was so bad I couldn’t sit on a bed initially without toppling over or falling off. I felt very frustrated as to why I couldn’t now function as I did.

Day to day things felt impossible and were often terrifying. I had to learn the things I’d taken for granted most of my life all over again.

I was pleased to learn my physiotherapy could start after weeks on the neurological ward – finally I’ll be doing something physical again! Not so. My early rehab consisted of attempting to pass a sponge rugby ball around my waist back and forth… easy! Or so I thought.

I was very fortunate to go to a brain injury rehab unit to relearn some of these functions. I often say the hospital saved my life but the rehab unit gave me a life worth living. I felt I owed it to the staff and myself to achieve everything I could there. I cried when I met the rehab consultant begging him to give me a chance as I didn’t want to live trapped how I was.

I was sure I’d just go straight back into judo, as it gives me focus and an aim. I even did a group talk on judo at the rehab unit as my personal project exercise. The reality was however that I couldn’t sit, stand, walk or do anything particularly coordinated, just small things.

I wanted to get back into physical activity and sport because I always felt throughout that it wasn’t my time to go, that I had things I wanted to do. I felt cheated by my situation, not achieving what I felt I was capable of.

My competitive nature had stayed with me throughout and I knew early on that my ‘job’ was now my recovery and this was an investment in myself. Progress was slow but I did what I was taught and asked to do – and more – because I knew I’d only get out what I put in.

At the moment I do a balance of physical activities. I initially got back into swimming because I felt safe in the water and couldn’t fall over and hurt myself there. I progressed to attending the local council gym and using the exercise bike there. I get support from a brilliant support worker who helps me set and achieve my goals. One of those goals was to take part in a studio cycling (spinning) class within a few months – which I achieved and am very pleased with.

I am back regularly in the gym now and am aware of which exercises I can do now when switching between work stations. I also practice Tai Chi which I now hugely enjoy.

On discharge I managed to find a fantastic local teacher for one-to-one lessons who also had experience of brain injury. I still attend now and the progress it has made to my day-to-day life is massive. I can now stand upright without leaning with my back against the wall and i’m no longer experiencing violent twitches. I’ve learned so much about myself and have become much more self aware.

These three activities, Tai Chi, gym and spinning, make me ‘tick’ and I love them equally. I’ve learned about and appreciate the balance in what I now do.

My advice to other people who may find themselves in similar situation is that you should find and do something you enjoy first and foremost or you won’t stick with it. Being consistent is the key, be it healthy eating or exercise. So many people start something because they read or are told it’s good, often never enjoying it then quickly dropping out. If you enjoy it you stand a chance of sticking with it.

Being physically active has given me back a life worth living. During severe illness I complained all the time that I’d looked after myself, ate well, kept fit yet this had happened so what was the point? I remember a nurse, probably sick of my complaining, simply said to me, “Have you ever thought you might not still be here if you hadn’t?”

I stopped there and then. The ‘woah’ hit me and I just got on with it.

I’d tell anyone to take part in something they enjoy doing. If you are lonely maybe join a team or club. Sport has a way of boosting people up, it’s often social, and if you stick with whatever it is long enough you will learn something about yourself. I know. I have.

If you want to be featured on our personal expereince blogs then email

CQC Tell Us About Your Care project extended

Monday 29 January 2018

Disability Rights UK is pleased to announce the extension of our work with the Care Quality Commission as part of their ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ partnership.

Michael Paul from Disability Rights UK said:

“It’s vital that disabled people and those with long term health conditions can share their experience of using not only specialist services but also GP surgeries, dentists and the like. The partnership with CQC, who regulate these services, will ensure more disabled people are able to do so.”

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

NB please remember to select Disability Rights UK in the ‘how heard’ section!

Good Care, Poor Care. Tell us now

Good Care, Poor Care. Tell us now

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.

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.

Take part in our research about how disabled people think about physical activity and receive a £15 Amazon voucher.

We have moved!

Thursday 18 January 2018

Our new address is:

14 East Bay Lane,
Here East,
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park,
E20 3BS.

Registered Charity No.1138585.
Company No. 07314865.

How to find us:

Free shuttle buses run from Stratford underground, train and bus stations from 7am to 10.30pm. There are two pickup points for the shuttle bus:

  • Bus stop E outside Stratford International
  • Bus stop X just opposite Stratford City bus station

Find out more on the Plexal website

General enquiries

Office Number: 0330 995 0400

This line is not an advice line.





Media enquiries

07590 929441 (this number is for journalists only, it is not an advice or enquiry line)
Calls cost 10p to 20p per minute from a landline and 3p to 55p per minute from a mobile

Website enquiries


Social media

Here East Press Centre (Plexal is in this building) 

Here East Press Centre (Plexal is in this building)

Free shuttle buses run from Stratford underground, train and bus stations from 7am to 10.30pm. 

Free shuttle buses run from Stratford underground, train and bus stations from 7am to 10.30pm.

WheelPower invites you to join its Primary Sports Camp

Monday 15 January 2018

You are invited to WheelPower’s Feel Inspired Primary Sports Camp on Saturday 10th February at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

Passionate about sport? Want to try something new? Why not join WheelPower for their Feel Inspired Primary Sports Camp running on the 10th February at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Get active this winter, for more info see: or contact us on 01296 395995 or

If events like these are of interest to you, or you want to find out about disability sport opportunities in your area, then sign up for their FREE newsletter and receive updates straight to your inbox.

Like what you read? Sign up for the Get Yourself Active newsletter to receive updates and information on how you can get active.

Women’s Blind Football

Wednesday 10 January 2017

We revisit the latest stage of Laura Turner’s physical activity adventures, as she delves into the world of women’s football

What is blind-football?

A blind-football team is made up of 4 players and a sighted goalkeeper.

All players must wear eye-shades and the ball contains loose ball-bearings allowing players to locate the ball when moving.

Blind-football is currently a Paralympic sport and the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) supports and organises tournaments throughout the world.

What are the benefits of blind-football?

Not only does blind-football encourage you to be physically active, it also helps to improve your listening and communication skills, your ability to work as a team, your spatial awareness and your balance and flexibility. Additionally, blind-football is fantastic for your mental wellbeing; giving you the opportunity to meet new people and improve self-confidence both on and off the pitch.

Why should girls/women get involved in blind-football?

Blind-football for women and girls was launched in May 2017 with the aim being for countries to encourage active participation, develop players and eventually to form a national team.

Football is one of the most inclusive sports out there and we are fortunate to have dedicated and qualified coaches to support blind/visually impaired individuals to become better players.

Wearing a shirt, shorts, long socks and astro shoes really isn’t that bad! It’s all about the eye-shades and ball; encouraging an inclusive level playing field.

Adaptations are currently being developed and tested to help introduce the sport to youngsters, beginners and/or those who do not wish to play as part of a larger team.

It would be great if, in time, England had its very own blind women’s team! But for this to happen we need to encourage more women, and young girls, to get involved.

From a personal perspective; I once said ‘I won’t do blind-football because I don’t do football’! I have since learnt that whilst the same principles apply, blind-football is a very skilful sport and very special to the blind/visually impaired people. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the ability to kick a ball! Even if it takes time, no one says it’s easy but, it’s the taking part that counts!

So… whether you are a sporty individual or looking for a new challenge we’d love to hear from you!

Please contact Philippa Bass for more information on 07944194252 or

Don’t knock it till you’ve kicked it!

To read Laura’s previous Get Yourself Active blogs click the links below:

One year on volunteering with Get Yourself Active

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Get Yourself Active volunteer, Iyiola reflects back on his time spent with Get Yourself Active over the past year.

Iyiola at the start of his volunteering journey
Iyiola after 12 months of hard volunteering with the Get Yourself Active team









Remember me!  Almost a year ago I wrote a blog about my joining the Get Yourself Active project as a volunteer and  shared with readers my expectations of being a volunteer and the warmth I felt from the entire DR UK team. It’s been a really good time this past year; I went back to part time work but retained my role as a volunteer once a week because I really like being at Get Yourself Active.

What does a day look like at DR UK?

I get in around 11am and I am usually ushered in by K-boss who then settles me in, collects my taxi receipts for Ben to reimburse me and then makes the glorious coffee… L-boss is also often at hand to ensure I am comfortable with the tasks assigned to me. I enjoy the conversations with other DR UK staff too, especially with Ken who frequently shares a joke or two with me – by the way Ken is a master coffee maker too!

So what have I been doing this past year?

It surely wasn’t all spent just drinking coffee…just joking; I have been doing a lot, a lot of fun stuff.  I contributed a number of news articles and blogs on the GYA website and scheduled them for the project’s Twitter account. Learning to post articles and edit blogs was really empowering for me. In a previous career I put together e-newsletters and emailed them round to subscribers, but at GYA I was actually accessing the back end of the website and doing the technical tasks. For example, I learnt how to post articles and incorporate pictures in them and I also learnt how to link these stories to twitter. In the past few weeks I have also been helping Kate, who runs the Get Out Get Active project, to transcribe audio feedback and evaluation of her project. The process involves attentive listening which can sometime be frustrating, but in the end it has enhanced my communication skills – and we all know listening is huge part of a person’s communication skills.

The highlight of the year for me however was being involved in the ‘GYA on Tour’ series. The events were held in cities and regions across England and focused on lessons learnt so far, what is working and can be improved, and also what the sport, leisure and physical activities providers require to enable them engage effectively with disabled people. I really felt valued when I was asked whether I would like to participate and help out – of course my answer was yes and within days found myself in Peterborough to participate at the event there. I also participated at the event in London where I helped register people and provided my insight as a disabled person at one of the workshop tables.

As the project moves into the New Year I have told Leanne and Kirsty that I am happy to continue this journey with them and together champion the inclusion of disabled people in all community activities including sports, leisure and physical activities.

Finally as my latest photo show, I have grown a beard in solidarity with Ben and the operations manager!!!!

Like what you see? Click the below links to read more from Iyiola:

Take part in our research and receive a £15 Amazon Voucher

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham want to find out what you think about how information about physical activity and sport is presented to disabled people.

You can do this in your home. It would take in total about 15 minutes of your time.

The project

Disability Rights UK has partnered with University of Birmingham to conduct a study into how we produce knowledge and information about physical activity aimed at disabled people.

Our findings

Disability Rights UK has been working with partners in disabled people’s user led organisations to develop models of practice to support more disabled people to be active locally. The evidence we will gather from this research will help us to understand how disabled people want physical activity knowledge to be communicated.

Who should take part in the research?

We would like to hear from you…

  • If you consider yourself disabled and affected by one or more of the following impairments: amputation, spinal cord injury, restricted growth, Cerebral Palsy, visual impairment, hearing impairment
  • If you have been unable to take part regularly in physical activity or sport for a while
  • If you are over the age of 18

How to get involved

Get in touch with us if you are interested in taking part in our research and give us your name and the best way for the researcher to contact you. We will then arrange a time for you to take part in the research from your own home. Once your bit is done you will receive your £15 Amazon voucher. You may also randomly be selected to receive £100 Amazon Voucher!

Who to contact

Eva Jaarsma – Research Fellow at University of Birmingham


Read more about the partnership between Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham.

Accessibility Mark – Everything You Need to Know

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Here we take a closer look at Accessibility Mark, the scheme that is helping change people’s life through horse riding.

As Accessibility Mark continues to march forwards, the revolutionary scheme is helping more and more disabled people to get involved in sport and activities.

Here we delve into what Accessibility Mark really means to provide a better understanding and explain everything you need to know.

Accessibility Mark is helping to provide more opportunities for disabled riders.

Accessibility – Accessibility Mark is opening up more opportunities making horse riding more accessibility to a wider group of people.

Centres – There are currently 42 Accessibility Mark centres across the country.

Confidence – Riding has many benefits for both physical and mental health as well building confidence that can transfer into other areas of life through increased social interaction.

Equipment – Centres can take advantage of specialist or modified equipment to ensure the safety of both horse and rider.

Support – Accessibility Mark centres receive on-going support from a dedicated Accessibility Support Officer.

Synergy – The aim of the scheme is for both RDA Groups and Accessibility Mark centres to work in synergy together to provide the most productive strategy for every rider.

Inclusion – Accessibility Mark is actively encouraging inclusive equestrian sport.

Business Growth – In a tough economic climate, Accessibility Mark is providing equestrian centres with another avenue of revenue.

Involved – Through Accessibility Mark disabled people are being encouraged to get involved in sport and activities.

Learning – Integrating disability sport helps others including staff members and volunteers learn about the challenges faced by disabled people in everyday life.

Instructors – All instructors wishing to teach Accessibility Mark lessons are qualified to at least UKCC Level 2 or equivalent.

Training – All Accessibility Mark centres have to undergo training and assessment with the RDA. During the practical training there is a focus on different mounting and dismounting techniques, and lesson planning, to ensure instructors tailor the lessons to an individual’s needs.

Yes -get involved – Accessibility Mark would like more centres to say ‘yes’ and get involved. With RDA groups massively over-subscribed the scheme is helping bridge the gap.

Marketing – All Accessibility Mark centres are offered marketing support to help promote their accreditation and raise awareness of the scheme.

Accreditation – Upon meeting all the criteria and completing the training, centres receive an accreditation to officially recognise their Accessibility Mark status.

Riding – The physical benefits of riding can help improve posture, balance and coordination.

Knowledge – As centres form an affiliation with such a well-respected organisation as RDA, they benefit from the knowledge gained over 40 years of providing life-changing activities.

Accessibility Mark provides riding centres with access to valuable training and RDA resources.

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.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

In other news: Vacancy: British Blind Sport Trust and Foundations Officer