Get yourself active blog

Reaction to the latest report on the Active Lives Survey by Sport England: Is no change a good thing?

Leo Capella provides his take on the third report from Sport England’s biannual Active Lives Survey. This survey is about people across England doing physical activity from November 2016 to November 2017 and had 200,000 people who responded to it.

These results reported no change in the activity levels of people with disabilities. For instance 43% of people with disabilities are inactive (getting less than 30 minutes moderate to intense physical activity per week) as opposed to 21% of people without disabilities. This statistic fits in with the wider message of the report: No change in the level of activity of adults across England, whether they have disabilities or not.

People walking which is the main form of physical activity for people in England. According to the Active Lives Survey report 18.6 million people walk for leisure and 4.5 million walk for travel.

It could be worse I suppose.

Although the Active Lives Survey is a relatively new one in that its initial results were only released last year there was no fall in the amount of people with disabilities being active. Had there been one it would have flown in the face of the huge amount of activity around disabled people in sport going on across England. In fact over my first three weeks in post I’ve been impressed by just how much activity across England is going on either to help more people with disabilities become more physically active or sports events. This includes the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships that were held on the 17th and 18th of April or an upcoming masterclass in wheelchair ballroom dancing. So there are positives in the report.

However equally the position of people with disabilities could be better though.  The gap in activity between people with one impairment and those with none is currently 13% with the gap in inactivity being 11%. And that gap in inactivity increases the more disabilities a person has. So aside from being on the autistic spectrum I’ve got tinnitus in my right ear which means instead of being part of a group with 33% inactivity I’m part of one with 42% percent level of inactivity which isn’t good. And the inactivity rate rises even higher with three impairments.

So there’s work to be done because there’s a positive case for more people becoming physically active:  The more physical activity you do the more mentally healthy you are.  This is shown by a question in the same survey where people were asked how strongly they agreed to “whether they are satisfied with their life nowadays”. People whether disabled or not who classed as active had an average score of 7.2, compared to people who were fairly in active who had a slightly lower average of 7.0 and people who were classified in active scored a further 0.5 point less meaning they were less mentally healthy.

To conclude we should think of the latest results from the Active Lives Survey as a solid platform to increase levels of participation. Instead of treating them as a case of that time honoured adage: no news is good news.

The fourth Active Lives Survey report will be released in October this year. Hopefully by then we can celebrate an increase in activity levels for people with disabilities instead of just continuing to acknowledge the same increasingly old figure.

In other news:If you’d like to see our views on the results from the previous Active Lives Survey then go here.   

Simone Illger, aged 55 shares her experiences of discovering the benefits of exercise

Thursday 26 April 2018

Our latest personal experiences story at Get Yourself Active comes from Simone Illger, who writes a blog called Flidfit which is about her journey as a disabled person to losing weight and keeping fitter.

I’ve had my disability from birth, caused by a drug that my Mother took for morning sickness – Thalidomide.  It caused unborn babies limbs and internal organs to stop developing.  As a result, I have arms shortened to elbow length with only three fingers on each hand.  My shoulder, knee and hip joints are all affected.

My disabilities have significantly impacted on my mobility.  The fact that I am able to walk at all is surprising, but the mechanics of how I walk requires a huge amount of energy and causes significant pain and discomfort in my hips and lower back.  The problems I have weren’t helped by a complicated ankle injury sustained in a head on car crash in 2002.

I have never enjoyed sports or exercise in any form.  At school, I was forced to participate in games sessions, but they were endured, not enjoyed.  In my twenties, I tried things like step aerobics, but this kind of regimented class exercise just wasn’t my thing.

In 2012 at the age of 49, I set myself a mission of losing some of the additional weight I was carrying.  I am only 4ft 9” and weighed 14 stone.  The extra weight wasn’t helping my mobility at all.

After having lost over 2 stone in a year, I wanted to introduce exercise to speed up the process.

I started gradually, initially with an hours swimming session once a week at a disabled swimming session.  I soon wanted to do more, so booked a session with a personal trainer to explore exercises I was able to do.  I bought myself some small items of exercise equipment and set up a small gym inside my garage at home.  I could exercise regularly without leaving home, whatever the weather – and what’s more, it was free.  I started to exercise for an hour to two hours about 3-4 times a week and became the most physically fit I had ever been in my life by the age of 51.  Although I found it hard to admit, I found the exercise sessions enjoyable.

Over the past 2 years, I have been getting increasing amounts of pain in my lower back and hips.  After MRI and other investigations, it appears that the problems stem from the degeneration of my lower spine caused by my abnormally shaped hip joints.  I don’t have regular ball and socket joints and the mechanics of my walking mean that muscles, tendons and ligaments are being overworked.

Supported by the consultant I am under at the Royal National Orthopeadic Hospital, I decided to try and combat the pain through non-weight bearing exercise rather than with pain killers.  I don’t take any medication on a regular basis and I would really prefer not to.

I have been trying out a special anti-gravity treadmill which is designed so that a percentage of my body weight is supported by an air-filled chamber that my lower body/legs are sealed into.  The chamber is inflated or deflated to varying degrees, so I exercise at 80% of my body weight.  I am able to move without any of the aches and pains I usually get and more importantly, I can keep walking fairly briskly for 30 minutes.

Without access to the treadmill, I struggle to walk for even 5 minutes before I need to rest and stretch my back and I am also prone to over balancing and falls.

I completely understand why people are unwilling to walk or exercise at all if they are in pain – but walking and movement are crucial to helping with that pain and to maintain joint health.  I am building up the muscles that support my whole body structure, developing the under-used muscles to take some of the strain off muscles that are over-used.

I presently walk on the treadmill once a week for 30 minutes and combine that with an hour of prescribed strength training exercise three times a week.  These exercises have been devised for me by the sports therapist at the Pain Clinic that I’ve been attending.  They target specific problem areas – my neck, hips, shoulders and aim to even up muscle imbalances.  Most of the exercises are done sitting on a gym ball or lying on the floor.  Getting on and off the floor is a good exercise in itself for me, but it is getting much easier.

In other news: if you would like to follow in simones’ footsteps and share your story with us then please look at this post for more information on what we’re looking for.   

English Federation of Disability Sport changes name to Activity Alliance

Thursday 26 April 2018

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is delighted to announce our new name. A first of many milestones in the charity’s 20th anniversary year, from Thursday 26 April 2018 EFDS will be operating as Activity Alliance.

Commenting on the new name, Barry Horne Chief Executive of Activity Alliance said:

“We are the same team with the same passionate focus on disability, inclusion and sport, but with an exciting new name and image. Through our work with amazing people and influential world-renowned activity programmes for disabled people, we know the time is right for us to embrace this change.

“Activity Alliance brings our members, partners and disabled people together to make active lives possible. Collectively, we continue to challenge perceptions and change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.”

A brand identity has been developed to support the organisation’s new name and wider remit, which is being introduced a few months ahead of the charity’s 20th anniversary in September.

The change follows a thorough strategic review that included research about the charity’s purpose and its impact. As part of the review, the charity carried out stakeholder consultations with staff, member organisations, disabled people and partners.

The feedback consensus was that the original name, ‘English Federation of Disability Sport’ limited the organisation’s potential.

The review concluded that a new direction and wider remit were needed around well-being, activity and health, creating the opportunity for the charity to deliver greater impact for disabled people.

Find more information on Activity Alliance on our refreshed website and (live during 26 April 2018).

In other news: The West Midlands Combined Authority has issued a call for evidence about disability and sport.  

World Snooker Disability Day 2018

Tuesday 24 April 2018

World Snooker Disability Day will once again be staged during the Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield on Wednesday 25th April 2018.

With activities to run throughout the day at the ‘Cue Zone’, situated at the Winter Garden, close to the Crucible Theatre, the event aims to raise awareness of disability snooker and encourage people with disabilities to participate in snooker as either players, fans or officials.

The event is jointly organised by World Snooker and World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), a body established in 2015 which has to date hosted 13 world disability snooker events across the UK and mainland Europe. The long-term goal for the WDBS is to see snooker return to the Paralympics, at which snooker was one of its founding sports and was held most recently in 1988.

Cue Zone activities

Under the guidance of WPBSA World Snooker coaches Steve Rutter and Ian McAllister, the day will see regular WDBS competitors demonstrating their skills in matches against members of the general public, both in individual and doubles matches.

There will also be a session staged with members of Sheffield Mencap and disability snooker will be featured throughout the day’s BBC coverage, including footage from last month’s Belgian Open in Bruges.


For the second consecutive year World Snooker Disability Day will form part of the #Cue4All initiative organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, which aims to promote the inclusive nature of snooker and billiards.

If you cannot make it to the Crucible on the day, you can be part of the celebrations by hosting open days at your club, offering free taster sessions, running snooker challenges, promoting your community snooker sessions and sharing stories on social media about the groups or individuals who access your snooker facilities.

To follow and get involed in the action on Twitter, you can follow or tag in the hashtag #Cue4All so that WPBSA can share your inclusive activities during this year’s Betfred World Championship.

In other news:Free Wheelchair Ballroom Masterclass with World Champion Pawel Karpinksi

Tech4Good Award seeks accessible tech projects

21 April 2018

Digital inclusion charity AbilityNet is on the hunt for inspiring tech projects using tech to transform the lives of disabled people for this year’s Tech4Good Awards.

The AbilityNet Accessibility Award is one of eight categories open for entry as part of the 2018 Tech4Good Awards, organised by AbilityNet and sponsored by BT.

Now in its 8th year, the awards recognise organisations and individuals who create and use technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place.

Past winners of the Accessibility Award include Lifelites, which provides tech equipment and support to children with life-limiting conditions in UK children’s hospices. It was the first ever winner of the Accessibility Award in 2011.

Lifelites CEO Simone Enefer-Doy, said:

“Winning the Accessibility Award was a pivotal moment for us. I realised that we weren’t just a start-up; here we were, being told by our peers that there was something very worthwhile about what we did. It’s helped us to sell our cause to potential funders and has helped us continue to grow and help more children and their families.”

Last year’s winner was Bristol Braille Technology, who have created an affordable Braille e-reader for blind people called Canute, designed with and by the blind community.

Other past winners include Open BionicsWayFindrBarclays Bank and LexAble . They all demonstrate creative ways that tech can change people’s lives.

Entries are judged by an expert panel of judges who have worked across the technology, digital and charity sectors and have the unenviable job of narrowing down 250+ entries to just 28 finalists.

Entries for the Tech4Good Awards close on 8 May. The awards are free to enter and are open to any individual, business, charity, social enterprise or other public body with a base in the UK.

If you would like to enter, visit the Tech4Good website.

In other news: the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has issued a call for evidence about disability and sport – in a bid to get people moving more on a daily basis.THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING ANY EVIDENCE IS FRIDAY 11th MAY.

Re-creating London Marathon 2018 by Iyiola Olafimihan

Friday 20th April 2018

Iyiola is a volunteer on the Get Yourself Active project and here shares his plans on this Sunday London Marathon

I have always wanted to participate in the annual London marathon and this year a group of us wheelchair users are joining in on the fun.

However, we will not be taking the usual routes through the streets of London like the other participants. We plan to do our own version of the marathon by wheeling round a popular huge park near my house.

You may want to ask, why the park? Why not join the thousands of people on the streets of London and become famous! Well, the answer to that is we have never done this before and we wanted to start in a familiar environment. Some of my friends also prefer to start small because they said they don’t have the confidence yet to hand cycle on the streets. We know adequate provision must have been made by the organisers to make the event inclusive but when you have never done it before, I suppose getting yourself active to identify with others in the park is the next best thing to the real thing.

So, I have called up my non-disabled friends and family to join us this Sunday to organise our own London marathon in a park! For me and my friends it will be the first time to participate in an organised event that will keep us active and identify with an international event taking place in our great city. We are not raising funds for any charities (maybe next year if the group are up for it we may) but just doing our thing instead of sitting at home watching others on TV.

We are a bit disorganised this year but if we enjoy it we might just plan 2019 to be better. We might even take to the streets and join others to get active and raise funds for whatever or whoever we want to raise funds for – it could even be to draw attention to an issue if permitted by the organisers.

London marathon in a park, why not? It’s all about getting yourself active.

The London Marathon will be shown on BBC 1 on Sunday 22 April from 8:30am

In other news: Good luck to Anthony and all the other runners taking part in the London Marathon this Sunday.

I’m looking forward to hearing the crowds cheer me on

20th April 2018

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) website features a blog post every Friday throughout the year. This Sunday (22nd April) will see over 50,000 professional and amateur runners take on the London Marathon course. One runner tackling the 26 mile and 385 yard course is 25 year old Anthony Hornby. Today, Anthony tells us how hard he has been training for his second London Marathon and how being active helps his mind stay clear and focused.


Hi I’m Anthony, I’m 25 years old and live in Holyport, Berkshire. I have Oral Dyspraxia and Dyslexia, along with some learning difficulties.

I’ll be running my second London Marathon on Sunday and I’m doing it in aid of SportsAble – a disability sports club that encourages disabled people to be their best at one or many different types of sport. I’m a longstanding member and it’s here that I first gave athletics a go. In fact in the autumn of 2016 the staff at SportsAble encouraged me to take part in the Windsor Half Marathon.

I took to the training plan quite well and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. My finishing time at that event was good, so since then I went on to do other Half Marathons and the London Marathon. My motivation to take part in the London Marathon purely came from finding out that it is one of the world’s marathons to take part in, so I just had to do it and I’m really pleased to be running it again.

I love running, it gives you that freedom to be yourself and to set goals and achieve them. I also enjoy taking part in other sports at SportsAble. I play pool for the club team, I golf and assist our disabled golfers each week, plus I enjoy rifle shooting and since taking this sport on seriously I have become a range officer. I have always been a very sporty individual but rugby is my favourite sport. I play for the Maidenhead Rugby Club, at which I’ve been a member at for a long time.

I really enjoy feeling fit, strong and capable and taking part in these activities helps me maintain that feeling.

It used to be that walking helped my mind stay clear and focused. Whenever I was feeling confused or overwhelmed I would go for a walk. Now I run regularly and I find that it helps me remain calm. It helps me feel in control of my life too and I feel I can do anything.

So, what I began to realise is that playing a sport or running makes me feel fantastic. I do get tired sometimes but I just focus on the goals I am setting and make sure I eat more!

My training for the London Marathon has gone well. I’ve been training with the Maidenhead Athletic Club as some members are also doing it and I’ve run three half marathons over the past couple of months as well.

I’m gearing myself up for the day itself, which I’m really looking forward to now – I really love the atmosphere. I’ve got my running number now and can’t wait to go to the Expo at the ExCel Centre to pick up my running pack.

My goal is to beat last years’ time of 4 hours and 12 minutes. I’m looking forward to hearing the crowds cheer me and the other runners on. My family will be there on the day as well!  They are brilliant at supporting me so it will be great to see them there cheering me on.

I’m also quite active on Twitter, so usually before an event I’ll use social media to connect with people and share my training and results – the support I receive this way is really heart-warming too.

I have several half marathons lined up for the rest of the year, then in the autumn the rugby season starts again so I’ll be focusing on the new season.

My advice to other disabled people wanting to take part in sport or get active is – just give a go. Find a sport that is for you and if you can, join somewhere like SportsAble.

The London Marathon will be shown on BBC 1 on Sunday 22 April from 8:30am. Follow Anthony’s London Marathon journey via his Twitter channel @AnthonyGamerUK.

In other news: Good luck to Anthony and all the other runners taking part in the London Marathon this Sunday. On saturday 16th june the 42nd metro athletics open will be held at mile end stadium. 

Effective Communication: Coaching Deaf People in Sport

Friday 20th April

 On 15th May between 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm a workshop is being held in Peterborough that will enhance Your Communication Skills AND Meet the Needs of Deaf Participants.

Developed in partnership with UK Deaf Sport and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) this is an interactive workshop delivered by UK Coaching that will help develop your communication skills, so you can fully include deaf people of all ages. It’s very likely that at some point you’ll coach an individual who is deaf. Delivered by coaches who are deaf themselves this workshop will give you the confidence to include them in your sessions alongside your hearing participants. What’s more this workshop will help you develop your non verbal communication skills so your day-to-day coaching sessions will improve.

By the end of the Workshop you will:

  • be aware of deafness and understand the barriers facing deaf people in sport
  • have developed your own communication skills and be able to use them effectively in any coaching session
  • be aware of and understand the pathways for deaf sport to encourage deaf participants to aim high
  • be able to develop an action plan to include deaf people in your coaching session

To Book: Online with Living Sport at

Any Questions: Contact Rebecca Evans on 849929, or 07739 655062

For more information including on how to get to the venue please look at the original article at Inspire Peterborough.

In other news: The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course

Free Wheelchair Ballroom Masterclass with World Champion Pawel Karpinksi

Tuesday 17th April 2018

This masterclass will be held from 12-1pm on Wednesday 9th of May at Sadlers Wells, Lilian Baylis Studio. Places are limited, please book your space via 020 7863 8000.

Fusion is the UK’s first inclusive Latin and ballroom dance showcase by disabled and non-disabled artists, presented by Step Change Studios at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio at 8pm on Wednesday 9 May 2018.

Fusion will see wheelchair world dance champion Pawel Karplinski and his dance partner perform together for the first time in the UK. Pawel began dancing at the age of 11. He is passionate about dance and teaching. Pawel has amassed national, European and World championship medals in wheelchair Latin and Ballroom dance.

Step Change Studios are providing a rare opportunity to participate in a free wheelchair ballroom dance masterclass led by Pawel from 12-1pm on 9th May. All ages and abilities welcome.

 In other news:Step Change Studios invite you to attend their first professional showcase.

Goalball UK launches National Schools Competition Programme

17th April 2018

Goalball UK is launching its first National Schools Competition Programme, thanks to an unprecedented funding grant from BBC Children in Need. The grant of nearly £100,000 will support the delivery of after school goalball activities and competitive opportunities for children with visual impairments.


Goalball UK is the national governing body for the only sport specifically created for blind and partially sighted people. They aim to raise the profile of the sport throughout the UK, promote participation at all levels and achieve success on the international stage.

The sport has been awarded a grant of nearly £100,000 to deliver a new National Schools Competition Programme for blind, partially sighted and disadvantaged children and young people.

The programme will work with children aged under 11, all the way up to under 18s, improve coaching within schools and provide competitive opportunities through the new programme.

Mark Winder, Chief Executive Officer of Goalball UK, said: 

“We’re thrilled to receive such a generous grant from BBC Children in Need and can’t wait to get this new programme under way. All too often visually impaired (VI) children and young people struggle to find challenging and enjoyable activities.

“70% of the estimated 25,000 blind and VI children in the UK are in mainstream school. But it is a sad reality that many do not have equal access to sport in school due to their additional needs – isolating them from their peers and denying them the skills, exercise and psychological benefits of team sport.

“We hope this new initiative will go some way to addressing this issue by making goalball accessible to both sighted and VI children in a school setting. As the sport is played with blackout goggles, anyone can participate, allowing VI and non-VI people to compete on an even playing field.”

Mark continues:

“The ambition is to build on after-school engagement to create regional and, eventually, national tournaments so we can give disadvantaged children the chance to compete in world class venues.

“BBC Children in Need is an inspirational charity. I would like to thank them for believing in us and look forward to working with them to transform even more lives.”

Isabel Farnell, Regional Head of the North at BBC Children in Need said:

“It’s fantastic news that we have awarded new funding to projects like Goalball UK. Over the coming months, this project will work with disadvantaged children and young people in the local community to make a tangible and lasting difference to their lives.”

Goalball was originally devised as a rehabilitation programme for blind and partially sighted soldiers returning from World War II.  Since then, the sport has grown in popularity and there are now 11 extra domestic tournaments on the annual Goalball UK event calendar.

For more information about Goalball and the new National Schools Competition Programme, visit Goalball UK website.

In other news: Sense Sport Job Opportunity – Regional Sports Coordinator (London)

Commonwealth Games gold medalist cheers on future para-swimming stars

17th April 2018

Over 100 young para-swimming hopefuls from across the country showed form this weekend (14-15 April 2018) at the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships. Commonwealth Games’ champion, Alice Tai, fresh from her gold and silver medal success on the Gold Coast, cheered them on in Southampton.

Picture by Richard Blaxall/ – 14/04/2018 – Swimming – EFDS National Junior Para Swimming Champs – The Quays, Southampton, England – Louise Storey of Hoddesdon in action during the Women’s Open 100m Freestyle

The event saw swimmers aged between 10-18 years old compete in the short course event.

Amongst swimmers celebrating personal bests and medal winning performances, Colchester’s Ellie Challis broke a British record in the SB2 50m Breaststroke (classification for physical impairments). She bettered her own time last recorded at last year’s National Para-Swimming Championships in Manchester, with 1.15.57. She commented:

“I feel really good about beating my own record in the SB2 50m Breaststroke. However, my biggest achievement was knocking 10 seconds off my personal best in the 50m Backstroke.”

Competitors also had the opportunity to meet special guest Alice Tai. She joined a packed crowd after returning from a successful Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. There she won a gold in the S9 100m Backstroke and a silver in the S9 100m Freestyle. Tai began her competitive swimming career in this pool and went on to take part in this national junior event. This weekend’s swimmers were delighted to have her support. She commented:

“It’s really nice being back here at the Quays in Southampton. I remember having my first ever meet here back in 2010, so it was literally the very start of my journey.

“To be able to host events like the National Junior-Para Swimming Championships with so many young para-swimmers is really important. It makes everyone realise there is a community within para swimming and these young swimming hopefuls are experiencing their first steps into that.

“My advice to these junior para-swimmers would be to just enjoy it because nobody can take that away from you.”

Picture by Richard Blaxall/ – 14/04/2018 – Swimming – EFDS National Junior Para Swimming Champs – The Quays, Southampton, England – Local swimmer Alice Tai returns from the Commonwealth Games for England with a Gold Medal in the 100m Backstroke S10 and a Silver Medal in the 100m Freestyle S9

Para-swimmer Ellen Stephenson, one of the competitors from the weekend said:

“My Saturday afternoon swimming went much better than the morning as I wasn’t using all my power but overall I’m happy with my performance. I came away with four S14 group bronze medals and two personal bests!

“It’s really important to come to events like this one as it gives me a chance to show what I can do. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting other people. It was really good meeting Alice Tai. She gave me some really good advice and encouragement.”

The event, organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and supported by Swim England, was the first time Southampton hosted the event. The unique partnership between these two organisations aims to increase the opportunities and talent development of young disabled swimmers. Organisers were also proud to work with SOS as an event supporter.

EFDS is a national charity that exists to make active lives possible. Established in September 1998, EFDS has a vision that disabled people are active for life. Working towards this vision, EFDS enables organisations to support disabled individuals be and stay active.

Full competition results are available online at

In Other News:The 42nd Metro Athletics Open will be held at Mile End Stadium on Saturday 16th June

Disability and sport call for evidence

Friday 13 April 2018


West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has issued a call for evidence about disability and sport – in a bid to get people moving more on a daily basis.

The call – under the banner of the ‘West Midlands on the Move’ physical activity strategy – aims to ignite a social movement across the region with the long-term aim of making physical activity the norm.

It demonstrates the combined authority’s commitment to reducing the region’s current levels of physical inactivity and inequalities and harnessing the potential of physical activity to improve people’s quality of life.

The WMCA physical activity team is collaborating with disability and sport special interest organisations to understand what is needed to improve the life chances of disabled people in the West Midlands.

Ultimately the aim is to become an exemplar region for numbers of physically active disabled people.

The WMCA Disability and Physical Activity working group aims to produce a report for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor by July 2018, setting out recommendations on what is needed to achieve this ambition.

Physical activity strategic lead Simon Hall said:  “We know there is lots of good and promising practice in the region, but 30% of adults in the West Midlands are still physically inactive along with 48.9% of disabled adults.

“As well as collating good practice and gaining invaluable insight from disabled people, we are launching a Disability and Physical Activity Call for Evidence to inform how we tackle this issue.”

More information from Sue Parker on 0121 214 7802 / 07917 456866 /

In Other News: We have six partner organisations across England, including Disability Centre for Sheffield Independent Living.


The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course

Thursday 12th April

After a very successful FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course with Bradford City FC Community Foundation West Riding County FA will be offering another FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course in West Riding.

The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course will be taking place at West Riding County FA so we wanted to share this with you in case you or somebody you know may be interested in attending.
The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football is the first step for any new manager/coach on the FA Coaching Pathway. This course includes the FA Emergency Aid and FA Safeguarding Children Workshop.All workshops are scheduled between 10am and 2pm. The duration of each workshop is scheduled to be 4 hours.

Through the completion of the learning programme for this qualification, learners will be introduced to the practical and theoretical aspects of planning, delivering and receiving individual football coaching sessions. The foundation level of knowledge and skills developed through this qualification will enable learners to create safe, fun and engaging coaching sessions.

Throughout the course, and in particular during  you will be introduced to:

  • The England DNA – How We Coach, How We Play, How We Support and The Future Player
  • The FA 4 Corner Player Development Model which will help you gain a better understanding of the long-term development of your players as a whole person
  • The FA Plan, Do, Review Model, helping you to construct appropriate practices and sessions for your players
  • A series of practical coaching ideas, giving you the ability to recognise the various ingredients that make up safe, fun and engaging practices to help your players develop
  • Practical coaching opportunities both on the course and where possible with your own players and teams

For more information on The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – Inclusive Course please click on this link.

Alternatively if you do have any questions or queries then please contact Arran Williams at:

In other news: Young players with disabilities are required for  the England Talent Day on sunday 6th may

 The 42nd Metro ‘Athletics Open’ will be held at Mile End Stadium in London on Saturday 16th June.

Tuesday 12th April

Hosted by London Borough of Tower Hamlets and GLL, supported by the Carmen Butler-Charteris Trust, Olympus, Professional UK and the Roden Family Foundation.

Metro Blind Sport’s 2017 Athletics Open held at Mile End Stadium. Long jump. Rebecca Blakey
Picture: Chris Vaughan Photography for Metro Blind Sport
Date: June 17, 2017

Metro Blind Sport welcomes athletes of all ages and experience throughout the UK to join us in our annual competition’s ‘42nd year! 

The morning Come and Try Coaching Session will once again provide those new to the sport a brilliant opportunity to try out running, jumping and throwing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, supported by Qualified Coaches. If you haven’t tried an event before and want to compete in the afternoon, or are looking to improve your performance this is the place for you.

The 2018 programme will be run under UKA/IBSA rules and is open to males and females of all ages.  The athletics competitions are principally for registered blind and partially sighted people.  Guest competitors are welcome but no medals or certificates can be awarded.  Every competitor will receive a free T-shirt along with either a medal and/or performance certificate.  Free packed lunches will be provided for all competitors, coaches, officials and volunteers.  *Guide Runners may be arranged with advance notice, you will need to provide an estimate of your track times.


The track (Mile End Stadium) and the accommodation (Queen Mary University) are within walking distance of Mile End Tube Station (Central and District line).

  • Athletes aged Under 12, 14 or 17 may take part in up to four individual events in any one day.
  • Senior Athletes may take part in a maximum of five events. These will consist of either 3 track and 2 field, or 2 track and 3 field on the day.
  • Electronic timing will be used on all track races.
  • B3 and B4 athletes are reminded that competition rules do not allow any concessions to assist performance. (No Guide Runners)
  • ALL B1 ATHLETES MUST PROVIDE AND USE THEIR OWN SHADES. Time permitting there will be a Fun Relay for all competitors during the afternoon including parents and coaches.
  • Photos: A gallery of high resolution photo’s will be available in the week after this event. We will share a link with you where you can view and select, following a donation of your chosing, the photos you would like to keep. Please take note of the number/s and send these to Saul will setup an individual WeTransfer link (available for 7 days only) for you to download the Digital High Res Photo/s you have chosen to your pc. Photo requests are on a first come, first serve basis only and will be processed when time allows. Donations can be made via the website donate button

In order for as many events as possible to take place, it may be necessary to merge sight categories thereby ensuring the maximum number of individual ‘event requests’ are met. We recognise this could lead to a miss-match in functional sight levels, however our aim with the ‘Open’ is to always offer the widest range of opportunities for athletes to compete. We view this as a preferable option to cancelling events with low numbers.    


To Enter: Please complete and return this entry form by email to


The closing date for Entries is Friday 01st June 2018, if you require Accommodation the closing date is 31st March 2018.


Accommodation:  This will be available on Friday and Saturday night (15th and 16th) at the aforementioned Queen Mary University of London.  Please note there is a further reduction for those under the age of 18 – a separate form is available please email



To be held:

Mile End Stadium,

Rhodeswell Road,


E14 7TW

Tel no. 020 8980 1885


Come and Try Session starts 10.00am – 11.30, open to all ages, an ideal opportunity to access specialist coaching in track and field disciplines.


Competition starts 12.00 noon, listed below are all events grouped under the relevant age ranges. Results will be uploaded to Power of 10 asap.    


Event closes after final Medal Ceremony – 5.00pm  


Under 12 (Age at 01.01.2018) – Boys and Girls (4 events only)

60m, 100m, Standing Long Jump, Ball Throw, (For B1 athletes only – called 60m),


Under 14 (Age at 01.01.2018) – Boys and Girls (4 events only)

100m, 800m, Long Jump, High Jump, Shot, Discus, Javelin, (For B1 athletes only – called 60m),


Under 17 (Age at 01.01.2018) – Boys and Girls (4 events only)

100m, 800m, Long Jump, High Jump, Shot, Discus, Javelin, (For B1 athletes only – called 60m),


Senior Ladies and Men (18 – 34)

100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Shot, Discus, Javelin


Vets Ladies and Men (Over 35)

100m, 800m, 5000m, Long Jump, Shot


Entry: FREE including pack lunch, T-shirt, Medals/Performance Certificate.  

In other news:Junior Para Swimmers splash out in Southampton this weekend

Junior Para Swimmers splash out in Southampton this weekend

Tuesday 10th April 2018

This weekend (14-15 April 2018) will see over 100 young swimming hopefuls from across the country take part in the National Junior Para Swimming Championships. It will be the first time Southampton has hosted the event.

Photo credit: Cerebral Palsy Sport

Organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and supported by Swim England, the unique partnership aim is to increase opportunities and talent development for young disabled swimmers.

The event will see swimmers aged 10-16 years old compete in the short course event, comprising; 50m and 100m Freestyle, 50m and 100m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke, 150m and 200m Individual Medley and 50m and 100m Butterfly.

Emily-Jane Surgeoner, 11, who is competing as an S9, SB9 and SM9 para-swimmer, said:

“I have been training really hard for this event. I’m looking forward to seeing if all my training is making a difference. Most importantly I just want to swim well, my goal is to make a number of qualifying times so that I can swim at my first British Para International Swim Meet at the end of May. Of course, my other goal is to have improved on my overall times too.”

Barry Horne, Chief Executive for EFDS, said:

“For many swimmers here this weekend it will be their first national competition experience. This is testament to the amount of work delivered at grassroots level to introduce new swimmers and grow participation. We’re proud to be bringing the event to the South coast this year- our thanks go to Swim England, SOS, Southampton City Council and Active Nation for their support.”


Spectators will be able to buy tickets at the venue on the day. Details are as follows:

Event: National Junior Para-Swimming Championships 2018

Venue: The Quays, 27 Harbour Parade, Southampton, SO15 1BA

Dates: Saturday 14 April – Sunday 15 April 2018

Saturday: Session one, race starts at 9am. Session two, race starts at 2pm

Sunday: Session three, race starts at 9am


Start lists and results will be available online. Follow the event conversation with the hashtag #JuniorParaSwim18.

For further information, please contact:

  • Jannine Walker, National Events Manager. Email: Jannine  Mobile: 07725 273158
  • Laila Issa, Communications Advisor. Email Laila  Mobile: 07794 525034

In other news:The England Talent Day for players with a disability will be held on Sunday 6th May 2018

Personal Experiences: What we’re looking for…

At Get Yourself Active we love it when people with disabilities share their personal experiences of getting active with the wider world. We have a section on our website that has an inspiring range of blog posts of people doing just that.

Some of our blog posts come from countries outside England including from Sue Kent from Wales who is featured in this photo canoeing.

 So if you have a disability or long term health condition and would like to add your own story please look at the following guidelines and do get in touch.

There are many different ways for people with disabilities to get active including ice skating. This can be done either independently or through the help of their Personal Assistants (PAs) as shown by Jonathan and his PA Mandy.

We are looking for blog posts that:

  • Have a word length of about 500 words ideally and no longer than 800 words
  • Include a brief self-biography and photos of you taking part in the activity that you’re writing about. If you do not want to show your face in the photos then that is fine
  • Have links to any social media (including videos) which you’re part of that is related to disability sports including fundraising or publicising events
  • Focus on particular benefits you’ve gained as a result of being active e.g. improved confidence and independence, weight loss, strength and balance and meeting new people.
  • If you have a personal budget and use it to get active either by directly paying for the activity or indirectly by paying for a personal assistant to take you then we strongly encourage you to write about this in your post.

Also when submitting a blog post to us please be aware that:

  • It must be related to our organisation Disability Rights UK’s vision, mission and priorities.
  • It must not contain hate speech, incitement to violence or anything unlawful, misleading, defamatory or discriminatory
  • Get Yourself Active retains the right to edit a blog
  • If you have a learning disability or neurological condition that means that you’re strongest at drawing let us know. We will accept any pictures that you send us provided that they are either in PNG or JPEG format and follow our other guidelines (not obscene etc). Don’t worry about dimensions as we can resize any pictures which are sent to us.

Get Yourself Active is a campaign that only exists in England. However, we will consider any blog posts that provide an international perspective on our campaign. And publish any ones on getting active with a disability in another country, provided that they meet our other guidelines.

If you would any further information or want to submit a blog post (or drawing) then please e-mail: Kirsty Mulvey at 

Thanks for reading and we’re looking forward to receiving some inspiring stories from you!

Blogs can be about people with disabilities getting active whatever their age! This is a picture of young wheelchair racer Maya Ratcliffe happy at Parallel London.

England Talent Day- Players Required

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Do you have any footballers (or know any footballers) within your club, school, organisation or programmes that have a disability?

The England Talent Day for players with a disability will be on:

 Sunday 6th May 2018, 10:00am-13:00pm

At West Riding County FA, Leeds, LS26 8NX

We are looking for players aged 7-16 to meet the following criteria;


  • AMPUTEE (male)
  • BLIND (male)
  • DEAF (male)
  • DEAF (female)

There is a poster (which you can share with your contacts) and a player registration form which needs to be signed by the parents of those who are interested in attending the England Talent Day.

If you know any players that fit into the above criteria and believe they have a very good opportunity to progress in the England Talent Pathway then please provide the following information to Colan Leung  as soon as possible:

-First Name

-Family name

– Date of Birth

-Year Group (7-11 or 12-16)

– Impairment

– Home Address

– Post Code

– Contact Number

-E-mail Address

In Other News: Celebrating Disability Sport in Sheffield


Celebrating Disability Sport in Sheffield

Thursday 5  April 2018

Video from Within Reach has a range of examples of people with disabilities being physically active at different levels

At Get Yourself Active we like examples of people with disabilities getting active whether in blog posts like this one or videos.

This is why we’re sharing “Within Reach- The story so far” on our website. This is a nearly four minute long video that invites people to see what has been going on in the world of disability sport and physical activity in the city of Sheffield. It can be seen here or below:

Within Reach – The Story So Far from Vox Multimedia on Vimeo.

The video celebrates the range of disability sports opportunities available to people of all ages and abilities across Sheffield. And provides information about how the city’s sports and activity programme developed from 1989 after the World Student games, whether through the work of Within Reach or the partner organisations that joined it. Please look at “Within Reach- The story so far” and share it with any individuals or organisations who you think may be interested.

Also worth mentioning is that Sheffield has a Disability Sports Network in the city, chaired by Dawn Wood of the Links School Sports Partnership. If you’re interested in getting involved with the network then do email

In Other News: We have six partner organisations across England, including Disability Centre for Sheffield Independent Living.


Bryerley Springs Equestrian Centre Gains Accessibility Mark Accreditation

Thursday 4 April

A Milton Keynes equestrian centre has secured an accreditation to a national scheme to encourage more disabled people to take up horse riding.

With the mental and physical benefits of horse riding well documented, the centre hopes its Accessibility Mark accreditation will help reach out to a wider group of riders.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of opening up more opportunities for disabled people to participate in riding.

Following an appeal for more volunteers, the centre’s staff, including the new team of volunteers participated in a compulsory training day with an ASO (Accessibility Support Officer).

The training focused on the challenges faced by disabled riders and lesson planning, to enable staff to make the sessions productive and safe whilst keeping them fun and interactive.

The Pony Club-approved centre currently offers lesson to riders of all ages and abilities, delivered by qualified staff who have all received training in child protection/safeguarding and first aid.

As well as riding lessons, the centre also provide lessons to NVQ level in Horse Care. Just spending time with horses can promote a general sense of well-being and improve confidence, something the centre hopes they can achieve with both ridden and un-mounted sessions.

A spokesperson from Bryerley Springs Riding Centre said: “Brylerley Springs is a great place to learn to ride and we pride ourselves on the welcoming atmosphere our clients experience. We really hope to be able to open up our doors to more members of the community with the message that horse riding is an activity that is available to everyone.

“The Accessibility Mark accreditation demonstrates our ability to safely and confidently accommodate riders with a range of disabilities and the support from the RDA means we can seek advice where necessary to ensure every rider can set achievable goals.”

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by the 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.

For further information contact Bryerley Springs Equestrian Centre on 01525 261 823 or visit

There are currently 47 Accessibility Mark-approved centres across the country.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

In other news: Introducing Leo Capella Communications Officer for Get Yourself Active

Introducing Leo Capella Communications Officer for Get Yourself Active

Thursday 5 April 2018

Leo Capella, new communications officer for Get Yourself Active introduces himself.


I hope that you had a good bank holiday weekend.

Leanne Wightman the programme officer is away for the next six months.  So I have the  absolute pleasure of taking over this website from Kirsty Mulvey while she focuses on working with our existing partner organisations and engaging new ones.  For those who don’t know me I’m the former Campaign Project Coordinator at I Can Make It, another project that Disability Rights UK works on.

I’m also on the autistic spectrum and I love sport, at least for the most part as an armchair fan. I used to do a lot as a kid and then as a young adult whether through occupational therapy and school sports. Or sailing which I did a lot at both solo and as part of a crew, sometimes competitively, sometimes sponsored, other times just for the fun of messing around on the water. But somehow between jobs, creative writing and campaigning I lost my way on keeping myself active apart from walking my dogs both past and present . So I’m not as active as I should be. Hopefully being part of this campaign will change that!

Also Disability Rights UK is an organisation made up of clever people who like doing clever projects that help people with disabilities participate equally in society on their own terms (and we love it that our funders  and six partners from across England do too).

Hopefully in the next six months I can show you just how we all work to give other people with disabilities choice and control (which is crucial) on how they get and keep active within their lives. This will be through our various updates including our newsletter that goes out at the end of the month (if you haven’t signed up already you should) and some content from our partners (including hopefully our project coordinators) who do excellent jobs in their areas.

I’d also encourage you to look at our films about getting active as well as why our campaign was launched.

We’ve got another film coming in out the future so please do keep an eye out for it. And don’t forget that we’d love to share your stories about the work you do with personal budgets to get disabled people active as well your own stories about getting active as people with disabilities. So do get in contact with us.  

For my part I am trying to take up a martial art as I’ve always wanted to learn one (any autism friendly Iaido instructors out there)? Who knows time permitting there may be a blog post or two about that or getting back out the water sailing.

In any case thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing from some of you soon.

In other news: I’m not the only new thing happening in the disability sports/ physical activity world. Check out this video by Cerebral Palsy Sport about a clever new form of racing for people with cerebral palsy called RaceRunning.

Motability announces new Director

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Motability, the charity which provides a ‘road to freedom’ for disabled people and their families through the Motability Scheme throughout the United Kingdom, are pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Atkinson CBE to the role of Director, effective from 21 May 2018.

Paul Atkinson was appointed following an open recruitment and selection process undertaken by the Governors of Motability.  He succeeds the current Director, Declan O’Mahony, who decided in 2017 to step down following 16 years of dedicated service to Motability.

Paul Atkinson joins Motability following a very successful and varied career in the Royal Air Force where he was a senior Air Battlespace Manager.  Paul achieved the rank of Group Captain and was sent on 15 diverse tours of duty, four overseas (including German Air Force Exchange), and six operational deployments including Afghanistan, the Falklands and Belize.  He commanded the Royal Air Force Air Surveillance and Control Force responsible for national and NATO early warning and air defence.  He has a strong track record of achievement whilst motivating large and diverse teams to achieve sustained success.

Chairman and co-founder of Motability, Lord Sterling, said:

“The Governors and I would like to thank Declan for his excellent contribution in delivering Motability’s strategic objectives over the past 16 years and we wish him and his family well for future years.  We look forward to Paul Atkinson bringing his own particular skills to the role and working with us to drive Motability even further forward, in order to transform and enhance the lives of disabled people and their families”.

In other news: Instructability helped me learn to be me again