Get yourself active blog

Get Yourself Active goes to a summit in order to make some sporting sense.

Thursday 31 May 2018

It’s always interesting to see what other charities are doing when it comes to helping disabled people get physically active.  So on Wednesday 23rd  May Leo Capella, Communications Officer for Get Yourself Active took a short walk across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Lee Valley Velodrome to go to the Sporting Sense Summit. At the summit, Sense (a charity that works with people with complex communication needs) revealed their findings from their flagship project Sporting Sense. Leo shares his thoughts on the Summit and what happened when he got to do some inclusive cycling….

Figure 1 The view from inside the Lee Valley (Olympic) Velodrome. What’s not featured in this photo is some cyclists who were doing training while the summit was going on.

What came out of the summit was how much that physical activity makes sense for disabled people. And not just because of the benefits that physical activity can provide for our own physical and mental health. It also helps disabled people integrate in society as I found out through the speeches that were made during the summit. In fact, according to a report released by the Jo Cox commission on loneliness, half of non-disabled people don’t believe they have anything in common with disabled people. So including disabled people in physical activity helps actually integrate disabled people into society, among other benefits.
Also it was interesting to hear the speakers including Dame Tanni Grey Thompson whom having been a Paralympic Athlete had to get back to physical activity after getting out of shape, which is why aside from being an ambassador for Disability Rights UK she is now the chair of UKactive.

Also speaking was visually impaired rock climber John Churcher who had a wide and impressive array of achievements when it came to physical activity. This includes being the first person to Para climb the Eiger – a challenging mountain to climb.

Above all I suppose the biggest insight I got was just how many components or parts are needed for a successful project to work. From the planning with partners to making sure that there are good ways of evaluating the work. Positive outcomes from Sporting Sense over its two year existence included getting over 1000 disabled people physically active, upskilling (developing) over 250 workers in physical activity, well beyond the project’s initial expectations.
And at the end of the summit being one of those people who’s always up for trying something in the name of campaigning I got to ride a hand cycle which was part of an Inclusive Cycling session with an array of different bi- and tricycles.

Figure 2 Leo Capella riding a handcycle as part of an Inclusive Cycling session at the Sporting Sense Summit and having a lot of fun doing so.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when riding the bicycle using my hands to propel myself and steer it, however once explained to me was an easy thing to do. So I would recommend it to people who are not just physically disabled but people with neurological conditions who might feel that a bicycle is unstable for them and want to try something different. It was also a good arm strengthening exercise too. On an interesting side note, the day I went to the Summit was in the run up to the famous Indianapolis 500 motor race which involves cars racing around an oval circuit, something that 2012 Italian Paralympic Champion Alex Zanardi used to do. Although Zanardi never competed at Indy he raced a similar type of racing car on ovals, before a horrific accident in Germany saw both of his legs amputated. However after his accident, alongside continuing to race cars he took up hand-cycling and became a multiple Paralympic champion in the sport.

All in all the event was a positive one which I gained a lot of knowledge from. And aside from thanking Sense for inviting me to the summit I’d like to congratulate them on their achievements so far with Sporting Sense and wish them all the best for the next year of the project.

In other news: If you live in and around Wolverhampton and would like to try riding a adapted  bicycle or tricycle then there’s an opportunity to DO just that at an Inclusive Cycling try out day on Wednesday 6th June.

Basildon sets perfect example for increasing participation

A local project in Basildon has harnessed the positive influence that carers and supporters e.g. family members, day services, residential homes and paid support, can have on encouraging people with learning disabilities to become more active.

The ‘supporting me to be active’ pilot programme was launched in Basildon by inclusive sport organisation Sport For Confidence in partnership with Active Essex, the county sports partnership for Greater Essex.

Basildon was selected for the pilot district due to its high prevalence of people living with learning disabilities (3,358 people) in relation to levels of inactivity (28.7% of the Basildon population).

Lyndsey Barrett, co-founder of Sport For Confidence, said:

“We have identified that people living with learning disabilities tend to have small support circles, which often includes family members, friends and their carers.

“We have been working closely with those within these circles to raise awareness of the benefits of keeping active. We believe that these ‘support ambassadors’ have an important role to play to encourage and inspire more people with disabilities to engage with sport and physical activity.”

Several carers from local residential homes and support agencies and were selected to participate in the programme as ‘support ambassadors’. The organisations involved included Papworth Trust, Essex Cares Ltd (ECL), Anvil House and Nexus Support.

Occupational Therapists from Sport For Confidence worked closely with participants to understand the value of physical activity and what they see as potential barriers to increasing participation.

Findings showed that ambassadors were most concerned about transport costs, staffing and people’s perceptions of inclusive sport.

The programme encouraged them to think about how they could overcome these barriers with the people they support and develop a plan that will help them work towards a more active lifestyle.

Part of this planning involved a ‘supporting me to be active’ workshop, which educated participants of the benefits gained from keeping active, as well as highlighting opportunities to participate in inclusive sport and physical activity in the local area.

Karen Mannix, Local Business Manager at Essex Cares Ltd, said:

“The programme has helped us identify a clear pathway to providing more physical activities to clients under our care.

“Thanks to the programme, six individuals with learning disabilities are now taking part in at least one multi-sport session a week and we have seen tremendous benefits to the mental wellbeing of those involved. It’s great to see them enjoy themselves with their peers.”

Following on from the programme, four participants with learning disabilities themselves went on to become ‘All Together’ ambassadors to further inspire other disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity.

The All Together ambassador programme was launched by Active Essex to raise awareness of the opportunities, facilities and support available to increase participation in sport and physical activity.

Last year, Active Essex announced a four-year strategy to change one million lives to get Essex active. This included a key priority to improve health and wellbeing of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions which accounts for over 17% of the Greater Essex population.

Hayley Chapman, Relationship Manager – North Thematic Lead for Inclusion at Active Essex, said:

“The ‘supporting me to be active’ programme has shown how important the role of the carer is when encouraging people with learning disabilities to become more active.

“We hope that this model can continue to address some of the challenges faced by people with learning disabilities in participating in physical activities and the workshop can be replicated as good practice across other districts.”

Several carers from local residential homes and support agencies and were selected to participate in the programme as ‘support ambassadors’. The organisations involved included Papworth Trust, Essex Cares Ltd (ECL), Anvil House and Nexus Support.

Occupational Therapists from Sport For Confidence worked closely with participants to understand the value of physical activity and what they see as potential barriers to increasing participation.

Findings showed that ambassadors were most concerned about transport costs, staffing and people’s perceptions of inclusive sport.

The programme encouraged them to think about how they could overcome these barriers with the people they support and develop a plan that will help them work towards a more active lifestyle.

Part of this planning involved a ‘supporting me to be active’ workshop, which educated participants of the benefits gained from keeping active, as well as highlighting opportunities to participate in inclusive sport and physical activity in the local area.

Karen Mannix, Local Business Manager at Essex Cares Ltd, said:

“The programme has helped us identify a clear pathway to providing more physical activities to clients under our care.

“Thanks to the programme, six individuals with learning disabilities are now taking part in at least one multi-sport session a week and we have seen tremendous benefits to the mental wellbeing of those involved. It’s great to see them enjoy themselves with their peers.”

Following on from the programme, four participants with learning disabilities themselves went on to become ‘All Together’ ambassadors to further inspire other disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity.

The All Together ambassador programme was launched by Active Essex to raise awareness of the opportunities, facilities and support available to increase participation in sport and physical activity.

Last year, Active Essex announced a four-year strategy to change one million lives to get Essex active. This included a key priority to improve health and well-being of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions which accounts for over 17% of the Greater Essex population.

Hayley Chapman, Relationship Manager – North Thematic Lead for Inclusion at Active Essex, said:

“The ‘supporting me to be active’ programme has shown how important the role of the carer is when encouraging people with learning disabilities to become more active.

“We hope that this model can continue to address some of the challenges faced by people with learning disabilities in participating in physical activities and the workshop can be replicated as good practice across other districts.”

In other news: Saddle Up for Summer with Accessibility Mark

 

Surrey Wheels for All Sessional Positions

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Cycling Projects are now recruiting for a number of sessional staff to help to deliver a well-received inclusive cycling offer for the county of Surrey.

Covering regions: With particular focus in the West of the county (Woking) and in the East of the county (Epsom) with occasional delivery opportunities in other regions of Surrey

Part time hours to support the delivery of the Surrey Wheels for All programme.

Including weekday, evening and weekday activities. Approx.no. of hours between 5 and 12 hours per week. Rate of £10.75 per hour

Cycling Projects is pleased to announce the continued growth of the countywide Surrey Wheels for All programme, and we are keen to take the Wheels for All service to new and existing regions within Surrey. This is an exciting opportunity to join the country’s leading inclusive cycling charity with a strong focus on disability access, health improvement and social inclusion for all ages and abilities.

As Wheels for All sessional staff, you will be responsible for the delivery of the inclusive cycling sessions, engaging with existing participants and welcoming and supporting new participants to Wheels for All across Surrey. Initially this is a funded programme through to March 2021 with funding and investment from council partners and contributions from exiting participants and partners.

You will be a highly motivated individual with experience of working across a broad section of partners. You will ideally have experience of delivering community projects and had experience of working with people of all abilities/or previously worked for a charity. You will be enthusiastic, driven, well organised and able to embrace cycling as a credible and beneficial activity for people regardless of their ability.

Essentially, we want you to be a part of a solid movement of inclusive cycling activities across all regions of the county of Surrey. You will be part of an effective and exciting movement of bringing cycling to people across many locations regardless of their ability.

Application deadline is Tuesday 12th June 5pm 2018.

Interviews will be held week commencing 18th June 2018.

To apply, please request an application pack and return the application form along with your covering letter & email to janet.haynes@cycling.org.uk

Surrey WFA sessional recruitment advert May 2018

Job-Description Surrey WFA Sessional staff

The original advert can be found here. 

In other news: Our Physical activity and sports info page can give you links to information from key organisations in the sport sector. 

Turn Up and Play Centre for Females OVER 16 Years Old with a Disability

Friday 18 May 2018

The Turn Up and Play Centre aims to give females with a disability the opportunity to play sport in a safe, supportive and tailored environment

Dates for the next sessions are:

  • Friday 25th May
  • Friday 1st June
  • Friday 8th June
  • Friday 15th June
  • Friday 22nd June
  • Friday 29th June

Venue = West Riding County Football Association, Fleet Lane, Woodlesford, Leeds, LS26 8NX

Time = 1pm-2pm

Cost = £3 per session

To participate send an email Colan.Leung@westridingfa.com to request for registration and diversity forms.

In other news apply for special Olympic coach bursary scheme

Special Olympic Coach Bursary Scheme is now open

Friday 18 May 2018

The second round of Special Olympic Coach Bursary Scheme is now open until the 11th June.

 

 

The bursary is for £100.00 towards the cost of a level 1 or 2 Coaching Qualification and recipients will need to enhance current Special Olympic Provision within South/West Yorkshire or create new provision (with the support of the Network in either South/West Yorkshire).

The application form can be found here: https://yorkshire.sportsuite.co.uk/forms/view/socoachbursary

Get Yourself Active Goes to Elevate

Thursday 17 May 2018

It’s nice to have a relevant trade show near our head office. And last week (9-10th May), Leo Capella Communications Officer , Kirsty Mulvey Programme Officer and Daniel Ball coordinator for Get Yourself Active in Leicester went to Elevate at Excel for Get Yourself Active. Leo reflects on what he learned during his time at the event.

For experienced physical activity veterans Dan and Kirsty, Elevate was a chance to meet existing contacts including our partners from Activity Alliance and the University of Birmingham who were part of a panel on how to improve disability participation. For a rookie to the sports sector (i.e. me) it was a chance to explore the wider world of physical activity and sports for the first time in greater depth with talks about the unleashing the potential of the sporting economy, Generation Z, as well as using behaviour change proving my highlights. For me the exhibition provided a useful insight into the physical activity sector.

On the first day of Elevate my highlight was getting a lesson in the scale of the challenge that there is to improve physical participation for people as a whole, after having previously reviewed the results from the most recent Active Lives Survey.  For instance, 2.6 million Londoners are inactive including disabled people and lower socio-economic groups.  Yet there are also positives, as a survey found that 7 out of 10 people with disabilities want to be more active.  So a point that came out from Elevate was that the focus has to be on removing barriers instead of building it and thinking that people will come, which has been the mindset of the physical activity sector in the past.

Getting people with disabilities in to the sector as trainers as well as other positions is something that our campaign has covered in the past. And this point was discussed in a number of talks that I went to. For instance, as part of unleashing the power of the purple pound and making the business case for including people with disabilities along with other hard to reach groups.

Having said that, for all the positivity when we looked for physical activity apparatus that could be used by people with disabilities that was openly advertised not much was on display. However there was an Alter G Treadmill on display (which can be used for people with disabilities) and I also found other apparatus that could be adapted to people with disabilities for instance a climbing type frame could be adapted.

All in an all I had a positive informative time at the exhibition and maybe next year Get Yourself Active will either have a stand at Elevate or be part of a panel discussion alongside our partners. Hopefully by then more people with disabilities will be doing more physical activity and be paid members of the industry. However it was clear from the conference that getting more people with disabilities in physical activity won’t happen overnight.

In other news: Why do we at Get Yourself Active do what we do? Here are some reasons why our campaign exists…

Activity Alliance seeks a new Chair

Thursday 17 May 2018

Since its founding in 1998 as the English Federation of Disability Sport, Activity Alliance has become the go-to organisation for information about disabled people’s engagement with sport and active recreation. Now, an exciting opportunity exists to become Chair of Activity Alliance and lead the organisation into a new era of innovation and growth.

For the last 20 years English Federation of Disability Sport, now Activity Alliance has been an integral part of the sport and activity landscape and promoted the interests of disabled people in sport and recreation.

Under the current Chair, Charles Reed, the charity has been at the forefront of supporting disabled people to be active for life by enabling organisations to support disabled individuals to be and stay active.

The organisation has increased its annual operating budget from £1m to £3m in the past five years, established a vibrant new corporate identity, and exceeded Code for Sports Governance requirements. The charity has major ambitions for significant growth.

Activity Alliance is now seeking to appoint a new Chair that embodies the charity’s vision – Disabled people are active for life – to lead the organisation through an exciting period of development and growth.

The Chair will be:

  • A connector, providing the link between the Board and the Executive, giving leadership and support to the Executive and the Leadership Team in the delivery of the strategic plan.
  • A team leader, providing leadership and direction to the Board enabling them to fulfil their responsibilities for the overall governance and strategic direction of Activity Alliance.
  • An ambassador, working with the Executive, to raise the external profile of Activity Alliance with relevant partners and bodies and increase their role and influence.

 

How to apply 

Activity Alliance has partnered with SRi, the leading executive search and consulting firm to support them in their search for a new Chair.

For more information about this role and details on how to apply, please visit the SRi website.

Closing date for applications is Friday 1 June 2018.

Download Activity Alliance Chair candidate pack.

Activity Alliance are very proud of their work in diversity and inclusion and encourage applications from disabled people and those with lived experience of disability.

Find out more about the charity’s work on Activity Alliance website www.activityalliance.org.uk.

In other news: Activity Alliance are what’s known as a National Disability Sports Organisation (NDSO) but what does that term actually mean? Look at our glossary and find out! 

Kirklevington Riding Centre Encourages More Disabled People To Take To The Saddle

Tuesday 15 May 2018

A North Yorkshire equestrian centre is hoping to welcome more disabled riders to take to the saddle, after signing up to a national scheme.

Kirklevington Riding Centre, based in Yarm, has become an Accessibility Mark accredited centre after meeting the criteria set out by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

The 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 getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

A British Horse Society (BHS) approved centre, Kirklevington has been established for 38 years, providing riding lessons to two generations, from total beginners to riders looking to work towards a qualification.

The centre recognised an increase in demand from disabled riders, particularly those with autism.

Horse riding has many benefits for people on the autistic spectrum, including improved concentration and social interaction, learning to attend to their horse rather than reacting to the sounds and stimuli in a strange environment and adapting to changes of routine.

Jen Brooks, Chief Instructor at the centre said: “We applied for Accessibility Mark status for the benefit of the riders that were already regularly attending for lessons, and we hope that the accreditation will give new clients confidence in our abilities to meet their needs.

“All of our instructors found the training with the Accessibility Support Officer (ASO) extremely useful, reinforcing the strategies we were implementing during lessons and introducing new ideas to make lessons more engaging and ensure good practice.”

The new accreditation comes hot on the heels of the centre also becoming a BHS Training and Exam centre, further developing its expansion of services.

An Autism Awareness Charity Show recently held by the centre raised £350 and plans are underway to hold a similar fundraising Open Afternoon on Tuesday, May 29 between 1pm and 4pm.

During the Open Afternoon the centre will be promoting the RDA Qualifications that many of their riders are already working towards, as well as offering taster riding and grooming sessions.

Booking is not required, and all proceeds will be donated to The National Autistic Society.

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 Kirklevington Riding Centre on (01642) 791 027 or visit www.kirklevingtonridingcentre.co.uk

There are currently 48 Accessibility Mark-approved centres across the country.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk

In other news: For more information on how you can get active in your local area please look at this web page.

Wheels for All Black Country inclusive cycling tryout day

Friday 11 May 2018

Wheels for All are pleased to announce there will be a try out day at Aldersley Stadium on Wednesday 6th June 2018

 

Come and enjoy inclusive cycling activities for all the family
regardless of ability. Try out a wide range of adapted cycles at Aldersley Stadium.

Come along as a group or an individual – all welcome.
Help bring regular inclusive cycling to Wolverhampton.

When and where

Date: Wednesday 6th June 10am TO 4:30pm

Venue: Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton, WV6 9NW

Further details please contact Ian Tierney on 01925 234213
or email on ian.tierney@cycling.org.uk

In other news London vi sport and physical activity day

 

London VI Sport and Physical Activity Day

Friday 11 May 2018

FREE sports taster event in London for people with a visual impairment

Come along and enjoy an action packed inclusive day of tennis, zumba, football, goalball, climbing, cricket, gymnastics and much more!

This event is open to anyone with a visual impairment aged 8 and over, including friends and family ,sports fanatics or people just getting started. It’s fun for all ages, with a different activity timetables for children and adults on the day as well as gentle activities for those who want to take a slower pace.

The event organised by British Blind Sport, London Vision, Illuminate Fitness, the Royal Society for Blind Children and London Sport  will take place at Westway Sports Centre, London on Saturday 7th July 2018 from 10.30am to 4pm.

When and Where

Date: Saturday 7th July, 10.30am to 4pm

Venue: Westway Sports Centre, London W10 6RP

 Get Involved!

For further details please contact Alex Pitts, Participation Officer on telephone:  07929 356428 or email alex@britishblindsport.org.uk

Register online for the London VI Sport and Physical Activity Day

In other news Goalball uk unches national schools- competition programme

 

 

Bradford City Disability FC Ladies Team Reach the FA People’s Cup 2018 Final

Friday 4 May 2018

Bradford City Disability FC, a ladies team formed less than six months ago, reached The FA People’s Cup 2018 Final thanks to Grow the Game funding.

Grow the Game, an annual grant scheme financed by The FA and delivered via the Football Foundation, offers grassroots football clubs wishing to create new teams with an opportunity to apply for funding. Following a successful application in September 2017, Bradford City Disability FC was formed of seven grassroots footballers, four of whom had never played the sport previously.

The team entered into the Adult Female Disability category and began their campaign at one of the 250 first-round venues in February. The team progressed to the regional semi-finals, before reaching the final round of the competition at St George’s Park last weekend [Saturday 28 April]. There, they faced some of the best female disability teams in the country and made it through to the Final, eventually finishing runners-up to three-time champions Aston Villa Ladies Disability FC.

Gemma Rose Fletcher, Bradford City Disability FC goalkeeper, said:

“Bradford City Disability FC has changed my life for the better! I didn’t really know many people with disabilities until I met the team and coaches when I started attending training. We train once a week and all have a laugh with each other, and I have made many new friends through the club.

“Having started by playing in the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League just a few months ago, it was one of the best experiences of my life to reach The FA People’s Cup Final. It felt like a dream and I’m so proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time.”

Paul Jubb, Bradford City Disability FC Head Coach, said:

“I can’t believe we reached The FA People’s Cup Final. I’d like to thank The FA and the Football Foundation for the Grow the Game grant, which we put towards FA coaching courses, league affiliation costs, and general kit and equipment.

“The ladies have really benefited from being a part of the team, not only through improvements in their physical health, but also thanks to their new friendships. We are now looking to carry this momentum with some of the younger girls’ teams so that we can emulate this success.”

Since it was launched in 2010, Grow the Game has supported:

  • 14,462 new teams
  • 58,005 female footballers supported
  • 152,187 male footballers supported
  • 10,527 male disability footballers supported
  • 2,488 female disability footballers supported
  • 44,674 coaching qualifications gained

This year’s edition of The FA People’s Cup, which was run in partnership with BBC Get Inspired, saw over 45,000 players take part across 18 different categories.

To learn more about Grow the Game, please visit the Football Foundation website.

For further information, please contact:

Tom Everett, The Football Association: tom.everett@thefa.com / 07976 768520

Adam Charman, The Football Foundation: adam.charman@footballfoundation.org.uk / 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4274

Paul Jubb, Bradford City Disability FC: pjubb1964@gmail.com / 07845 568 226

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

 

Get Yourself Active meets with Rutland Disabled Youth Forum

Thursday 3 May 2018

 This report comes from Rutland Disabled Youth Forum who were visited by one of our project coordinators on Thursday 26th April as part of a productive meeting that they had.

A group photo of the members of Rutland Disabled Youth Forum.

Rutland Disabled Youth Forum is for ages 14-25 and we aim to give young people with disabilities a voice about the services, facilities and accessibility in and around Rutland.

Dan from Get Yourself Active came along to our forum meeting on Thursday 26th April . We talked about what sports/activities we currently do either as part of a team or individually; basketball, swimming, gym and dance, then we spoke about what kind of sports we would like to do; hockey, dodgeball, handball. It was expressed that we would feel more confident at trying something new if we met the coach beforehand and there were people we know! One suggestion everyone came up with was to run a 10-week multi sport sessions just for young people/adults with disabilities where we can try a different sport each week. This is being looked into so watch this space!

In other news:Dan is a coordinator who works for Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living (LCiL), one of our six partners for Get Yourself Active. 

School Dance Club Supports Active Lives, Confidence and Classroom Learning

Thursday 3 May 2018

Step Change Studios specialises in providing opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to dance. In just one year, the organisation has supported almost 1,000 disabled people to dance, most for the first time. Recently, they worked with a school in East London to support children with additional needs to participate in a weekly school dance club. Sophie Hughes, a teaching assistant at the school shares the experience of student Ayse, and the impact dance has had on her. Sophie has written this account with Ayse.

Ayse warming up.

 

Ayse is 11 years old and has a diagnosis of learning difficulties, with Autism Spectrum behavioural traits. She is a caring and helpful individual, who likes to please people and make them laugh. Ayse is always keen to try new experiences, with a curious and enthusiastic nature. Ayse has limited speech but expresses herself through facial expression, body language and movement.

Ayse loves to dance and listen to music; freestyle dancing is her favourite genre. Ayse is very good at listening to instructions and copying movements once she is engaged. Ayse developed a really positive relationship with the dance instructor from Step Change Studios. The organisation understood and took Ayse’s needs and all of our student’s needs into consideration. This enabled Ayse to appreciate the musical theatre dance genre.

Ayse said she enjoyed working with her friends and other pupils in the sessions and liked doing the end of term dance performance to friends, peers and staff. Ayse has gained more confidence and better self-esteem from participating in the dance club. She enjoyed being active and moving at a fast pace. Ayse said she would like to do ‘more sessions of dance’.

An end of term performance.

According to her class staff: “this dance club increased her learning stamina and focus once she returned to class, Ayse has always been energetic and enthusiastic. Dance has had a real positive contribution into her focus back in class and listening to others around school”.

Overall Ayse had fun whilst learning the dance moves and being creative. Most of all she enjoyed participating in the club with her friends and being given the opportunity to perform.

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

After my first sail I was hooked, I loved it!

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Activity Alliance features a blog post every Friday. This year, we’ll be sharing the experiences of disabled people involved in sport and exercise at all levels, finding out what impact being active has on their lives. This week, Hannah tells us how sailing brings out her competitive side and gives her something to aim for.

Hi, my name is Hannah Shelmerdine, I’m 32 years old and I am a sailor.

I started sailing with Bolton Sailability in July 2016 after finding the club on the internet. I was looking for a hobby that would be challenging, meaningful, and give me a purpose. After contacting the club to ask a few questions about what’s involved and what support they provide for disabled people, I decided to go for a taster session.

I have profound cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair full-time. So, I did wonder how on earth I was ever going to be able to sail. I have no movement in my legs, can’t sit independently, I have limited use of my left hand, no use of my right and I’m visually impaired. How could someone like me participate in a sport?

Well, after my first sail I was hooked, I loved it! For the first time in my life I felt free of my disability and all its restrictions. I left my wheelchair behind and had time to collect my thoughts in beautiful and peaceful surroundings. Being out in the fresh air was just wonderful.

Before joining Bolton Sailability, I had very few friends and little structure in my life. I had nothing to do, nowhere to go and no one that I could really relate to. I felt lonely and isolated. Now, thanks to sailing, I have many friends and enjoy a very full and active social life. Since starting, I’ve participated in several races during Sailability sessions including last season’s Bolton Sailing Club Regatta against other disabled sailors, and I won! I am a competitive person by nature and thoroughly enjoy racing, so I’ve decided to pursue sailing at a competitive level.

Now, you may be asking yourself how I sail the boat – well, let me explain. I use a servo system which attaches to my body so I can control both the sails and the helm. This means I have total independence on the water. It is the only time I can ever be completely on my own. Being completely independent of others is a new and amazing experience for me, something I never thought I’d have.

During practice and training sessions I take direction verbally from a safety boat crew about the position of other boats on the water and the course direction, as I’m unable to see them. When I’m racing, I use a double hander with a crew which means the crew is able to give verbal direction about the course and other boats.

I’ll soon be getting a moulded seating system for my boat so I can be more comfortable out on the water. The new moulded seat will enable me to sit more upright in the boat and keep me stable. This means I will feel safer and can sail with more confidence and better concentration, as I’ll be thinking about sailing not falling over. It will also be easier on my crew, who will no longer have to haul me up every time the boat heals and we can race properly.

This summer, I’m looking forward to competing at Rutland Sailability Multiclass Regatta again (last year I finished fourth overall). Sailing at Rutland is great, it gives me an opportunity to meet like-minded people with common interests. I’ve worked hard in training to improve my skills ahead of the Rutland Regatta and I hope to finish higher than fourth in the rankings this year. I am also hoping to sail at the HANSA National Championships at Nottingham in July, and would love to make the most of any other sailing opportunities that come my way.

In joining Bolton Sailability, I’ve discovered that sailing is something I can do, it’s something I’m good at and it’s something I am able to progress in. Perhaps the most important outcome is that I am no longer isolated and feel part of a community. I have met some wonderful people, both Sailability members and club volunteers who have become very special friends. I now feel that I have something to aim for and that my life is purposeful.

Sailability is the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) national programme that supports disabled people to try sailing and take part regularly. For more information, visit RYA website.

In other news:  Happy sailing to Hannah and all other sailors with disabilities heading out on the water this summer. In the meantime do look at our Information in your local area page to find some links to resource directories and activity lists.

Saddle Up for Summer with Accessibility Mark

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Summer is the ideal time for new challenges. The long days and warm weather can help motivate anyone to get involved in a new sport or activity.

It has never been easier for disabled people to have a go at horse riding with 48 Accessibility Mark accredited centres up and down the country, providing riding opportunities for people with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

The 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 getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Heading down to the stables is also more than just about the physical benefits that can be gained from regular sessions in the saddle. For many disabled people life can sometimes feel isolating, and while riding is very much about being at one with your horse and the sense of freedom it brings, it is also a time to meet up with other like-minded horse mad people.

Most Accessibility Mark sessions will be performed in a group, where friendships are formed, that are based on a foundation of a mutual love of horses and not on each individual’s disabilities.

This social interaction is also strongly linked with an improvement in confidence and self-esteem, providing a few hours to escape from their day to day challenges.

If you are looking to learn a new skill, while making some new friends, this summer contact your nearest Accessibility Mark centre to find out about the horse riding options available to you.

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.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk  

In other news: Bryerley Springs Equestrian Centre Gains Accessibility Mark Accreditation

 

WheelPower will be running their latest Feel Inspired Primary Sport Camp on Wednesday 23rd May at UEA Sportspark in Norwich

Tuesday 1 May 2018

WheelPower’s Feel Inspired Primary Sports Camps are a great way for children aged 5-11 with a disability to discover sport in a safe, welcoming and friendly environment and all activity is adapted to suit your abilities. The Camps are a great way to make new friends, improve your health and have fun!

Time:

  • Registration is from 10am and activities start at 10:15am. The camp will finish at approximately 2.30pm.

Camp Information:

​Who is the Camp for?

  • The Feel Inspired Primary Sports Camp is open to children with physical or mild sensory impairments between the ages of five and eleven years old. We shall also accept entry forms from those children who would not traditionally fit within ‘disability sport classification’ such as those with dyspraxia, epilepsy or some form of internal organ dysfunction or absence.
  • The aim of this broader definition is to make some form of provision for those children who are unable to ‘fit in’ to mainstream PE/sport provision but who also do not qualify for disability provision.
  • If any of the children’s siblings or friends (of camp age) want to attend as well to enable them to take part in the activities together then they are more than welcome – just let us know. The activities on offer can cater for disabled and non-disabled people.
  • Parents/Guardian’s/Personal Assistants may be asked to assist and support your child at some activities to ensure that they get the best experience possible. They will be required to stay on site throughout the event (there is seating available near the activities as well as in the cafeteria).
  • We are expecting between 20 and 40 children to attend the Camp.

Sports and activities:

  • The sports and activities at the Camp include basketball, boccia, bowls, fencing , table games, tennis and zone hockey (other sports may be available).
  • These activities ​are all about having fun and learning new skills – this may include a small element of competition but this is optional.
  • Everyone will be welcomed to take part and the sports and activities will be suitable for you at a level at which you will feel comfortable.
  • Each sport will last for approximately 40-minutes but children can go at their own pace and have rests when needed.
  • All of our sports coaches are qualified, have DBS checks and have lots of experience of delivering activity to disabled children.
  • All childen attending can discuss their needs and support with the Event Manager and sport coaches in a safe and private environment before starting an activity.

Cost:

  • The event is FREE to attend!​

The deadline for registration and camp payment is Monday 21st May 2018.

To register please click here

Alternatively if you want to have a chat and find out more or ask any questions please contact Ollie Buncombe who is the Event Manager at WheelPower on 01296 395995 or oliver.buncombe@wheelpower.org.uk

 

In other news: The England Talent Day for football players with disabilities aged 7-16 will be held this Sunday (6th May). 

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http://getyourselfactive.org/2018/05/