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.