Get yourself active blog

parkrun UK teaming up with disability organisations will be great as well

Friday 22 June 2018

By Iyiola Olafimiyan

parkrun are doing great things across the world and in the UK. Evidence shows their well-run weekend activities in parks across the country have benefited many people – including disabled people.

Runners at parkrun

The organisation is teaming up with royal college of GPs and getting GP surgeries to encourage their patients, staff and carers to get active. This is a positive development and, as this article highlights, will save the NHS loads of money.

However, running and other physical activities bring more than just medical or wellbeing benefits to disabled people.

Whilst the good people at parkrun are doing great things getting more people running in parks across the country, it would be good if they could start forming alliances with projects and organisations that embed their practices in the social model of disability and equality.

‘Disability’ from the social model perspective is about an activity or environment that has been planned without involving disabled people.

We at GYA endorse this partnership with the GPs and the Royal College and indeed many disabled people will often visit their surgeries as patients. However, developing partnerships with organisations that speak up for disabled people and linking them in a 3 way relationship with GPs will have an impact that goes far beyond just organising events in parks.

The partnership will benefit everyone. Doctors and other health related professionals will understand the importance of listening to disabled people and not just making assumptions. Volunteers and organisers of park runs will understand that different impairment groups have different access needs and work with their organisations to offer practical solutions to these needs.

Finally, disabled people themselves will feel empowered and valued. They will not necessarily view themselves as patients who are always sick, but ordinary citizens who value the health and wellbeing benefits of being part of a community of active people in their local parks.

In other news: Disability Rights UK’s challenge to the tech industry- how tech can get more disabled people moving!

Disability Rights UK’s challenge to the tech industry- how tech can get more disabled people moving!

Tuesday 19th June 2018

“Disabled people are the experts in what they can and can’t do. It’s about involving them at the initial stages of an idea”

Our Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Peer Support Lead, Kate Pieroudis was guest speaker and panel debate member for FutureFit– a one day event looking at how the tech industry can get more people active. This is one of many events happening as part of London Tech Week.

We talked about some of the challenges the Get Out Get Active Peer Support Project faced around linking disabled people with one another to offer support and how the tech industry can help us capture the process of change for someone when they get more active, things like increase in confidence and better mental well being. This helps us to show the impact of our work and the positive changes that projects like Get Out Get Active can have to transform someone’s life.

One of our star mentors on the Get Out Get Active Peer Support Programme, Lindsay Swain, was also a guest speaker sharing experiences supporting a mentee, Henrietta to get more active. Lindsay has also recently developed a health condition herself so has a really unique perspective of someone who was really active but now due to rheumatoid arthritis needs to re-think how she exercises

“Flexibility is really important, I sometimes need to cancel a class on the day due to pain, I don’t like being charged fees for doing this. Could there be an app that knows I have an account linked to having a disability? Also, class passes are a great idea, buying a set number of classes so not being charged monthly membership fees”

We know that not many fitness related apps or websites are designed with disabled people in mind and that this can lead to apps that don’t meet the needs of disabled people. Also, we’re used to seeing images of disabled people as Paralympians- something that doesn’t resonate with many disabled people.

Our main message was that disabled people and people with health conditions need to be properly consulted with from the very start of design of websites, apps and other innovative platforms and be involved at all stages from design and delivery all the way to evaluation so they actually work for disabled people. This would generate huge income for developers to reach this untapped market of people who don’t have apps or platforms specifically aimed at them.

More than this, more support and resources need to be channeled to support disabled people to take up jobs in the tech sector.

We’ve since been approached by tech companies who want to find out more about how disabled people and Disability Rights UK can get involved with their work building apps designed to get people more active. Watch this space for more!

Find out more about Get Out Get Active and Peer Support here: or for more information, contact on 07715 960710

Read Lindsay’s blog about being a volunteer mentor here:

In other news: Why do we push so hard for disabled people to become more physically active. Look at our why get active page? to find out!

Parallel is coming to Scotland

Thursday 14th June 2018

Team Parallel  are happy to announce that this year, they are bringing the UK’s largest all-inclusive mass participation fun run to Glasgow, taking place on 2nd September in the beautiful George Square.

Parallel Glasgow will be fully-accessible, consisting of a 100m, 1K, 5K and the Super Sensory 1K. Alongside the fun runs will be a free family mini fest with sport, games, play and well-being activities for all.

Be sure to register your interest today to stay up to date on more updates to come.

Look out for their further announcement of Parallel Lambeth this week!

In other news: Maya the determined wheelchair racing whizz kid!

National Award For Trust’s Mental Health Project

Thursday 14th June 2018

Chester FC Community Trust has received a national award for its work supporting men who have experienced mental health problems.

The charity won the Best Health Project category in the 2018 National League Trust Community Awards, which celebrate the impact of clubs across the three divisions of the National League in their communities.

Chester FC Mental Health & Wellbeing is a partnership between Chester FC Community Trust, forfutures, which provides homeless support services across Cheshire West and Chester, and the Cheshire Centre for Independent Living through the Get Yourself Active project.

Weekly football training sessions take place at the Northgate Arena and a team representing Chester FC competes in the Cheshire Ability Counts Football League with participants invited to attend Chester FC matches as a reward for their involvement in the project.

The project helps to reduce the social isolation people with mental health problems can experience, offering participants opportunities to make friends and keep fit in a welcoming environment and talk about their problems without stigma, seek advice and access additional support.

In addition to physical health benefits, evidence shows regular exercise is beneficial for mental health and well-being too, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-esteem and reduce risk of depression.

Lee Gregg, who lives in Blacon, is a regular at the sessions and has captained the team, who completed a Cheshire Ability Counts League and Cup double this season and won the Cheshire round of the FA People’s Cup.

He said: “I first started going to the sessions about three or four months ago and I absolutely love it.

“I’ve always wanted to play for Chester FC and now I’ve got that opportunity. It means a lot to me to be able to play for the club and they’ve been great in inviting us to matches.

“My fitness has improved and I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since I started. I feel better in myself and I feel more confident.

“I didn’t know any of the other lads when I went to my first session but they are a great bunch. We have a good laugh, I’ve met some new people and they’ve become good mates.

“We help each other out. If one of us has had a tough week or something then the rest of us can pick up on that and we make sure they’re okay. The football helps because you can be feeling a little bit low before the session and by the end of it your mood can be a lot better.”

Levi Lloyd, of forfutures, has been involved in the project from the outset and manages the team.

He said: “I have seen first-hand the difference this project has made and how much pride the lads take in being associated with Chester FC.

“From a group of individuals who didn’t know each other and who each has their own issues to face, the lads have become a real team and are now friends who support each other on the football pitch and in everyday life.

“I have been really impressed at how much they have learned about team spirit and achievement. Their attitudes have been first class and they are a brilliant group of lads to work with.”

Jim Green, chief executive of Chester FC Community Trust, said: “We are thrilled to receive this award and grateful to the National League Trust for their recognition and continued support of our programme.

“It is extremely rewarding to see the positive impact it is having on the participants and demonstrates how football has the potential to change lives.”

Thomas Bell, Get Yourself Active coordinator for Cheshire Centre for Independent Living, said: “This project has been a great success and highlights the importance of partnership working in order to create new, fulfilling activities for service users.

“The Get Yourself Active project’s main aim is to give anyone, no matter what their background, age or ability, an opportunity to take part in a meaningful sport or physical activity opportunity across Cheshire.”

In other news: Congratulations Chester FC Charitable Trust! To find out more about Cheshire Centre for Independent Living go to this section of Our partners page.

Activity Alliance releases Ten Principles film

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Activity Alliance, supported by Sport England, has today released the Ten Principles film to guide providers to deliver more appealing and inclusive opportunities. If embedded within planning and delivery, the principles can be the vital ingredient for delivering activities that will support disabled people to be and stay active for life.

The first in a series of films on the ten principles, it introduces viewers to the approaches which together can drive awareness, engage, support and reassure participants. Activity Alliance chose to work again with Fuzzy Duck, a creative agency, to devise and script a new style film.

Kris Saunders-Stowe, a fitness instructor and a wheelchair user, presents the film in a variety of sporting settings. Other people with impairments and long-term health conditions support him to explain the principles in more detail. From a sunny afternoon at a Salford Wheels for All cycling session to a cold morning running on Southport Promenade, the film captures the principles in the real life environment.

In October 2014, Activity Alliance (under its former name the English Federation of Disability Sport) released the Talk to Me report. This report outlines ten principles developed with disabled people that sports providers should follow to help make their activities more appealing.

The report and its principles have been key pieces for Activity Alliance. Not only are they now widely used across the sector and at the heart of new programmes like Get Out Get Active, the principles were positively referenced in the Government’s 2015 strategy, Sporting Future.

Presenter Kris said about the film:
“I was delighted to be asked to take the lead in this film as the subject is something very close to my heart. In my experience, simple changes in the way we perceive people and their needs can easily remove barriers, providing equality and access to all.

“I hope viewers will take the information in the film and apply it to their own work. It doesn’t need to be a daunting or complicated exercise to move forward and embrace our multi-ability society.”

Barry Horne, Chief Executive for Activity Alliance:
“Whilst many providers already offer opportunities for disabled people to take part, the high number of disabled people who are inactive remains a major cause for concern. Disabled people told us that, too often, they are unaware of opportunities available to them or said that what is offered is not appealing or accessible enough.

“This film gives us an understanding of how we can all make opportunities attractive and inclusive. What’s clear from our experience of applying the principles is that they can be adapted to all audiences but include some considerations which are particularly important to successfully engaging disabled people.”

Sport England’s Executive Director Mike Diaper said:
“We’re proud to support the creation of this film highlighting how the barriers that can deter disabled people from playing sport or being active can be removed. Everyone who works in the sports and activity sector needs to watch it and then put the simple and practical principles into action.”

You can view the Ten Principles film here.

Find more information on Activity Alliance on

In other news: Do look at the Ten Principles film, as well as our own films about getting active.



Activity Alliance launches new Inclusive Activity Programme supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England

Friday 8 June 2018

Activity Alliance is delighted to announce the launch of the brand new Inclusive Activity Programme (IAP). The announcement comes during Coaching Week (4-10 June) after a successful application to Sport England which will see £450,000 of National Lottery funding dedicated to the programme. Over three years, the programme will engage key groups in specialised training with the aim to increase the number of active disabled people across England.


Activity Alliance, UK Coaching and Sport England have come together to build on the success of the programme’s predecessor, the Sainsbury’s Inclusive Community Training. IAP will equip people with the skills to engage disabled people and people with long-term health conditions more effectively in activities. It will provide a unique opportunity to improve significantly the confidence and competence of the coaching family, local community activators and health care professionals to deliver inclusive activity.

Statistics show that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people. However, there is significant unmet demand with research showing that seven in ten disabled people want to be more active.

Over three years, the Inclusive Activity Programme will deliver over 600 practical tailored face-to-face workshops and provide access to ongoing learning and development opportunities for 8,500 individuals. This support package will enable participants to develop their coaching skills and confidence continually. Ultimately, trainees will be empowered to tailor their own delivery to a variety of different audiences.

Barry Horne, Chief Executive for Activity Alliance, said:

“We are very excited about this new enhanced programme and the impact it will have across the country. This funding from Sport England’s National Lottery will enable us to build on our learning from previous work.

“We know there are groups of people who have greater influence on how active we are or want to be. IAP will target these individuals to make a real difference to the lives of people who are not currently active. The aim is to ensure that disabled people have more opportunities to be active for life.”

Sport England’s Executive Director Mike Diaper, said:

“Our research shows that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive which means they’re missing out on a wealth of physical and mental health benefits. Many disabled people want to be active but can be put off by things such as a lack of opportunities and the right support. Sport England are delighted to be providing National Lottery funding for the Inclusive Activity Programme, which will train coaches, local community activators and health care professionals so they can offer disabled people strong support and help build their confidence about getting active.”

Mark Gannon, Chief Executive Officer of UK Coaching, said:

“One of the greatest skills any coach can have is that of adaptability. The ability of a coach to make changes, in situ, to ensure more people are able to take part in a sport or physical activity is key if we want an active nation. UK Coaching is delighted to be working in partnership with the Activity Alliance to support coaches to deliver great experiences for all.”

In line with the Coaching Plan for England’s definition of coaching, IAP partners recognise that there are a range of individuals who can play a key part in supporting sport and active recreation.

The programme targets three different sectors. These enable us to reach an extensive number of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions:

  1. Coaches / traditional physical activity deliverer family (including; qualified sports coaches, activators, sport leaders, outdoor recreation deliverers, personal trainers / fitness instructors)
  2. Local community activators (working for example in disabled people’s organisations, community interest charities, housing sector and scout/guide groups )
  3. Health and care professionals (including; occupational therapists, physiotherapists, care workers and support workers)

The training will cost a maximum of £20 for participants to attend (subsidies may apply) and will enable them to:

  • Learn about practical tools to support inclusive delivery
  • Explore creative ideas to support disabled people to take part in sport and activity
  • Access a range of resources to support delivery of activity sessions beyond the workshop. Also, to ask questions, share ideas, network with others and receive additional online support and mentoring
  • Learn about local opportunities, organisations and further training both for themselves and the disabled people they support

To ensure maximum impact of the programme, Activity Alliance and UK Coaching aim to work closely with the County Sports Partnership network and other identified national partners. These include National Governing Bodies of sport, MIND, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists.

We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to be part of this programme as an individual or an organisation. Please contact or call 01509 227753.

Find more information on Activity Alliance on our website

In other news:  Disability Rights UK and Activity Alliance have worked in partnership to create a resource providing information on: Supporting disabled people to be active using personal budgets.

UKSA announce British Team heading to Paris for first Inas European Summer Games

Friday 8th of June

Britain’s best athletes cross the channel in July to take on some of the World’s best at the inaugural Inas Summer Games as part of the UK Sports Association (UKSA) Great Britain Team.  

UKSA is proud to announce its athletics, cycling and swimming Teams, with further announcements in Tennis, in collaboration with the Tennis Foundation to follow. 

British representation spans the 4 sports of athletics, cycling, tennis and swimming and includes previous internationals Declan Manning and Nathan Fleetwood as well as six others making their GB international debuts for UKSA.

Supported by a dedicated team of coaching professionals, expectations are high as athletes continue to prepare to demonstrate their sporting prowess.

Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive, UK Sports Association comments  “We really have seen some excellent performances from the British Team already” comments

“We set competitive standards for the event and this has without a doubt shown that British athletes are ready to rise the challenges that this performance environment will throw at them”.

“The Inas Summer Games will be challenging, but we have selected a Team of strong talented athletes who are ready to do the job. We have a dedicated group of coaches supporting the Team and I am delighted that one of those coaches is a former Paralympian who started his career as an Inas competitor. Congratulations to all athletes and coaches on their selection to the UKSA GB Team.”

The UK Sports Association (UKSA) is the only official Great Britain member of Inas, the International Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment, Down syndrome and autism.

Hosted by Fédération Française du Sport Adapté on behalf of Inas Europe, the Inas Summer Games will take place in Paris, France from 14 July to 22 July 2018.  With 9 sports in contention, it is expected that over 1000 participants will take part.

The Championships will incorporate the Inas European Championships in Athletics and Swimming and the Inas World Championships in Cycling and Tennis.

In other news DR UK  is now recruiting runners for the Great North Run 2018

Disability Rights UK reacts to Professor Bevans comments on obese workers

Friday 8 June 2018

On Monday 25 June. The Daily Mirror reported that Professor Bevan, head of HR research at Institute for Employment Studies had remarked that obese workers should be allowed to turn up late and be protected under anti discrimination law.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs, said that idea was ludicrous. Obese people do actually have some protection under European worker discrimination law  where obesity leads you to have physical, mental or psychological impairments, which could affect your work. Your employer should make reasonable adjustments in this case and you could make a claim for discrimination at an employment tribunal if adjustments are not considered or made.

Unfortunately no mention was made of encouraging obese people to get active. Disability Rights UK is committed to promoting greater activity and wellbeing for disabled people via our Get Yourself Active programme and our involvement in the Get Out Get Active programme.  And while we’re supportive of any approaches that improve attitudes towards disabled people, including people who develop health conditions and disabilities through obesity, we feel strongly that Professor Bevans proposals should not be considered in isolation. Instead we should ensure that there is a joined up approach to dealing with the negative effects caused by obesity, including through peer support (disabled people supporting other disabled people to become active) and greater use of personal budgets by disabled people to take part in physical activity. And particularly as according to the latest biannual Active Lives Survey by Sport England 43% of disabled people are classed as inactive, something that is one of the lead causes of obesity.

We also advocate greater investment and wider promotion of Access to Work as it provides support to meet some of the adjustments required by disabled employees.

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

FREE sports and physical activity tasters for people with a visual impairment.

Friday 8th June 2018

Come and enjoy Tennis, Zumba, Football, Goalball, Climbing, Athletics,
Gym instruction and more!

There are great facilities at Westway with an excellent climbing wall and football training provided by Fulham Football club and so much more.

Free Entry- Closing Date 16th June

Date: Saturday 7th July,  Time: 10.30am to 4pm
Venue: Westway Sports Centre, London W10 6RP

Open to all ages; young people 8+, adults and older people.
Siblings and friends welcome.
Meet and greet service available from Latimer Rd station.
More details and to register: or
Contact: Alex 07929 356428 or

Brought to you by British Blind Sport, London Vision, RSBC, Illuminate Freedom.

In other news: British Blind Sport are a National Disability Sport Organisation. What does that mean? Find out in our Glossary of terms.

Can Do Community Sail Event on 23rd June

Thursday 7  June 2018

Can Do invites you to attend the 2018 Can Do Community Sail Event. Can Do is a volunteering programme for young people with disabilities aged 10-35.

No experience required. It’s about giving you the opportunity to make a difference – both to yourself and your local community.

Come along for a fun filled day of sailing with our Can Doers from Roots and Shoots College. It’s free – no experience needed. You will be joining other Can Doers, and be instructed by Tideway Sailability staff and volunteers. Everyone is welcome to join.

Date: Saturday, 23rd June 2018

Time: 10:30 – 3pm

Address: Tideway Sailability Greenland Dock, Rope Street, London SE16 7SX

Community Sail Event poster 

Please let us know if you can make it by contacting Can Do Programme Coordinator Carrie Tse at: or 07872 048 624.

In other news: After my first sail I was hooked, I loved it!