Get yourself active blog

What makes a good accessibility mark centre?

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Lizzie Hill was the driving force behind the original Accessibility Mark pilot scheme which aims to encourage commercial equestrian centres to open up more riding opportunities for disabled riders. Here Lizzie explains what makes a good Accessibility Mark Centre.

What Makes a Good Accessibility Mark Centre?

Lizzie Hill has been involved with the Accessibility Mark scheme from its very foundation, turning a revolutionary idea to provide training to commercial equestrian centres, to enable them to confidently teach disabled people to ride, into reality.

As the pilot project has grown into a successful nationwide scheme, Lizzie is now Accessibility Mark’s most experienced Accessibility Mark Officer (ASO), travelling the country to provide training and assessment to centres that apply for the accreditation.

There are many misconceptions about disabilities and Accessibility Mark is helping to break down barriers and establishing an inclusive environment for disabled people to participate in sport.

Part of Lizzie’s role is to challenge these misconceptions within equestrian centres to help them understand what can be achieved. But what are the elements that come together to make a good Accessibility Mark centre?

“It is really important to understand that no two centres are alike, which we were very aware of when setting out the criteria for Accessibility Mark, but at the same time there needed to be a certain standard upheld in order to be associated with RDA.” said Lizzie.

The main stipulations to meet the criteria are that instructors are qualified; that facilities fall within set guidelines; the centre must be affiliated with The British Horse Society, The Pony Club or The Association of British Riding Schools; and they must hold a valid riding school licence from their local council.

When equestrian centres apply for accreditation the ASO is there to provide support.

When centres are going through the application process, the aim of the ASO is to provide support rather than for the centres to feel they are being judged on their suitability.

Centres often assume that their facilities will not meet the guidelines if they are not fully accessible to wheelchair users, but limiting factors would not rule a centre out for accreditation. It is up to individual centres to decide the level of disability that they can work with.

“A centre may not have the resources, space or wish to install a mounting ramp, but if they have other suitable mounting facilities for riders who can manage to walk up steps, this would still enable them to achieve their accreditation.” explained Lizzie.

“We record which centres are able to take riders who have limited mobility and require a ramp and this helps us provide the best possible service to riders by helping them choose the most appropriate place to learn to ride.”

Without a doubt the horses are the most important factor in whether a centre can achieve Accessibility Mark status, however, there is no such thing as the perfect RDA or Accessibility Mark horse.

“When assessing the horses I look for genuine all-rounders and work with the centre to look at the characteristics of their current equine workforce. It is important to give the instructors confidence that a lot of the challenges that the horses may face with riders with disabilities are no different to that of any range of riding school clients.”

During a practical training session, the ASO will work with instructors and helpers and three or four of the centre’s horses, going through different mounting techniques, leading and side walking and getting them used to a range of unpredictable behaviour.

“It is often during this training that staff are surprised and pleased at how versatile the horses are.” added Lizzie.

The backbone of most successful centres is its team of volunteers and Lizzie encourages all centres to try and establish a group of helpers, who all have to undergo the compulsory training, to assist in the preparation and delivery of Accessibility Mark sessions.

Accessibility Mark is helping to break down barriers and establish an exclusive environment for disabled people to participate in sport

A good centre is one that embraces the fact that Accessibility Mark sessions may take a little longer and seeks to create a rapport with existing clients by asking them to support riders riding under the Accessibility Mark banner.

How centres run their Accessibility Mark sessions is entirely up to them but an open- minded approach is key to making the scheme work, with some having dedicated sessions while others integrate Accessibility Mark clients into their existing groups.

Said Lizzie: “I find that instructors are nervous of doing or saying the wrong thing but once reminded that they should teach what they see in front of them and as long as appropriate rider history is sought, the session should be run just as any other lesson.”

“A good relationship between the centre and its ASO, with open dialogue, is essential to making sure clients gain maximum benefit.”

“Asking for help and guidance on lesson planning and progression helps staff to focus on the individual needs of the rider to achieve their goals, whether it is a therapeutic rider or a rider with ambitions to compete.

“A willingness to work with local RDA Groups is also beneficial to ensure riders get the best possible experience, as some riders will be better suited to a dedicated RDA Group while others will excel in an Accessibility Mark session.

“It is so pleasing to hear of riders that have been waiting on the RDA group waiting list now happily riding regularly at an Accessibility Mark centre. We just aim to achieve more of these successes.” said Lizzie.

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

There are currently 52 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: Four million Britons get active as result of milestone National Fitness Day

Four million Britons get active as result of milestone National Fitness Day

26 October 2018

Issued by UKactive

National Fitness Day 2018 directly influenced over 4.1m million to be active on Wednesday 26th September as Britons across the country embraced the fun of fitness.

More than 1.25m children and young people got moving on the day, as schools across the UK led children in 10 minutes of activity at 10am, as part of the ‘10@10’ programme. This represented a major increase of more than 56% on last year.

Figures also show individuals in Scotland were the most active in the UK, clocking up a whopping 57 minutes of physical activity on average on National Fitness Day. Meanwhile, awareness of the campaign grew hugely across all of the home nations, as National Fitness Day fulfilled its aim to deliver positive impacts across the length and breadth of the nation.

The increased regional participation and recognition of National Fitness Day was spearheaded by the #Fitness2Me hero campaign, which saw 12 heroes selected to represent the 9 regions of England, alongside the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and inspire their local communities into activity.

Co-ordinated by not-for-profit health body ukactive, National Fitness Day is the most visible annual celebration of physical activity of the year. It is a chance to raise awareness of the role that physical activity plays in our lives, helping to highlight the fun of fitness and the rewards of exercise.

National Fitness Day 2018 got off to a flying start style with DDMIX Founder and Strictly Come Dancing Judge Dame Darcey Bussell, leading hundreds of members of the public in a mass dance-fitness class at the City of London’s Guildhall Courtyard in the heart of the capital, with cameras from BBC, ITV and Channel 5 in attendance – helping propel the media reach of the campaign up to over 66m.

The event also once again proved hugely popular across social media, with 8,000 mentions on the day, including posts from Arsenal FC, comic-book writer Stan Lee and Loose Women’s Andrea McLean taking reach to 64m.

This year’s National Fitness Day methodology was the first to fully quantify the number of people who were directly motivated into activity by National Fitness Day, arriving at a figure of 4.1m.

Employing the same methodology as high-profile national campaigns such as This Girl Can, ukactive commissioned polling from research specialist ComRes to calculate participation levels, allied with real-time figures from the activity data aggregator, DataHub, website sign-ups and additional reporting.

Over 58,000 people got active within the workplace – motivated by workplace partner AXA PPP healthcare’s ‘Flying Start’ campaign for employees to get active before work or at the office, with workplaces across the country signed up for official activity sessions on-the-day.

Other key figures from the day included:

  • 31m got active in leisure centres
  • Individuals in England, Scotland and Wales all reported they were most active outdoors (34%, 37%, 33%) while those in Northern Ireland reported being most active at home (44%).
  • Those aged 25-34 were most likely to report being active in their workplace on NFD (24%), indicating a possible future trend in working cultures.

ukactive Strategic Projects Director Will Smithard: “It’s fantastic to see that National Fitness Day managed to inspire physical activity in every region of the UK, truly getting the whole nation moving for the day.

“Members of the public got active at home, in the gym, out and about, and thanks to our partner AXA PPP healthcare, in the workplace.

“We want to broaden the reach of National Fitness Day even further next year and are eager to work with as many parties as possible to ensure everyone in the UK is able to experience the fun of fitness.”

Chris Horlick, Director at AXA PPP healthcare, said: “It was great to see employers around the country getting National Fitness Day off to a Flying Start by encouraging employees to have a more active commute or get involved in free activities.

“Employers have a key role to play when it comes to supporting an active workforce and the health benefits of being physically active can pay dividends for employees and employers alike.

“Events such as National Fitness Day help to highlight that fitness can be fun, and can help prompt healthier habits.”

In other news: On National Fitness Day we showed different ways that some of our staff at Disability Rights UK keep ourselves physically active. And with the pictures to prove it too!

New activity sessions in London as part of Sporting Sense

25 October 2018

Sense have some great activities set-up as part of the Sporting Sense project in London, which they invite you to get involved in.

Sport England – Merchants’ Academy climbing. 11 June 2014

Climbing
For anyone 14+ with a sensory impairment or complex needs who wants to get involved. This group is led by an instructor, participants take it in turns to have a go on the various climbing walls. Limited space available!

When: Thursday 11th October to Thursday 15th November
Time: 11.00am – 12.30pm
Where: The Reach, Unit 6 Mellish Estate, Harrington Way, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR
Cost: Free Climbing sessions.

Ice Skating
For anyone 14+ with a sensory impairment or complex needs who wants to get involved. This is an opportunity for people to attend an open ice skating session at the leisure centre for people with a disability. This session is not led by an instructor, but there is a skate marshal present.

When: Mondays Started on Monday 17th September.
Time: 10:00 -11:00
Where: Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre, 390 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6HX
Cost: £5.70 per session. Paid upon arrival to leisure centre.

Please register your attendance for any of the activities above, or for more information contact Mayana:
Email: mayana.mcdermott@sense.org.uk 
Telephone:0207 014 9318

As with all of our sessions they welcome friends, family and support workers to come along and join in, you don’t have to be sat on the side, you can have fun and learn as well.

In other news:From Boccia to Ice Skating – It’s important to find the right activity for you!

Mental Capacity Act and Court of Protection Seminar will be held on Tuesday 13 November

23 October 2018

My Afk (previously Action for Kids), together with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and The Advocacy and Support Partnership are delighted to announce that two new speakers will be joining their expert solicitor Alex Rook, at the Transition to Adulthood – Mental Capacity Act seminar for parents, carers and professionals on Tuesday 13th November.

Her Honour Judge Hilder, Senior Judge of the Court of Protection will be speaking about the Court Of Protection and how it works. In addition, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, will talk about the ombudsman – what he does and how it can help parents of disabled children.

Book now so that you don’t miss out – the seminar runs from 10 am to 2.30 pm in central London and costs only £15 for parents and carers and £45 for organisations and professionals. Places are going fast.

To download a flier for the seminar click here.

Book your place using this link.

In other news:Applications For The Virgin London Marathon 2019 for Disability Rights UK (DRUK) are now open!

P and R Equestrian Centre – Providing Opportunities for Everyone

23 October 2018

P and R Equestrian Centre situated in Friskney, in the heart of Lincolnshire is the latest riding school to the gain the Accessibility Mark accreditation through Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

The Riding for the Disabled Association, 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.

P and R is a family run yard managed by Pearl Massey that specialise in all aspects of riding, horse care and hacking. The centre provides horse riding set in a quiet corner of the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside and riders are encouraged to develop at a pace that suits them and increase their capabilities using simple techniques.

Pearl became interested in the Accessibility Mark Scheme when she heard that the RDA was encouraging more riding schools to accommodate disabled people who wish to take up horse riding.

Said Pearl: “We pride ourselves on offering quality riding, hacking and leisure driving sessions in a safe, friendly and relaxed environment. Whatever your level of riding our aim is to improve your riding skills while having fun.

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 they offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure they provide you with a first class service and an experience that aims to be hugely beneficial.

For further information contact P and R Equestrian on 07545 813962 or email pearlmasseyis@aol.com

There are currently 52 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:Meet Jo Hayward – Accessibility Mark Co-Ordinator

Nina Bergonzi: How Nordic Walking keeps her physically active.

Friday 19 October 2018

This week’s personal experience blog post comes from Nina Bergonzi who has Dystonia and uses Nordic Walking to help keep herself physically active.

I am a 28-year-old woman with a chronic neurological condition which makes getting healthier more complicated.  I have Dystonia; which causes involuntary muscle spasms.  Mine is a complicated case and every muscle in my body is affected.  I have had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, I have Botox injections regularly in my hands, feet and legs, and take medication daily.  There are days I cannot walk and can only mobilise in a wheelchair.

I am in constant pain, whether I am mobile or not, and needed a way to get fit that didn’t cause my pain levels to spike too much.

I have used walking sticks and crutches in the past so, when I heard about a new Nordic Walking group I thought it was a great way to try and improve my fitness. I contacted a local instructor who advised me to come along and try it out. Together with my mum and friend, we attended a training session.

Nordic Walking uses specially designed poles to enhance your natural walking experience. It combines the simplicity and accessibility of walking with simultaneous core and upper body conditioning, similar to Nordic skiing.

This results in a full body workout, which means that you:

  • burn up to 46% more calories compared to walking without poles
  • release tensions in your neck and shoulders
  • improve your posture and gait
  • strengthen your back and abdominal muscles
  • reduces the impact on your joints
  •  increases your maximum oxygen uptake and caloric expenditure
  •  combats obesity
  •  increases blood circulation and metabolism
  •  enhances mood
  •  good cardiovascular training
  •  suitable for all: irrespective of age, gender or physical ability
  •  it also tones 90% of your body!

For more information please go to: https://britishnordicwalking.org.uk

I was concerned how I could cope. My instructor was great and put me at ease straight away. Chris lets you work at your own pace and makes each session a little bit different. This stops it being boring and keeps it fun. We can regularly be found laughing and chatting as we walk along. The other members of the group are lovely; and the social side has definitely helped me. Being disabled can be lonely and chatting to different people has helped improve my confidence and mood.

I have noticed I am becoming more toned and each session has left me less breathless.

Even though I struggle to hold the poles, my toes are in constant spasm and each step I take is agony, I am enjoying the time spent with others and improving my fitness. Even by just enjoying the scenery or breeze on my face, each session leaves me feeling brighter. It has helped my well-being and I feel mentally and physically stronger already.

Our first training session was over two months ago, I have now purchased my own poles and am looking forward to using them to get fitter. Even if that is just in my own home or garden when I am not well enough to go out!

The hardest thing about wanting to get fitter – which will improve my quality of life – is being judged by those who do not know me.

During these last two months, there were three weeks I did not leave the house. I barely walked and was having severe, full-body muscle spasms for a few hours every day. I was drowsy from medication and aching from the storm (what we refer to severe spasms as).

I did notice however that my body seemed to recover a bit quicker; unfortunately for me over the past few years these storms have become a regular occurrence, and I was keen to get back out and join the walking group again.

That being said, in the back of my mind is always the worry about my disability benefits. What if my one outing a week to get fit affects my benefits? Unfortunately, the way the UK currently is, I know this is a worry for a lot of disabled people.

I am unable to work due to my Dystonia, and if I lost my benefits I do not know what I would do. Having a rare condition that not many know about – including medical professionals – means there are others with Dystonia who do not get any benefits at all.

I am only out for an hour, and our routes go through public gardens/parks or around the perimeter of sports fields, and includes warm up and warm down exercises. Other groups do more challenging routes. My disability limits me, but I feel this small amount of exercise has been beneficial.
Being in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, there are fewer opportunities and facilities for disabled people, but if you look, I’m sure like me, you can find one that really does help.

To see some extra pictures that show how Dystonia affects Nina go here.

In other news: In her post Nina writes about her fears of losing her benefits. New research shows almost half of disabled people fear losing benefits if they take part in exercise.

LRS releases new video and resources: Make Your Move

19 October 2018

 Leicester-shire & Rutland Sport (LRS) have produced an inspiring video as well as resources for their campaign called Make Your Move.

The greatest benefits to our physical and mental health comes when we go from doing no physical activity at all to doing just a little bit. We can all move more in our day to day life to see these benefits.

Do you know how much physical activity we all need to do to keep healthy? The amount of activity you need to do each week depends on your age…

For more advice, tips and links click on the links provided and Make your Move!

Does your organisation promote and advocate guidance on how much physical activity we should all be doing? Click here to access the Campaign Toolkit and join the movement.

In other news: Your local County Sport Partnership may be able to give you info about activities available to you. Learn about them and other organisations by looking at our Information in Your Local Area web page.

West Riding FA have secured funding to help target disabled and non disabled 5-11 year olds

West Riding County Football Association (WRCFA) have managed to secure some funding from The FA to help target 5-11 year olds. The funding they have received needs to be invested into a number of key areas which disability football is one of them.

A few other key priority areas are:

  • Supporting the growth of the girls game, wildcats programme or transitioning girls into affiliated teams/clubs
  • Targeting specific areas in the county that currently don’t have provision for 5-11 year olds either in schools or community
  • Developing futsal opportunity for 5-11 year olds
  • Any other projects you may have and need locally that is targeting 5-11 year olds

If you would like some funding, please provide Colan Leung, Disability Development Officer at West Riding County FA with a brief summary of what you will be planning to spend the money on, how much this equates to and the planned outcomes you hope to deliver. You can do this by e-mailing him at: Colan.Leung@westridingfa.com

Please do this by Friday 19th October 2018 so that they can then allocate the funding as soon as possible.

In other news:Meet Jo Hayward – Accessibility Mark Co-Ordinator

Meet Jo Hayward – Accessibility Mark Co-Ordinator

12 October 2018

Here we meet Jo Hayward, Co-Ordinator for the Accessibility Mark scheme that helps riding schools gain a recognised accreditation to provide lessons for disabled riders.

Q. Tell me about your role as the Accessibility Mark Co-Ordinator.

A. My role is mainly administration of the project. As well as promoting the accreditation to new centres and dealing with general enquiries and queries, we are always looking for ways to improve the support and training that the centres are offered. Part of my role is to develop these ideas and put them into practice with help from the Accessibility Support Officers (ASO’s).

Q. Where are you based?

A. I am based at the Riding for the Disabled Association’s (RDA) national office which is in Warwick.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. I am passionate about horses and riding as it has always been a big part of my life. I love knowing that I am doing something that increases the opportunities for others to get involved in the sport.

Q. Have you been involved in Accessibility Mark since the beginning of the project?

A. Lizzie Hill developed the project from the beginning and I came on-board following the two year pilot period to cover Lizzie’s maternity leave. We now work on the project together, with Lizzie acting as one of Accessibility Mark’s most experienced ASO’s.

Q. Is Accessibility Mark a team effort between you and the ASO’s?

A. Definitely! The ASO’s go out and visit the centres, assessing suitability and providing the training so are more the face of Accessibility Mark. They are also constantly available to the centres to provide advice. I am more behind the scenes collating the paperwork and trying to support the ASO’s in their role.

Q. How do you think Accessibility Mark has evolved since it started as a pilot project in 2014?

A. The aims of the project are still the same but I think the training and support that are given to the centres is much better. We ask for feedback from our centres and work on the areas where they feel they would like more support and help.

Q. 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the RDA – do you think Accessibility Mark is a good reflection on how the RDA has challenged stereotypes of disability sport?

A. Yes I do, Accessibility Mark has made equestrian sport more accessible and the centres themselves are challenging the perception of disability sport by being opening and welcoming to people with disabilities.

Q. Do you have any experience yourself of coaching?

A. Yes, I am a Pony Club Level 3 coach and am about to start on the journey to become an RDA coach, which I am very excited about. This will also help me better understand the challenges faced by all Accessibility Mark centres.

Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?

A. I have my own horse and like competing for my local riding club. I have recently bought a new three-year-old horse who I am looking forward to producing, as I enjoy working with novice horses, seeing them progress and develop.

Accessibility Mark is primarily aimed at British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Clubs and Pony Club approved centres. To find out more about becoming an Accessibility Mark centre contact Jo Hayward on 01926 476300 or email am@rda.org.uk

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

There are currently 52 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: Research conducted by Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham reaches nearly one hundred and fifty participants.

Research conducted by Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham reaches nearly one hundred and fifty participants.

12 October 2018

Nearly one hundred and fifty disabled people have taken part in a study into how we produce knowledge and information about physical activity aimed at disabled people in partnership with the University of Birmingham.

 

All of them including our volunteer for Get Yourself Active Iyiola have received a fifteen pound Amazon Gift Voucher and have been entered into a draw for a £100 one.

Nearly one hundred and fifty people is a major milestone for a research project and we’d like to thank everyone who has taken part so far. We’d also like to thank everyone who has shared our calls for participants which has helped us get to this point.

However we still need more disabled people to complete a roughly fifteen minute online questionnaire and a follow up one. So if you:

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

And would like to take part contact Eva Jaarsma, Research Fellow at University of Birmingham by e-mailing her at: E.Jaarsma@bham.ac.uk . When you contact her give her your name and the best way for the researcher to contact you. We will then arrange a time for you to take part in the research from your own home. Once your bit is done you will receive your £15 Amazon voucher.

If you can’t take part for any reason then please do share this call with anyone who might be interested.

Thanks for reading and we’re looking forward to seeing more disabled people take part in what is an interesting project!

In other news: For more information about our research partnership with the University of Birmingham please go here.

YouTube
Facebook
Google+
http://www.getyourselfactive.org/2018/10