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.

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

11 October 2018

 DR UK is now recruiting runners for London Marathon 2019 and we need you!

Are you eager to make a difference? Ready to make a change for the people with disabilities across the UK? We are devoted to campaigning to strengthen and protect disabled people’s rights and you can help us to raise money to support the work we do. The money that you raise goes straight back into the work the charity does in supporting some of the most disadvantaged people in society. We receive no government funding for our core work so the money raised really does make a difference!

Join #teamDRUK and apply to run the Virgin London Marathon! By joining us you will receive:

  •  Running Vest or T-Shirt
  •  Fundraising advice, ideas and support
  •  Weekly emails for encouraging advice and training tips
  •  Your Story published on our website

Any Questions? Contact Chelsey via email: Chelsey.tredgold@disabilityrightsuk.org

In other news: Re-creating London Marathon 2018 by Iyiola Olafimihan

Disability Talent ID Workshop on Friday 16th November 2018

9 October 2018

West Riding County FA have recently been accepted as a Disability Talent Hub for the 2018/19 season so they would like to invite you to their first ever Disability Talent ID Workshop; Coaches who attend this workshop will get 2 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) from FA Learning.

CPD events are for anyone involved in football who is looking to improve their skills and knowledge of the game.

The FA will deliver a workshop at West Riding County FA to give you an introduction into Disability Talent ID within the disability pathway and how those involved with mainstream football can play a massive part in this.

This workshop is free to attend and is aimed at coaches/teachers with or without qualifications who work with players under 16 years old.

This workshop will help attendees identify players in the local area and give them information on how best to support/signpost players to appropriate environments. The disability talent pathway is developing year on year to support talented young players and the workshop will give attendees the awareness to have a positive impact.

Here’s a goal from a very talented Cerebral Palsy footballer Matt Crossen:

Date: Friday 16th November 2018
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Venue: West Riding County Football Association, Fleet Lane, Woodlesford, Leeds, LS26 8NX

Teas and coffees will be provided.

If you or someone you know are interested in attending, please e-mail Colan Leung, Disability Football Development Officer at West Riding FA with your/their name, FAN, email address and any support you require for the workshop.

In other news: Watch our films and see how people are making choices and taking control over being active. 

Disability Rights UK reacts to: ‘The Activity Trap: Disabled people’s fear of being active’

8 October 2018

Earlier this morning (8 October) Activity Alliance published new research that shows almost half of disabled people fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active

Responding on behalf of Disability Rights UK, Kamran Mallick our Chief Executive said:

“The Activity Trap opens the debate into how disability discrimination impacts physical activity. It is the first time that the sports and activity sector has delved knowingly into the wider systemic barriers that affect disabled people’s ability to be active.

“Being active and reaping the benefits from activity does not happen in isolation. We cannot continue to assume that becoming active is a simple process of moving from inactive to active. There are many stages and considerations in between that we may not even associate with taking part in sport and active recreation.

“To many disabled people, finding appropriate transport, getting personal support or even having the confidence to leave the house can affect our motivations to be more active. We need to understand the challenges and barriers that disabled people face on a daily basis, including how we are represented in the media. It is not simply because we do not want to take part or cannot be bothered.”

In other news: The Activity Trap: Benefits or being fit?

The Activity Trap: Benefits or being fit?

8 October 2018

New research shows almost half of disabled people fear losing benefits if they take part in exercise

Almost half of disabled people (47%) fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active, according to new research published by Activity Alliance.

The research is particularly important as disabled people count for one in five of Britain’s population, almost 14 million people. However, they are currently the least active group in society, and twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive.

The study, entitled ‘The Activity Trap: Disabled people’s fear of being active’, shows that four in five disabled people would like to be more active (83%). Respondents’ reasons include that it enables them to manage impairments, pain, and to maintain and improve physical and mental health.

Almost two thirds (65%) of disabled people who participated in the study said they rely on benefits to be active. Without this financial support, they would not be able to afford travel, paid-for exercise and the specialist equipment needed to be active.

However, almost half of those who responded (48%) fear being seen as “too independent” for a disabled person. This could see them lose access to the benefits they need such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Some participants in the study told Activity Alliance that they live in fear of having their benefits taken away and worry about being reassessed, even if their reassessment date is years away.

Alan Ringland, is chairman of the Birmingham Ability Counts League, the largest league of disabled footballers in England.

Alan, a qualified coach and referee said the league had 455 players three years ago and now only has only 250, with many people dropping out because they have lost benefits after PIP assessment.

The 62-year-old, whose sons both represented England in disability football teams, said: “I’ve seen players who have lost their PIP and aren’t able to attend anymore. When you see them again you see that they’ve not been as active as they were, often they have put on weight and over time their health may deteriorate.

“Playing football on a Sunday was one day where they really enjoyed themselves and if they don’t take part anymore they can lose confidence, friendships, and the camaraderie that goes with that. In many cases, sport is the only regular social activity in their lives, and taking that away can have a massive impact.”

These experiences resonate deeply with former British wheelchair athlete Carly Tait, who has cerebral palsy and took part in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Carly, from Wythenshawe in Manchester, was told she would lose her adapted car four months before she was due to fly to Rio for the Paralympics. This came after being assessed for PIP in February of that year.

The 32-year-old, who had access to a car for 12 years under the Motability charity scheme needs the car for work and when in training used to attend two training sessions a day with local club Stockport Harriers.

Now eight months pregnant with her first child, Carly already lives in fear of having to undertake her next PIP assessment in eight years’ time.
Carly said: “When I was assessed for PIP in 2016 and found out that I was going to lose my car, the bottom fell out of my world. I was distraught and couldn’t focus on my training – I couldn’t even get around the track without breaking down in tears.

“It was an extremely distressing time in my life, and despite the fact that my next assessment is eight years away, it’s already causing me stress just thinking about what might happen.

“Being active means I can manage my disability better; I have more energy, am more confident and all-round I’m a lot happier in myself. Without the financial support that I received, I would never have been able to get myself to training twice a week.

“There are enough financial barriers to sport as it is, especially with the high costs of adapted equipment for some disabled people, without the additional fear of losing benefits.

“We need to give all disabled people the same rights to be active that everyone else enjoys – and end the activity trap now.”

Mik Scarlet, 53, has been a wheelchair user since his childhood, after complications from his cancer treatment resulted in paralysis.

A TV broadcaster and journalist from Camden, who hosts a video blog on the benefits of sitting yoga,

Mik said: “I had an awful experience with the award of my PIPs, which took a year of fighting to resolve and has taken a huge emotional toll. While my yoga blog has generally been well received, quite a few disabled people have contacted me saying they’d be concerned about trying it – in case they were considered fit enough to either work or receive a lower level of financial support.

“The Activity Trap report highlights the desperate situation for far too many disabled people in this country.”

Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy Chief Executive of Activity Alliance said:

“Disabled people deserve the same right to be active as everybody else, no matter whether they want to make use of their local gym or become an elite athlete. But the stark reality is that disabled people are still twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive. This needs to change.

“That is why this rigorous, evidenced report has such an important role to play in changing the reality of disability, inclusion and sport. We need to understand the challenges and barriers that disabled people face on a daily basis.

“The numbers within the report, although shocking, give us a starting point for change. We want to work with and across government to make active lives for disabled people possible. We would urge policy makers within national and local Government to take on board the calls for action within this report and the spirit with which it was written. Let’s enable more disabled people to lead happier and healthier lives.”

Disabled people can find out more about the benefits of being active, who to contact and ideas on where and how to get started on Activity Alliance website, visit www.activityalliance.org.uk/get-active

To download a copy of the report: www.activityalliance.org.uk/activity-trap

In other news: Being active improves my daughter’s quality of life.

IWDeaf 2018 blog: “I love being outdoors on the golf course”

2 October 2018

Last week, (23-30 September) was International Week for Deaf People – an annual celebration by the global deaf community. Each year, communities around the world come together to commemorate the first World Deaf Congress and raise awareness of hearing loss, sign language and language diversity. To mark International Week for Deaf People, deaf golfer Martin Anderson, told UK Deaf Sport about his experiences of being active and why he likes being out on the golf course.

Hi, my name is Martin I’m 33 years old and I live in Derby. I am a golfer and I am also deaf. I have bilateral hearing loss.

I would class myself as a regular golf player. I play 3-5 times a week during the summer and then have a 2-3 month break through the winter when the weather isn’t great. I am a member of Horsley Lodge Golf Club and have played for the England Deaf Golf team for 15 years.

I started playing golf, football and cricket as a youngster from the age of 10 but found it difficult to communicate with hearing players, particularly when I was on the football pitch. At the age of around 15, I opted for golf with the occasional cricket as it is more of an individual sport and I have been playing ever since.

Golf is great for both my physical and mental health. I love being outdoors on the golf course and the fact that I can play at my own pace. For every round of golf I play, I usually walk around four miles. It challenges me mentally too, playing conditions are rarely ever the same so every shot is different and requires a fresh perspective each time.

Golf makes me feel good, even when I’m having a bad round because I know I will be back out on the course the next day looking to improve.

I have enjoyed quite a few successes in golf over the years, including top 3 medal winners in the team event at the World Deaf Golf Championships and being overall Team winners at the European Deaf Golf Championships twice. We have been the only Nation to date to have successfully defended the title. I have been England Deaf Golf Open Champion five times and I was the first Englishman to win the Scottish Deaf Golf Open in Troon earlier this year. I was Club Champion at my previous club and once held a course record with -5.

2018 has been a good season for me so far, I was part of the England team that secured a top three team finish at the World Deaf Golf Championships in Ireland. I also won the Par 3 Challenge in the Links Golf Cup in Ayrshire, Scotland earlier this month. I now have a winter programme with a Coach from Wolverhampton (Craig Thomas), who is helping me to get ready to tackle 2019 with the aim of success at the World Deaf Golf Championships in 2020 and potentially the 2021 Deaflympics Games. Craig has various experience in how to coach players with accessibility requirements such as amputees as well as blind golfers.

Golf is a great sport, it’s a fun, relaxing way to enjoy fitness. The National Body for Deaf Golf, England Deaf Golf, is always encouraging new players to come along to their events. They provide information for local clubs and societies in British Sign Language and English, so they can help encourage more people to take up the sport.

England Deaf Golf is recognised by UK Deaf Sport and England Golf. They organise national events for Deaf and hard of hearing players of all abilities. Find out more on the England Deaf Golf website.

For more information about International Week for Deaf People, please visit World Federation of the Deaf website.

Disclaimer: At the time of publishing all links included in this article were active and working, however over time they may have depreciated and no longer link to the original source page.

In other news: If you would like to share your story about getting physically active with us do find out about what we’re looking for and get in touch. 

Get Yourself Active participates in an international workshop on inclusive cycling

2 October 2018

On Tuesday 11 September Leo Capella represented Get Yourself Active at the International Workshop on Delivering Cycling Training and Activity Sessions for Disabled People at University College London (UCL). This workshop was backed by the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS), Wheels for Wellbeing, and UCL.

A welcoming slide at the beginning of the Delivering Cycling Training and Activity Sessions for Disabled People on 11 September.

It’s always nice to get an international perspective on what you’re doing. This session was a chance for me to get a global outlook in a packed room with practitioners and academics from different organisations and universities as well as learn more about inclusive cycling.
After the welcome speeches the workshop was broken down into two main parts. The first part was a morning of intensive seminars where different lecturers and providers of inclusive cycling from different countries including the UK, Netherlands and Japan gave interesting presentations.

The same old problems that hinder disabled people from getting active repeatedly reared their heads in the workshop, such as disabled people being seen as an afterthought by planners and outdated attitudes. In research done by Rachael Arendt at the University of Westminster, only a quarter of transport strategies in London saw disabled people as potential cyclists. This is something that at best is counterproductive as with cycling, normal activities like going to the shops can become part of physical activity.

Yet there were solutions demonstrated throughout the workshop, including the presentation of a draft guide for bicycle use by disabled children. This guide will be published by the IATSS in the future. There was also an interesting presentation about the possible benefits of tandem cycling which was done by The Aozora Foundation and the Group to Enjoy Tandem Bicycles in Osaka which runs tandem cycling activities in Osaka for disabled people.

There were some nice little details too. For example, although cycling is used by Japanese people for most trips under five kilometres, cyclists are seen as enemies of visually impaired people because they collide with them. In one collision a person broke a visually impaired person’s white cane! Yet despite the run-in the visually impaired person still wanted to ride a tandem bicycle.

In the afternoon, full to bursting with information, we were divided into different groups. We discussed three different questions around disability and inclusive cycling including how to make cycling and cycling training schemes more inclusive. The workshop then finished with a summary and call for next steps including research submissions.

All in all I gained a lot of knowledge about inclusive cycling and was able to contribute to a process that will end up with more disabled people of whatever age and whatever nationality being able to cycle inclusively. After all, the desire from disabled people across different countries is there, it’s just a matter of creating the opportunities and environment for people to cycle.

In other news: Cycling back to being me

Activity Alliance announces new Chair

2 October 2018

Issued by Activity Alliance

Activity Alliance is delighted to announce Sam Orde will take over as the charity’s Chair formally from 11 October. The new appointment comes as Charles Reed retires as our Chair following seven years at the helm.

Chair for Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for eight years, Sam brings with her a wealth of skills and experience. Former event rider Sam is an experienced coach for the RDA. She has worked tirelessly to transform opportunities for riders and drivers at a national and regional level. This includes developing the first full-time Centre of Excellence for disabled people’s riding in Northumberland, and RDA UK’s National Training Centre Project which is currently under construction.

On her appointment, Sam said:

“I am delighted to be joining Activity Alliance as Chair and excited to take forward the charity’s new strategy for growth. I am passionate about disabled people enjoying an active lifestyle and benefitting from more opportunities. I am looking forward to working with the team and partners to make active lives possible.”

Ed Bracher, Chief Executive RDA UK, said:

“Sam has been a brilliant Chair of RDA, helping us expand our activities and our reach and combining sound leadership with an energetic enthusiasm for disability sport.  I am delighted that she will be able to continue to put this passion to good use as Chair of Activity Alliance and look forward to continuing to work with her as one of their partners.”

Since its founding in 1998 as the English Federation of Disability Sport, Activity Alliance has become the go-to organisation for engaging disabled people’s in sport and active recreation. Sam will 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. The organisation has increased its annual operating budget from £1million to £3million in the past five years, established a vibrant new corporate identity and exceeded Code for Sports Governance requirements.

Phil Friend, Activity Alliance Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Nominations Committee, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Sam into our family, to lead our Board. After a tough recruitment process, the Nominations Committee were unanimous in their desire to recommend Sam to board for appointment as our next Chair. Sam’s significant experience will greatly enhance Activity Alliance and help us with our ambitions to grow.”

On the outgoing Chair, Charles Reed, Friend said:

“Charles has helped the charity be at the forefront of supporting disabled people to be active for life and we will miss him. We are forever indebted for his passion and commitment to the cause and us. We know that Charles will remain part of our future as much as our past. It has been a real privilege to have known and worked with him.”

Find out more about Activity Alliance here.

In other news: Look at links to information from key organisations in the sport sector.

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