Get yourself active blog

Latest Active Lives Survey: Small gains yet somewhat significant ones

Thursday 8 November 2018

The latest results for the Active Lives Survey were released. Leo Capella, Outgoing Communications Officer for Get Yourself Active provides some reaction and analysis to the results.

Something that’s slipped quietly below the radar are the latest results from the Active Lives Survey done by Sport England. Which is a shame as actually there’s some positive news from these statistics to talk about for disabled people.

The number of disabled people that are active (150 mins+ of physical active) crept up by 0.2% from the first survey which was done in November 2015-2016. With the population of disabled people who were classed as inactive decreasing by 0.9%.

The amount of people with disabilities who’ve been fairly  active (30-149 minutes) rose.

Mirrored trend in England of people as a whole becoming less physically inactive which fell by 0.3%.

These statistics have been fuelled by the rise of people with one impairment doing more physical activity. For example the percentage with people with 1 impairment who were inactive fell by 1.6%.

Although this small change may be seen as insignificant due to the small figure, we think it is significant as this increase means that thousands of disabled people have chosen to become more physically active. After all, this percentage rise represents 52,000 people becoming more active. The size of a medium sized town in England.

Also when you consider that the amount of people who stopped becoming in active fell from  4,013,100 in 15-16 to 3,978,800 in 2018 you’re talking about (yes you’ve guessed it) the population of a size of a small town becoming more active. So a town of people isn’t a small amount by any means. Maybe it’s not a large town or even dare I say it a city of people but it can still be called progress.

There is still a lot of work to do though.

As a certain piece of research published by the Activity Alliance shows, although four out of five disabled people want to be more physically active almost half of disabled people (47%) fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active. This is a scary statistic and one that needs to be tackled.

Also something less reported but equally important is analysis done by Dr Rachel Aldred et al. at the University of Westminster which shows that the majority of London do not consider disabled people as fully fledged cyclists in their transport strategy documents. This might seem like an irrelevant statistic but it goes to show that there needs to be far more work done to create an environment both physically and socially that enables disabled people to be physically active, whether inside London or outside of it.

Last year Robert Groves hand cycled the coastline of England to fight preconceived ideas of what is possible for someone who is paralysed below the waist, and raise awareness about many societal issues including climate change and the environment.

It’s not all bad news for disabled people in terms of physical activity. There are wonderful things going on to increase the amount of activity disabled people can do: whether on National Fitness Day or through own work including our training sessions for social workers and the various personal experiences of disabled people getting themselves physically active. I’ve enjoyed being part of those efforts in the time I’ve been part of Get Yourself Active.

I guess that in the end though the situation is best summed up by an old African proverb: “Many rivers crossed, many rivers still to cross”. And hopefully by the time the next Active Lives Survey results are released more people including those with multiple disabilities will be physically active.

In other news: Information is still one of the biggest barriers to disabled people getting active. Look at our “Information in your local area page” to find some links to resource directories and activity lists.

Accessibility Mark Helps Transform Lives

Friday 14 December 2018

Horses are amazing animals that have the ability to make a real difference to people’s lives. Evidence of this can be seen on a daily basis at Accessibility Mark centres up and down the country.

When Church Farm Equestrian Centre organised an event to mark Disabled Access Day in March 2017, they hoped it might generate some interest from a few new riders.

Such was the success of the event that some of the visitors who attended the day are still riding at the centre nearly two years on, and it has had a hugely positive impact on their lives.

The level of confidence that Alisha has developed through riding has transferred into other areas of her life.

Julia Evans went along to the event with her eight-year-old daughter, Alisha. Having been born with Down Syndrome, Alisha was behind in her cognitive skills and spoke in a very low tone but is an active child that is very willing to give things a go.

Alisha had never had anything to do with ponies previously so was slightly nervous of them on the day, willing only to groom a pony at arm’s length. Despite her nerves she enjoyed the experience so Julia signed her up for more sessions.

Alisha began riding at a Disabled Access Day event at Church Farm Equestrian in 2017.

From March to July 2017, Alisha attended Church Farm once a week, just to groom the ponies, with no pressure from the staff to take things any further, then one day at the end of July Alisha announced to instructor Kay Padfield, that today she was going to ‘ride a horse’.

That first ride on Crystal the pony was a turning point from which Alisha has never looked back and she now rides some of the biggest ponies on the yard.

Julia said:

“The level of confidence that Alisha has developed through riding has transferred into other areas of her life. She used to get frustrated when people couldn’t understand her but this has now gone, which is definitely down to horse therapy. She has a bond with the pony that is unbelievable. 

“When Alisha now struggles with challenges, I remind her that she can ride a horse, so she can do anything. Horses are not judgemental, which Alisha senses and it is just what hyper-sensitive children need.”

Alice Boyett saw the Disabled Access Day event at Church Farm advertised on Facebook and following a chat with Kay on the phone she was encouraged to pop along with her son Ethan. Following a brief ride on a beach donkey, Alice had been waiting for a place to become available at a different riding school for over a year.

Now 12-years-old, Ethan was born with Translocation Down Syndrome 21:21 and was also diagnosed with autism when he was five.

Ethan has complex needs and is completely non-verbal. He is just learning sign language and uses a simple choosing board to choose an activity, food or drink.

Even though Ethan loves being around people, he can sometimes find it

Ethan riding through a water tray during the summer heatwave.

difficult to understand how to behave properly and struggles to form relationships with people, and can become frightened if he is unsure of a certain situation and can lash out. Due to poor muscle tone and lax ligaments Ethan also has mobility issues.

During the free taster session the whole family including Ethan’s twin brother got to look around the yard before Ethan got to enjoy his first ride. Although Ethan was initially hesitant and wanted his Dad to stay close by, he enjoyed the experience and it was obvious he was happy to be there.

That evening Alice contacted Kay and they arranged for Ethan to attend for a weekly lesson.

Said Alice:

“Riding has benefitted Ethan in so many ways, on a personal, physical and emotional level.  Accessing hobbies and clubs for a child like Ethan is so difficult; riding is perfect for him. I can honestly say it is the highlight of his week. He signs ‘time to go riding’ so we know how important it is to him as he signs very little generally.

“He enjoys greeting all the ponies before his lesson and feels so comfortable at Church Farm that he happily walks around by himself, he’s built up a lovely relationship with Kay in particular and is very attached to her.

“It’s great that Ethan has an interest and activity that he can enjoy without me having to be right by his side supporting him, it gives him some level of independence which is so important.

“Riding is so good for Ethan’s physical wellbeing as it helps with increasing muscle strength and good posture, as well as his listening skills. From a sensory point of view, it’s great for Ethan to be able to pat and greet the ponies and he absolutely loves twiddling with their manes!  Without a doubt riding relaxes Ethan and it is very special to him.

Ethan enjoys riding so much that his lesson has become the highlight of his week.

“I would also like to add that Church Farm have been so welcoming and respectful towards Ethan and eager to learn all about him and his needs.  The staff sign to Ethan and help him to sign ‘thank you’ to the pony after his lesson.

“Church Farm have exceeded all our expectations and really personalised all of Ethan’s lessons.  He’s ridden to music, through a water trough during the heatwave, and dressed up at Christmas to post cards through a Christmas post box while riding.  Thanks to Church Farm, Ethan has found a lifelong hobby and interest which makes him very happy.”

Disabled Access Day 2019 takes place on Saturday, March 16, for more information visit www.disabledaccessday.com

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by the RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that it can offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure it provides a first-class experience that aims to be hugely beneficial to riders of varying levels of disability.

There are currently 51 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: Inclusive Sports Programme Ends Successful Year With An Award Win

Inclusive Sports Programme Ends Successful Year With An Award Win

Friday 7 December 2018

The Sport For Confidence programme at the Feel Good Centre in Waltham Forest has been announced the winner of the ‘Services to Inclusive Sport ‘award at the Waltham Forest Feel Good Sport Awards 2018.

Jack Edgar and Cllr Chris Robbins

The award marks the end of a successful 12 months for the programme which was first introduced in September 2017, thanks to a funding grant awarded by The London Borough of Waltham Forest.

 

Sport For Confidence is a social enterprise which provides sporting opportunities to individuals who face barriers to participation.

Sessions are open to all and are run by an Occupational Therapist working alongside a sports coach. Through close collaboration with other local organisations, such as the Social Prescribing Team, community nursing teams, the Falls Prevention Service, carer centres, Waltham Forest Council and a range of other Allied Health Professionals,  Sport For Confidence is welcoming participation from around 200 individuals per month, most of whom have not previously engaged with the leisure centre.

Sinead Kelly, the Occupational Therapist responsible for the programme’s delivery at The Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, says:

“The model of practice we have created enables those who face barriers to participation to engage in physical activity, regardless of their ability. This is an environment where individuals are treated as individuals  and supported to overcome any obstacles so that they can reach personal goals and milestones.

“Currently, we have individuals who attend sessions that identify as having a learning disability, mobility issues, long term health conditions and mental health difficulties. Many of our participants have never set foot in a leisure centre before coming to us, so it is fantastic to see them enjoy being active and making the most of the services and facilities on offer”.

The Sport For Confidence programme continues to expand its offer, creating even more opportunities for people to enjoy physical activity. Recently, in association with Carers First, Sport For Confidence introduced ‘dementia friendly’, but not dementia exclusive, seated exercise sessions. These sessions encourage carers to be active alongside individuals in their care. Sport For Confidence has also started to utilise the extreme park facilities, using trampolines to deliver fun fitness sessions to promote better cardiovascular health.

Speaking about the programme’s success, Cllr Naheed Asghar, Cabinet Member for Sports and Voluntary Sector Partnerships, at Waltham Forest Council, says:

“The opportunity to take part in sport, exercise and physical activity should be available for everyone in our community. The huge effort that Sport for Confidence puts in to open up these chances to those who may not otherwise feel able to take part is inspiring. I am proud to congratulate them as the winners of our ‘Services to Inclusive Sport’ category at the annual Waltham Forest Sports Awards, and look forward to seeing the group continue their vitally important work.”

Currently, Sport For Confidence runs Boccia sessions on a Thursday, 11.30am-12.15pm and 2pm-3pm, plus  Fridays 11.30am – 12.30pm. A  multisports session runs on a Friday at 1.30pm-2.30pm followed by a and a pool-based ‘Aqua For Confidence’ session. The trampoline sessions run on a Thursday ,10.30-11.15am followed by seated exercise sessions, 12.30pm-1.30pm.

This month, Sport For Confidence has also been awarded; Winner of Swim England’s, national ‘ David Sparkes OBE Innovation Award’ and winner of ’Services To Inclusive Sport’ by Active Braintree.

Whatever the activity, everybody is welcome at Sport For Confidence sessions. For more information, contact Sinead on 07543742407 or email sinead@sportforconfidence.com.

In other news: Get Yourself Active holds its first workshop for Social Workers in Essex

YouTube
Facebook
Google+
http://getyourselfactive.org/2018/12/