Get yourself active blog

Maya the determined wheelchair racing whizz kid!

This blog is written by Maya’s parents to share her amazing story with our readers and how even at such a young age she is developing into a potential wheelchair Paralympic champion  – enjoy

A bit about Maya Ratcliffe

Maya is a 5 years old full-time wheelchair user who loves school, swimming, riding her trike, dancing and going to the skate park. Her favourite athletes are Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Hannah Cockroft

Maya started using a self-propel wheelchair from a very young age. At 2 years old Maya had built up enough upper body strength to learn to army crawl and this was when her true spirit began to emerge. We knew from that point that she wasn’t going to let her disability or doctors’ prognosis stop her aiming high and achieving her dreams.

After wheelchair services said she was too young to self-propel we searched high and low for light weight wheelchairs that may be suitable and to our big surprise just a few days before her 3rd birthday we were gifted Maya’s first light-weight wheelchair from a lovely family who faced a similar battle.  Maya soon got the hang of it and within a few weeks was whizzing around alphabet day nursery, Whittlesey, racing and chasing her friends. By the age of 4 she was completing independent fun runs, walks and events to raise money for charity including PGER fun run and Parallel at the Olympic park, London. This year at just 5 years old, Maya is raising money for local charities and is also fundraising for some small racing equipment by completing the Parallel 5 km event, Disneyland Paris 5 km race and the PGER as part of team We’re all mad here.

Maya has a busy sports and therapy programme where we incorporate the things she loves (mainly all things Disney) to work on her strength, flexibility, balance and coordination as well as her posture. Maya attends Alderman and Jacob’s Primary school, Whittlesey and with the help and support of her Physiotherapist they have developed an inclusive and varied programme for Maya to be involved in and enjoy at school.

Racing career!

Maya started wheelchair racing after we saw a Facebook post about free taster sessions being held with Nene valley harriers in Peterborough. We were a little unsure If Maya would be big enough to give it a go but thought what the harm in trying. If anything, we just thought it would be great for her to meet other people. We encourage Maya to live a life without limits and that anything is possible if she puts her mind to it. We like to encourage her to find the ‘Maya Way’ of doing the things she loves. Racing or ‘running’ as she calls it, is another way of achieving her dreams. Wheelchair racing has also opened up lots of opportunities to try other sports including an inclusive sports day and local wheelchair accessible activities.   Since attending the Taster sessions Maya has been practicing hard, learning new skills and her confidence is soaring. There are also talks of Maya competing at her first ever wheelchair racing event on the 8th October at the PGER in Peterborough just 4 days before her birthday. What a way to celebrate turning 6!

Maya says, ‘I love racing with my friends! Racing is fun. I love going really fast and winning!’

Follow Maya’s progress at:

Help Maya reach her dreams at: w HYPERLINK “”


Is your swimming going swimmingly?

Thursday 20 July 2017

We know that disabled people face many barriers to getting active. This is why Get Yourself Active is working with Swim England to understand more from disabled people about their swimming experiences.

We want to understand the barriers and negative experiences that disabled people face, as well as the positive experiences that make swimming great.

Share your stories –good and bad – and take our short survey here.

Social workers needed to support with health and wellbeing research

Thursday 13 July 2017

Disability Rights UK has partnered with University of Birmingham and Sport England to develop evidence based guidelines to help social workers to have conversations with disabled people in receipt of social care support (personal budgets and direct payments) about how and where to be physically active and importantly why.

Our findings

Disability Rights UK has been working with partners in disabled people’s user led organisations to develop models of practice to support more disabled people to be active locally. The evidence we have gathered through our partners has helped us to understand that social workers are an important group of professionals who can instigate positive conversations about physical activity as part of assessment, support planning and review processes. We now want to find a way to support busy social work professionals to transfer this crucial information and knowledge about physical activity to the people they support.

Evidence based guidelines

Our guide will include:

  • Information and statistics on the benefits of physical activity for disabled people in particular
  • Examples of good practice
  • Evidence of the outcomes associated with physical activity
  • Advice in how to quickly and easily source information about what activities are available for people to access

What we need

We are seeking social work practitioners who can give up one
hour of their time to speak with the researchers at University of Birmingham about the guidelines we have developed.

We may ask participants to take part in a further evaluation of the guidelines at a later date for one hour.

How to get involved

If you or someone you know would be interested in taking part in the research, please contact Leanne Wightman on 020 7250 8186 or email

Hydrotherapy pool refurbishment gathering pace

Thursday 13 July 2017

Refurbishment and repair works which will enable Peterborough City Council to re-open a popular hydrotherapy pool are gathering pace.

St George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool on Dogsthorpe Road has been closed since March after a leak was discovered in the pool.

The city council has committed to building a brand new facility in the city, as it knows how vital it is for many of the city’s residents.

However, as the new pool is not expected to be open until late 2019, the city council has also committed to repairing the existing pool to limit the gap in provision.

As well as fixing the leak, there is also a need to remove asbestos from the building and make a number of other minor repairs. These works, expected to cost in the region of £45,000, are underway and progressing well.

The city council expects the St George’s hydrotherapy pool to be open again by the end of September.

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities and member of the pool’s steering group, said:

“There are a good number of people across the city who rely on St George’s for pain relief and companionship. In fact, it has helped in excess of 3,000 people manage their pain and health conditions since it opened in March 2011 and at the point the pool had to close temporarily more than 250 people were using it on a weekly basis.

“It is for this reason that I have championed the continued provision of hydrotherapy services in the city and why I have committed to the repair, renovation and reopening of the existing pool as quickly as possible.

“Work is progressing well and I am pleased to say that we are on schedule for the pool to reopen by the end of September at this stage.

“However we must not forget that although the current pool is well loved and used by a growing number of residents, it is rapidly reaching the end of its life.

“This is why I am delighted that plans are progressing on the design and costings for a brand new community hydrotherapy pool which we aim to have open by September 2019.

“We will shortly be starting to work closely with the pool’s steering and user groups to design a modern facility for the wider community.”

The plans for a new hydrotherapy pool are part of a wider plan to relocate Heltwate Special School to a new site in the city with extra pupil places and modern facilities, which will include the new pool. This is due to a growing number of pupils with special educational needs in the city.

The new school will be based at the former Perkins Sports Ground on Newark Road.

Whilst St George’s is closed, Inspire Peterborough is offering opportunities for people to keep active, rehabilitate and exercise in the interim.

Inspire Peterborough now offers more than 20 weekly seated exercise/tai chi/yoga classes for people of all ages and abilities. The sessions are accessible, inclusive and affordable and take place across the city.

For more information, email or call 01733 330815.

Find out how Jonathon gets active with the help of Inspire Peterborough. Read his blog ‘From Boccia to Ice Skating, it’s important to find the right activity for you‘.

Summer Festival 2017 – Free for all disabled people

Disability Sports Coach’s (DSC) annual  Summer Festival is back on the 28th July 2017 with Skateboarding, Cheerleading, Wallball & Rugby added to the 2017 line up!

Dig out your club t-shirt and enjoy festivals sports activities with new sports Skateboarding, Cheerleading, Wallball & Rugby added to a long list of favourites, such as Football, Basketball, Cricket, Tennis, Cycling, Boccia, and Dance. With over 20 different sports on offer, there is something for everyone!

Participants are free to enjoy the sports in their own time and go as many ‘come and try’ sports as they choose.

Participation is easy, just turn up on the 28th of July from 10 AM at  Westway Sport and Fitness Centre, 1 Crowthorne Road, W10 6RP

Registration is free and can be done on the day or in advance by calling Lauren on 0207 021 0973 or email

For more information click here

Success from Great Britain and Northern Island in World Transplant Games

Friday 7 July 2017

Back in April we heard from Simon as he was about to embark upon his latest attempt at a gold medal in the World Transplant Games. We find out how Great Britain and Northern Ireland got on.

Simon won a bronze, silver and gold medal at this year’s World Transplant Games in Malaga

When Simon contributed to our Personal Experience Blogs back in April he explained how having a liver transplant led him to enter the Transplant Games. As a novice to competition swimming he came across some obstacles with his goggles filling up with water and his trunks coming halfway down his bum due to the force of a dive, but he persevered. When we spoke to Simon back in April he was about to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Transplant Games.

The World Transplant Games Federation has been staging international sporting events and promoting education about transplantation in order to promote the physical success of transplant surgery and the need to raise public awareness and increase organ donation. Through their various initiatives they aim to highlight the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle in the long term management and wellbeing of transplant recipients.

One of the ways they achieve these objectives is through the hosting of The Summer and Winter World Transplant Games. This year’s Summer World Transplant Games took place in sunny Malaga, Spain at the end of June. There was some tough competition from other countries but Great Britain and Northern Ireland were the clear winners, with 221 medals more than the next runner up, the United States of America.

Simon contributed a Gold medal in 50 metre backstroke, a Silver in 100 metre and a Bronze in 200 metre free to the impressive medal collection.

We caught up with Simon to find out how this year’s competition went:

“Once again it was a great honour to represent my country at the 21st World Transplant Games.”

“The GB swimming team was big, with more than 50 swimmers. Amazing considering as a team we get no government or other funding.

“But the competition was strong. Probably the strongest it had been in recent years. Some other teams even get financial incentives from their governments for medal positions.

“But for me, the competition is about taking part to show how successful organ donation is, and to pay tribute to my donor and all the donor families who, at that most difficult time, when they have just lost a loved one, choose to help another person and donate their loved one’s organs.

“Now back home, my next challenge is to train up for the London Serpentine 1 mile swim in September.”

To find out more about Organ Donation or to add your name to the register click here:

Read Simon’s blog ‘Experience only comes with time and practice, trying things out and failing sometimes

New TfL map to help people with conditions including claustrophobia and anxiety

Friday 7 July 2017

People with claustrophobia or other anxiety conditions could find their journeys less stressful as Transport for London (TfL) recently launched a new map that shows which stations and sections of the TfL network are underground.

The new addition to TfL’s broad selection of downloadable Tube maps will help a range of their customers navigate the network more comfortably by showing them routes they can take to avoid areas with large stretches of tunnels.

There are 270 stations on the Tube network, but more than half are actually above ground, with the Victoria and Waterloo and City lines being the only lines that are wholly underground. In the new design, parts of the lines on Harry Beck’s iconic map have been given a grey overlay to illustrate which stations or sections of track are underground. The new map also shows which London Overground, DLR and TfL Rail services are in tunnels.

For more on the press release click here

Download new map

Disabled Fitness Instructor Project Reaches Final of National Lottery Awards

Thursday 29 June 2017

InstructAbility, a training programme run by spinal injury charity Aspire, to help disabled people start a career in the fitness industry, has been shortlisted for the National Lottery Awards ‘Best Sport Project’. Winners in each category are decided by public vote which opens on 29 June and runs until 27 July.

InstructAbility provides disabled people with a path to employment, but also makes the sector more inclusive and encourages other disabled people to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Research shows there is a significant gap between disabled and non-disabled people’s sporting participation because of numerous barriers such as accessibility, how disabled people see themselves and the attitudes of other people.


InstructAbility participants, who have impairments ranging from physical and sensory to mental health conditions, complete a YMCAfit training course to qualify as gym instructors with a disability specialism. They then undertake a 12 week voluntary placement. Afterwards they are encouraged to progress into paid work, with many developing into group exercise instructors, personal trainers, rehabilitation specialists and setting up their own businesses.

More than 300 people have qualified as fitness professionals and volunteered in leisure facilities across the country, thanks to National Lottery funding via Sport England.  These trainers have delivered 70,000 fitness sessions with disabled clients and helped to raise awareness of disability among staff and other customers.  Half the participants have moved into paid employment.

Gary Puddifoot working as a gym instructor

Gary Puddifoot, 32, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) ten years ago and is a full time wheelchair user.  With help from InstructAbility, Gary got a job at a leisure centre in Stratford.

Gary says:


“At first, I thought people wouldn’t listen to me because of my impairment but through the training and the support I received, my confidence as an instructor grew. I found I could relate to people better because I understood the challenges that they were facing.

“I absolutely love my job. I have a particular desire to get those with impairments or health conditions involved with fitness, and my story goes to prove that disability does not dictate what you can and can’t do in life.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians and chair of ukactive,  sees InstructAbility as a programme that not only helps to change individual lives but has an impact across the whole physical activity sector.  In supporting the National Lottery Award finalist she said:

“There needs to be a

Tanni Grey-Thomspon, Chair of ukactive

fundamental shake-up of our approach to bring physical activity for disabled people into the mainstream, but there have been encouraging strides taken in recent years and InstructAbility deserves a lot of credit for this.

“The initiative is carrying out vital work to diversify our workforce by helping disabled people to gain the skills, training and opportunities to build careers in the physical activity sector based solely on merit.

“It is a great example of a proactive step towards being the all-inclusive physical activity sector that we aspire to be, whether it is in our workforce or our end users, by attracting new people through our doors who might have previously felt our services were not for them – both disabled people and the wider population.

“If every organisation in the physical activity sector shares a fraction of this commitment, we can increase diversity and demonstrate that this truly is a forward-thinking sector ready to deliver the increasingly important role that it will play in the future of our nation.”

Hilary Farmiloe, InstructAbility Manager at Aspire said:

“We’re delighted that our achievements helping so many disabled people build careers in the leisure sector have been recognised.  We hope everyone who knows InstructAbility and how we improve lives will vote for us to be named the UK’s Best Sport project.”

You can vote for InstructAbility to be the Best Sports Project from June 29 until July 27 online or by calling 0844 836 9708.

Vote for InstructAbility to be the Best Sports Project now!

Aspire announces GLL and LCIL as first partners to lead InstructAbility

Membership and Events Assistant vacancy at Disability Rights UK

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Disability Rights UK works to create a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate as full citizens.

Disability Rights UK has a vacancy for a Membership and Events Assistant. The role will play an important part in organising and delivering Disability Rights UK’s range of events, including the annual Jack Ashley Memorial Lecture in October 2017 in London, and our Annual General Meeting in November 2017, to be held in Manchester. The role also involves continued development of DR UK’s online event delivery.

Salary £20-24,000 per annum (dependent on experience and with progression)

Full time 35hrs per week

The other main purpose of the role is to provide administrative support to Disability Rights UK’s growing membership function, which currently numbers more than 2,200 individuals and organisations.

To find out more information about the role, the skills you will need and how to apply visit the

Other news: The FA releases guidance on colour blindness in football.

‘I’m Back on the Dance Floor’

Tuesday 27 June 2017

This week’s Personal Experience Blog comes from Adrienne Armorer

In 2001, having left an evening of salsa dancing early, I was reminded that something was wrong. A guy that I’d danced with on numerous occasions and actually got on very well with told me I’d had too much to drink and ended our dance before the song finished. I wasn’t really a drinker and I’d only had water that evening. I decided to call it a night and limped to my car. Sitting in the driver’s seat I realised that I couldn’t drive as I couldn’t feel my right leg properly, or come to think of it, my right arm. This had happened before when everyone thought it was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because I worked on a computer every day.

Having numbness down one side of my body resulted in an urgent referral to a neurologist. The night before picking up my results I did a google search of my symptoms. I’d never heard of Multiple Sclerosis but the Neurologist agreed with google and said it was a possibility.

I needed to live life while I could. I continued dancing and travelled as much as possible.

Fast forward to 2004, I woke up one morning unable to see properly out of one eye. I had Optic Neuritis and could finally get a diagnosis of MS. Fortunately my sight returned after 6 weeks and I continued to dance when I could. Salsa in Zurich, Valencia, New York, Cancun – wherever there was a salsa club. Regular classes kept me mobile and feeling positive. I really loved dancing.

Alas after a fairly ordinary morning in 2008, I had to hang up my dancing shoes – or so I thought. A massive MS relapse put me in hospital for 10 weeks. I remember my youngest niece saying to me “but Aunty you don’t take drugs so why are you in rehab?”

I was paralysed from chest down and had to learn to do everything again; who knew making a cup of tea was so difficult? By the time I left the Neurological Rehab Unit fortunately most of the paralysis had subsided; I was walking with an elbow crutch and using a wheelchair for longer distances. A stress fracture in my right foot, due to the way I now walk pushed my return to dancing even further away. Even though the fracture finally healed after more than a year, I’m still in pain and can’t stand for long.

Getting back on the dance floor

When I received the Lewisham MS Society newsletter detailing Step Change Studios and their upcoming classes, I was over the moon. All I needed to do was sort out childcare and I was good to go. But who else was going to come with me? I have 3 friends with MS who use wheelchairs: one was busy, one had had a fall so wasn’t up to it, the other didn’t reply to my message. Could I go on my own? I’d voluntary work in Kenya and Ghana on my own in 2007, surely I could do this. Couldn’t I?

I hadn’t been able to sort out childcare and so I decided to bring my 7 year old, her cousin who was playing at our home and her mother, my niece, with me.

Wow – a 50:50 mix of wheelchair dancers and those without. Cool! A little warm-up and then we were off. I’m not a regular wheelchair user and get fatigued quite easily, so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up. It was fine. Nuno and Rashmi are on hand to help and answer any questions. I also needed to ask one of the other wheelchair dancers how he was managing to turn his chair using just one hand. The hour flew by. What a great afternoon. We left on a high.

The all-inclusive dance class that Step Change Studios is running is perfect. It’s good exercise, great fun, a lovely way to socialise and most importantly, I’m back on the dance floor! You don’t need any previous experience – even my 7 year old now loves to spin me around in my wheelchair having watched the last 2 classes.

About Step Change Studios

Step Change Studios is a pioneering dance company committed to making Latin and Ballroom dance accessible for everyone. They offer fun, engaging opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to dance. They cater to all ages, abilities and needs. Step Change provide weekly classes in London; deliver dance in schools, colleges, social care, healthcare and community settings; and create imaginative bespoke dance projects. Their goal is to support everyone to achieve their dancing ambitions – whether that is to dance for fun, to be active, to perform or compete.

For more information contact Step Change Studios Founder Rashmi Becker on 07976 363861, or email: or visit:

On Saturday 10 June 2017, Step Change Studios launched its inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes at the Abbey Centre in London. Find out more.

The FA releases guidance on colour blindness in football

Monday 26 June 2017

One in 12 men and one in 200 women are affected by colour blindness, and The Football Association has published guidance notes on the condition to raise awareness of its impact on football.

If you work or volunteer for a club or league, this guide is intended to help you ensure colour-blind people are welcomed and integrated into the game, enjoying all the positive, lifelong benefits football offers.

The guidance was produced by the FA in conjunction with Colour Blind Awareness. It comes complete with visual examples and has the full support of UEFA, who intend to disseminate the guidance to all the football governing bodies under its umbrella.

Issues in Football

  • Kit clashes – between players, goalkeepers, match officials, the playing surface
  • Equipment – balls, bibs, training cones, line markings
  • Venues – facilities, way-finding, safety signage, lighting
  • Information – digital, ticket purchasing, matchday programmes
  • TV coverage – graphics, long-distance camera angles

The guidance explains the different types of colour blindness, answers common questions and provides suggested positive interventions with those who may be affected.

It gives best-practice visual examples to avoid kit clashes, and includes a series of simulations to show the normally-sighted what colour-blind people are likely to see.

Read the original article at or download Colour Blindness in football 115.5MB (PDF).

Weekend success for junior para-swimmers at National Championships

Monday 26 June 2017

Two records were broken at this weekend’s National Junior Para-Swimming Championships 2017. The event was funded by Swim England and delivered by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). Held at Sunderland Aquatics Centre on 24 and 25 June, the event provided young disabled swimmers with more competition experience and an opportunity to win medals against national rivals.

Louise and Sam swimming

There was one British record for Kimberley swimmer Sophie Woodward, 13, in the S3 50m Butterfly (classification for people with physical impairments), in which she clocked 1:22:85. Meanwhile, Letisha Ellis, 13 and from Isle of Man, broke a GB deaf age group record for S15 50m Freestyle in 31.84 seconds.

This year’s partnership between Swim England and EFDS increased the opportunity for youth talent development. Swimmers were aged between 10-16 year olds and from all over the UK.

Janet Warrington, Disability Swimming Head Coach for Hoddesdon swimming club, took two swimmers to the championships, and said afterwards:

“This event is extremely important because it offers a chance for the young swimmers to practice their races, learn lessons, meet new friends and achieve. All of these factors improve their confidence and self-esteem. It increases their passion and determination to do well in their chosen sport.

“My swimmers both learnt some big lessons this weekend. Louise came away with three bronze medals and Sam with one!”

Jannine Walker, National Events Manager for EFDS, said:

“It was a fantastic weekend for all the swimmers and volunteers involved. For many taking part, it was the first time at a national event of this size and to see so many personal bests as well as a couple of British records broken just shows how important these championships are for their development. The support from Swim England, Everyone Active and SOS systems has been invaluable.”

Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, said:

“We are very pleased to be able to support this event. It is important that all our talented young swimmers have the opportunity to compete in national championships.”

Full competition results are available online at Read the entire article here.

Parallel London is the world’s first fully inclusive mass participation event, with something for everyone, no matter what you’re ability.

Women’s Sport Week, Disabled Women’s personal stories…an inspiration

Its women’s sport week and here at GYA we have met some amazing disabled women who find getting active and participation in sport and other physical activities  not only healthy but also as a way of challenging society to think differently about disabled women and appreciate the vast diversity that exist in our communities.

The following experiences and stories inspire us and we would love to share them with you again…enjoy!

why horse are my therapy

always exercise-sometimes sport



Women’s Sport Week 2017

Monday 19 June 2017

Women’s Sport Week (19-25 June) aims to bring everybody involved with playing, delivering, leading or working in sport together; to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.

So why should Get Yourself Active, an organisation that is trying to get more disabled people to take up physical activity and sport care about Women’s Sports Week? Well, there are so many comparisons that can be drawn between disability and women’s sport, and so many ways in which disabled women can be ‘doubly marginalised’.

The latest Active Lives Survey states that 51% of disabled people with 3 or more impairments, 41% with 2 impairments and 34% with 1 impairment are inactive compared to 21% non-disabled people. 27% of women are inactive compared to 24% of men.

Inactivity rates by number of impairments

There are 13.3 million disabled people living in the UK: 7% of children are disabled, 18% of working age adults are disabled and 44% of pension age adults are disabled. This means that disabilities are often acquired as we age.

We already know that if people are encouraged to be active from a young age, then they are more likely to stay active growing up. From childhood boys will often be encouraged to play sport by those around them, yet this is not true for girls. This leads to fewer girls taking up physical activity in their early years and consequently are even less likely to take up physical activity in later life. Even more troubling is that this lack of encouragement to take up physical activity is worse for disabled girls who are even less likely to be presented with the opportunity to take up physical activity.

It is not always straight forward. Just because you may have been active as a child does not mean you will still be active all throughout adulthood. We are active during different stages of our life, and we drop out and take up physical activity at different times, often at significant times in our lives. Considering the majority of people who are classified as disabled have acquired their impairment and were not born with it, it is sometimes this acquirement of an impairment that could (temporarily) stop them from being active. If they were not active before then they are going to be even less likely to take up an activity after they’ve acquired that disability than if they were already active prior to the incident.

What Sways Women to Play Sport, Women in Sport

The media has a big role to play in encouraging both women and disabled people to take up physical activity and sport. There is a huge lack of media coverage for women as well as for disabled people in terms of celebrating their successes. Research by Women in Sport found that only 7% of all sports coverage was about women, and research by the English Federation of Disability Sport states that “disabled adults report seeing coverage of sport and physical activity for disabled people less frequently than they see coverage of non-disability sport”. If people want to see coverage of disability sport, they often have to actively search for it, whereas “non-disability sport it is difficult to avoid due to its presence on mainstream television channels and in newspapers”. The more we see disability and women’s sport on TV and in print media the more visible positive role models are.

On a wider scale, there are different barriers affecting women and men. As it stands women are already paid less than men, and disabled women are less likely to be hired than disabled men. Women therefore have fewer financial resources to support themselves, and spending time and money on physical activity and sport will not be a priority.

We have found as part of our Get Yourself Active research that it is not just a case of disabled people not wanting to take up physical activity or sport, but there is a their lack of knowledge of what provision there is. Click here for more information on how to get active in your local area.

To show our support for getting more women active we will be sharing our favourite personal experience blogs from women throughout Women’s Sports Week on Twitter. Follow us @GetYrselfActive. #WSW2017

Did you know that if you are disabled you are half as likely to be active as a non-disabled person?

Friday 16 June 2017

We’re getting more disabled people active by providing one to one support from a mentor who is themselves a disabled person.

This is part of the Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Peer Support project which is all about disabled (and non-disabled) people taking part in fun, inclusive activities together in their local area.

Working with a mentor can be life-changing – it boosts confidence, helps people to find new solutions to problems and reduces isolation.

Here is one of our mentors Morris meeting his mentee Stephen for the first time. They’ll be working to get Stephen more active and boosting his confidence.

Read more here.

“I know I need help with motivation. I think Morris’ enthusiasm will be brilliant. We have the same sense of humour and, as cheesy as it sounds, I think he’ll actually make fitness fun! I’m really looking forward to having fun together.”

Morris said:

“I think Stephen will really help me, as mentor I know I’ll learn from him.”

Why is this important? Lots of work has been done looking at why getting active can help disabled people improve their health and wellbeing but this new project gives disabled people an extra boost by providing a mentor who themselves has lived experience of living with a disability or health condition- this is known as peer-support or buddying.

They can share experiences, skills and find ways to remove some of the barriers that stop them being active- things like low confidence, not knowing what activity is right for them or where to go to find accessible activities or leisure centres. This project can help remove these and more barriers to being active.

What are you waiting for?

Get support to get active  

Become a mentor

Find out more here.

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting new programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together.

If you have any questions or wish to register your interest,  contact Kate Pieroudis (Peer Support Lead) at Disability Rights UK:

Telephone: 0207 250 8111


InstructAbility: Fitness industry training for disabled people

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Are you disabled? Do you live in Rotherham? Ever thought about being a gym instructor?

Click on image to enlarge

Click here to view the flyer

What is the instructability programme?

  • It is a FREE Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Exercise and Disability Course with an Industry Placement.
  • It is for disabled people who are age 16 and over.
  • We are looking for people who can use their own experience of overcoming barriers to exercise and improving physcal function and/or mental health, to inspire and support other disabled people to exercise.

For more details visit the InstructAbility website or email

More like this:

Ever thought about being a gym instructor?

Aspire’s InstructAbility Programme in The Charity Awards 2017 Shortlist 

Incorporating an Open-Minded Approach to Riding, with Accessibility Mark

Tuesday 13 June 2017

A Hampshire equestrian centre has become the latest riding establishment to sign up to a national scheme to encourage more disabled people to take up riding.

Russells Equestrian Centre based in Eastleigh is honoured to have met the criteria set out by Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), to gain their Accessibility Mark accreditation.

Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

The British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and The Pony Club approved centre specialises in group and individual tuition for riders of all abilities, using ethical and holistic training methods, to enable clients to be the best rider that they can be.

With an open-minded approach incorporating traditional and innovative riding methodologies, such as Clicker Training, Intelligent Horsemanship, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Ride with Your Mind, and Equine Assisted Learning, Russells Equestrian Centre was already welcoming clients with both physical and learning disabilities.

The centre is also home to The Epona Trust, a non-profit making organisation which specialises in the rescue and rehabilitation of horses and ponies. Part of the rehabilitation process for Epona horses and ponies includes working with special needs groups of adults or children. These sessions can involve riding or ‘contact’ work, as part of Equine Assisted Learning.

Proprietor Carol Boulton, who founded the centre in 1974, found out about the Accessibility Mark scheme through her own long-standing association with RDA. She hopes the new accreditation will be seen as a stamp of approval and an acknowledgment that their standards and training are exacting of those expected by such a well-respected organisation.

Carol said:

“I hope to encourage more groups to come along and enjoy the benefits that riding can offer, with our new facilities including a club room. My vision is to dip into the idea of riding as a recreational activity. More cream teas and pony rides as opposed to the belief that it is all about serious training.

“In the long term I would like our centre to be seen as a real community asset, where clients can enjoy horses on an informal basis, whilst also providing a challenge for those with more severe disabilities.”

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by 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.

There are currently 38 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

Read Britta’s blog, ‘Why horses are my therapy

Success for Inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes launch

Tuesday 13 June 2017

On Saturday 10 June 2017, Step Change Studios launched its inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes at the Abbey Centre in London.

The launch class was a fantastic start to the summer term course, with many wheelchair participants ranging from professional and competitive dancers to people who were dancing for the first time. The classes provided many previously sporty participants with the chance to get active again.

The first class covered Waltz and Cha Cha. Rashmi said:

“Everyone was amazing – they followed well, had great energy and worked well as a group as we changed partners throughout the session.”

It would be great to see as many wheelchair users as possible interested in dance join the class – and to bring friends and other people they think will be interested in being standing partners. It’s a great way to be active and creative, and it can be enjoyed as a social, fun experience or as a way to perform and compete for people that want an athletic, progressive pathway.

After the first class one participant said:

“It was great to see what we could do with our wheelchairs, and fun to learn different dances. The teacher noticed when people needed assistance.”

There are only five more classes (last class July 15th) until a Summer break but classes will return in the Autumn.

View the video from last week’s class.

Tennis Foundation release its updated Disability Tennis Pathway guide

Tuesday 13 June 2017

The Tennis Foundation has updated its Game On: Great Britain’s Disability Tennis Pathway guide

The Tennis Foundation has developed the pathways for many different variations of tennis for disabled people – wheelchair, learning disability, hearing and visually imapired – there’s always a variation that’s right for you.

The Game On guide provides an overview of the ways in which disabled people can take part in tennis, from grassroots and development; selection and futures; and elite levels. There is also useful information to help coaches identify players that could advance to the next level.

Download Game On: Great Britain’s Disability Tennis Pathway guide.

Parallel London 2017

Friday 9 June 2017

Parallel London is the world’s first fully inclusive mass participation event, with something for everyone, no matter what your ability.

Parallel London is a fully accessible fun run and free family festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday, 3 September 2017.

There’s a 10km, 5km, 1km, 100m and the Super Sensory 1km.

All ages and abilities. No cut off times. Everybody running side by side.

Find out more information at or book now.

Disability Sports Coach invites you to save the date for their Summer Festival 2017. Find out more.

DRILL opens second open round of funding

Thursday 8 June 2017

DRILL is looking to allocate another £1 million funding for research projects

Find out more on the DRILL site

DRILL has opened its final open call for applications. After this, projects will be commissioned to fill specific gaps or focus on specific priorities identified by disabled people to make useful connections across the Programme.

Each project proposal must show how it will help achieve one or more of these four broad programme outcomes.


Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) is fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF).  It is delivered in partnership by Disability Action, Disability Rights UK, Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland.  Launched in 2015, the Programme is funded until 2020.

DRILL is led by disabled people and funds coproduced research and pilot projects to find solutions about how disabled people can live as full citizens and take part socially, economically and politically.  It makes sense for all when everyone can participate in the world we live in.

DRILL is working towards providing evidence that will support independent living for years to come.

Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham want to find out what you think about how information about physical activity and sport is presented to disabled people. Find out how you can take part and receive a £15 Amazon voucher.

Volunteering from a personal perspective – this is my story!

Friday 2 June 2017

This week, 1-7 June 2017, we are celebrating National Volunteers’ Week. Get Yourself Active volunteer Iyiola shares with us his own personal experience of volunteering and the positive impact it has had on his life.

I volunteer because…

I volunteer because I want to give back

I volunteer because it enriches me

I volunteer because I meet new people

I volunteer because I was isolated

I volunteer because I learn from people

I volunteer because I teach people

I volunteer because I am a citizen

I volunteer….

In a world where people view everything from the prism of political tribalism, ideology and even cynicism it is not surprising that some people view volunteering negatively.

I can delve into the history of volunteering in this country or around the world and highlight or espouse how it’s been used by different Governments to further agendas that suit the political or economic realities they faced. I can even chuck out statistics on how often people volunteer in the UK or around the world and whether indeed there is a slight decline on the numbers of adults volunteering in the UK and why.  But I won’t. Instead I will tell my own story of my personal experience of volunteering and its positive impact on my life.

I started volunteering about fifteen years ago in Nigeria when I connected with a disabled activist (now a life-long friend and mentor) who encouraged me to use my legal qualifications to help campaign for anti-disability discrimination legislation to be passed into law in Nigeria. I became a volunteer with a local disability group which my friend formed and started campaigning for disabled people’s rights with a few others. I used legislations from other African countries like Ghana and Uganda to argue for similar legislations to be passed and for a culture change from disabled people primarily being perceived as objects of charity and pity to instead become equal citizens with rights and dignity. Becoming a volunteer with the group opened my eyes to the incredible poverty and disempowerment many disabled people were facing in my country and challenged me to give back to society what I had as a lawyer.

When I moved to the UK in 2006, I researched about volunteering opportunities that could enrich me and add to my skills set. I chose a national disability organisation where I learnt about the UK disability landscape and campaigning.  The opportunity this gave me was valuable, however volunteering there also opened my eyes to the continuing form of institutionalisation that organisation still practiced.

My experience at the national organisation has made me choosier, and subsequently I now only volunteer with organisations where their ethos is embedded in social justice and rights.  I have thus volunteered with a local user-led disability organisation in Islington where, for close to six years, I was a management committee member.  Being a management committee member does not mean only attending meetings and eating biscuits but also involved coming into the office on occasions to help with phone calls and advising people about what they are entitled to. Volunteering with this organisation connected me with people at a grassroots level and enabled me to form new friendships.

When I was out of work recently, I decided to leave my comfort zone and volunteer at Disability Rights UK (DRUK). I chose its project on sport and getting active. The project is premised on the concept of rights and inclusion for disabled people in physical activity and sport. Volunteering on the project has expanded my horizon beyond social care, education and injustice. Inclusion for disabled people should be in all human activities and Get Yourself Active is helping to achieve that.

I am back working part-time but decided to continue to volunteer not only at DRUK but also for my local disability charity in another capacity as I am no longer on their management committee. Volunteering has become personal for me and nothing politicians or Governments do or don’t do will stop me from volunteering. Through volunteering I have become a more rounded person and I believe the more we volunteer and engage with people from different perspectives, religions (or no religion), cultures, backgrounds and experience, the more we achieve a more equal and cohesive society.

Iyiola Olafimihan is a volunteer at DRUK and his views are personal to him and not representative of the organisation.

Get Yourself Active May Newsletter 🐧

Thursday 29 May 2017

Welcome to the May newsletter from Get Yourself Active

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If you would like us to promote any activities or opportunities then please contact us at

This is a round up from the last month of blogs, news articles and information to help you get active.

Personal Experience | Meet Britta

Read Britta’s story ‘Why horses are my therapy

Britta was in need of pain management and physiotherapy and was recommended ‘hippotherapy’ – physiotherapy on horseback. This helped develop Britta’s core stablity, posture and balance.

“It gives me a huge sense of achievement and enjoyment. Importantly, it also gives me the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people, and make new friends.”

Personal Experience Blog | Meet Andrew

Read Andrew’s story ‘Why I run

The start of May saw Mental Health Week take place. For this reason we have taken the opportunity to reflect back on one of our blogs that shows how running can help with some mental health issues.

“I found that I was capable of far more than I thought I was. I could do things I never believed I could and I discovered a new me, a better me that had more self-belief, more ability and more confidence.”

Yes we can! Engaging Deaf and Disabled People in Sport and Physical Activity

Inclusion London has released a new resource to help you understand why physical activity and sport should be on a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation’s (DDPO) agenda and the important role DDPOs can play in ensuring that local physical activity and sport becomes fully inclusive.

Click here to find out more information.

Aspire’s InstructAbility Programme in the Charity Awards 2017 Shortlist

The Charity Awards is the charity world’s longest running, biggest and best known awards ceremony. This year’s charities have been judged by an independent panel of charity leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice which other organisations can learn from.

Click here to find out more information.

Take part in our research and receive a £15 Amazon voucher

Get Yourself Active and the University of Birmingham want to find out what you think about how information about physical activity and sport is presented to disabled people. You can do this in your own home and it would take in total about 15 minutes of your time.

Click here to find out more information.

Social workers needed to support with health and wellbeing research

Disability Rights UK has partnered with the University of Birmingham and Sport England to develop evidence based guidelines to help social workers to have conversations with disabled people in receipt of social care support (personal budgets and direct payments) about how and where to be physically active and importantly why.

Click here to find out more information.

In other news

Aspire announces GLL and LCIL as first partners to lead InstructAbility
GLL, the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise which has pioneered new ways of delivering and investing in community sport, leisure and cultural services, is the first leisure operator to lead the InstructAbility scheme at a local level.

What is social work and how does it work?
The King’s Fund has pulled together a range of ‘bite-sized social care’ content to help explain social care in England. This includes a series of short videos on what social care is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services.

Opportunity for disabled people to share thoughts and experiences about volunteering in physical activity and sport
If you are disabled and have volunteers in physical activity or sport, what do you have to say about it? Was it rewarding? Were there obstacles?

Metro Athletics Open
Metro Blind Sport welcomes athletes of all ages and experience throughout the UK to join them in their annual competition’s 41st year.

Disability Sports Coach Summer Festival
The festival is a free event for all disabled people. There will be 20 sports and activities, special guests, performances, partnership tour, raffles, prizes, live music, giveaways, and face painting.

Inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance class launches in Central London
Coming this June disabled people and friends and family members can learn how to cha-cha, rumba or samba as Step Change Studios launches their inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes in London.

Inclusive Community Training
The Sainsbury’s Inclusive Community Training aims to support and improve your skills, know-how and confidence in delivering physical activities to all. No experience required!

What’s coming up…

Visit the Get Yourself Active events page for more events that may be going on near you.

Personal Budgets: Did you know… 

Personal budgets promote flexibility, choice, control and quality of life.

  • Personal budgets aim to give disabled people/carers control over the support they require to live independently
  • Local authorities have a legal obligation to offer personal budgets and conduct a care and support plan
  • When deciding your Personal Budget, your local authority must consider the local cost for the type of services you require
  • You can use your personal budget to attend day services and go to day centres

Click here to find information on how to get active in your local area.

Get Yourself Active Resources

Has getting active has helped you to be more independent and confident, to be part of the community or a team, to meet new people or to see friends, or just to have fun? Has it helped you to increase your balance, lose weight, improve your strength, improve your fitness, or improve your mental health?

Are you a health care worker, social care worker or sports provider who has helped anyone to achieve one or more of these outcomes through physical activity or sport?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions then we want to hear from you!

Share your experience of getting active and help to inspire others. Email for more information.

Sign up here to receive the Get Yourself Active monthly newsletter.

Free Inclusive Summer Sports Day in Peterborough

Friday 2 June 2017

Vivacity would like to invite you to their Free Summer Sports Day which will have a number of activities to try. The activities will be delivered by local clubs, county coaches and our own local programme coaches.  The event is open to anyone with a disability (learning, physical, sensory) or long term health condition as well as carers.

Activities include classic and adapted forms of:

  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Cycling
  • Wheelchair Racing
  • Guided running/walking
  • Boccia/kurling

Thank you to Guide Dogs, Sense and PAB for their support in creating a day that people with Sensory Impairments can enjoy through on-site support, planning and assisted crossing points on Bishops Road, due to the road works.

There is a link from all the sports into continued regular participation as we are keen to make opportunities available to promote an active lifestyle.

Venue: Peterborough Athletics Track, Bishops Road, PE1 5BW

Date: Friday 23 June 2017


  • 10-10.30am: First Registration (you can attend at a time to suite your group)
  • 10.30-2.30: 30 minute sports sessions (you can take part in all sports or choose specific ones)

Free parking for Blue badge holders in Regional Car Park

There will be a refreshments area (drinks) in the pavilion but please bring a packed lunch.

Please complete the attached registration form ensuring individual requirements are stated and return to Matt Taylor at as soon as possible, so you can receive your own timetable before the day.

Disability Sports Coach invites you to save the date for their Summer Festival 2017. Find out more.

Happy Hooves Riding Centre Receives a Funding Boost

Thursday 1 June 2017

A Cumbria riding centre has been awarded a £2000 grant to help more disabled people to enjoy the benefits of riding and spending time with horses.

Happy Hooves Riding Centre based in Penrith, applied for the funding through the Cumbria Community Foundation, who put them in touch with the Edmond Castle Educational Trust.

The Trust helps support local people and organisations who seek to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged members of their local community.

The centre regularly runs a six week course attended by clients put forward by the Cumbria Health and Care Services, mainly disadvantaged adults and children with learning difficulties.

As an Accessibility Mark accredited centre, the staff at Happy Hooves have under- gone rigorous training by the well-respected Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

It is hoped the financial boost will enable the centre to welcome even more people to enrol on the six week course. The care provider is usually asked to pay just £5 for each participant with the shortfall being made up by the funding.

Happy Hooves owner, Alison Noble, was delighted to have secured the grant.

“This funding makes a real difference to members of our community and allows us to open up our courses to even more people.

“The application process was easy and the staff at the Cumbria Community Foundation were extremely helpful when we were completing all the paperwork to ensure it was done correctly which helped to speed up the whole process.” said Alison.

As many of the clients attending the courses are complete novices, it starts with simply meeting a pony, stroking and grooming to build up confidence and trust, as well as promoting social interaction and communication.

By week six the aim is to progress to tacking up their own pony before riding independently in the arena, with a real sense of achievement and purpose.

“The feedback we get from the clients’ carers is always lovely to read. Time and again my staff are complimented on the excellent support they provide, which is testament to the fantastic training we receive from the RDA through Accessibility Mark.

“We hear of clients going home and talking enthusiastically with their family about their experience, which, in an individual with communication difficulties, is a big stride forward and has a really positive impact on behaviour and gives them something to look forward to each week.

“The reward of seeing someone grow in confidence makes it all worthwhile. Horses really are amazing at bringing out the best in people,” added Alison.

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by 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.

For further information contact Alison Noble on 01768 862153. There are currently 38 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country. To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

Read Britta’s blog, ‘Why horses are my therapy‘.

Community Catalysts Enterprising Communities Project

Thursday 1 June 2017

Community Catalysts is launching phase two of its Enterprising Communities Project, harnessing the talents of local people to establish community enterprises that tackle loneliness and increase community wellbeing

Community Catalysts is a social enterprise working to ensure people who need care and support to live their lives can get help in ways, times and places that suit them, with real choice of attractive local options. We work across the UK in many different ways to help local people to help other local people. Enterprising Communities is an exciting new Community Catalysts project, which is being delivered in two phases.

Phase 1 was launched in April, has a focus on community business and is funded by Power to Change. After a call for pilot partners earlier in the year Community Catalysts has begun work on Phase 1 in partnership with local authorities in Warwickshire and Telford and Wrekin.

Community Catalysts is excited to announce that Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has just approved a grant that will enable us to launch phase 2 of Enterprising Communities. Phase 2 has a focus on community enterprise that tackle loneliness and increase community well-being. It allows us to extend the scope and reach of our work and will be tested in 2 further pilot sites.

Phase 2 also enables us to work with the University of Birmingham to evaluate the impact of the project and Community Catalysts’ approach. The results of this evaluation will inform the case for investment in support for enterprising local people.

The project starts on August 1st 2017 and is funded for 3 years.

A locally recruited Catalyst will be based in each area for 2 years. S/he will be responsible for nurturing and supporting sustainable community enterprises that tackle loneliness and increase community wellbeing.

Call for pilot sites

We want to identify 2 pilot-sites for Phase 2 of the Enterprising Communities project, local authorities with a passion for community options and the vision to make the changes needed to enable them to flourish.  Pilot sites for phase 2 will be selected against criteria which allow us to assess their position and commitment to the success of the project.

Local authorities interested in being considered as a pilot partner for this ground-breaking project can find more information here.

View our events page for other events that might be going on near you.

Action for Kids invites you to its parent/carer event

Friday 2 June 2017

Action for Kids is organising another amazing parent/carer /professional seminar on 29 June 2017 with a range of expert speakers including lawyers and care experts.

It is heavily subsidised for parents and carers, only £15 including lunch, and £45 for professionals. It takes place in central London.

Please click the below images to view the flyer in more detail, or click this Eventbrite link to book.

Transition to Adult Life Flyer

Click here for more information on events that may take place near you.

North Tyneside Disability Forum invites you to Positive Pathways

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Positive Pathways provides an opportunity to people with health conditions and disabilities to build skills, overcome barriers, increase self-esteem, and move closer towards potential employment.

Participants access a 16 week course, including:

  • Accredited training (including retail skills, developing workplace skills, catering, administration, volunteering…)
  • IT skills
  • CV preparations
  • Travel training
  • Welfare and benefits information
  • Contact with local employers and vocations

After 10 weeks participants put learning into practice by taking up a work experience or volunteering opportunity for a minimum of a six weeks in each area such as:

  • Retail
  • Office administration
  • Catering and hospitality
  • Public Service
  • And many more

The next course begins Monday 19 June 2017.

Location: North Tyneside Disability Forum, Shiremoor Centre, Earsdon Road, Shiremoor, NE27 0HJ

Time: 10:00am – 1.00pm

To discuss the project further or book a place on the course please contact Amy Anderson, Volunteering Development Worker at or 01912008570. Visit the North Tyneside Disability Forum website.

More like this: Ever thought about being a gym instructor?

British Blind Sport and Birmingham Vision deliver ‘Have a Go Day,’ Birmingham

Tuesday 30 May 2017

British Blind Sport and Birmingham Vision are working in partnership to deliver a sports taster event for blind and partially sighted people in Birmingham on Thursday 22 June from 10am until 4pm as part of Birmingham’s Inclusive Sport Festival. The event is free of charge and open to anyone who is blind or partially sighted, providing an opportunity to try a wide range of sports.

Returning to the city from Saturday 17 to Sunday 25 June, the 5th annual Birmingham Inclusive Sports Festival will run a fantastic programme of sporting activities for those with and without disabilities to try alongside their friends and family members. To celebrate the event, British Blind Sport and Birmingham Vision are delighted to showcase visually impaired (VI) sport, offering anyone with a visual impairment the opportunity to try new activities with a multi-sport taster event. Confirmed activities for the day include: Football, Cricket, Goalball, Gymnastics, Judo, and more (subject to change).

 Alaina MacGregor, British Blind Sport CEO, said, “We are delighted to be able to provide these opportunities for the VI community to try different activities locally and find out what a positive effect sport can have on their lives.  Rio 2016 has no doubt sparked interest for many people and we hope that these events will provide new opportunities for those living with sight loss to see if sport is for them.”

Bernadette Dawes, CEO Birmingham Vision stated, “Birmingham Vision are proud to be working in partnership with British Blind Sport to put on Have a Go Days, to give people with a visual impairment a chance to try out different sports and hopefully discover a passion or hobby to pursue. Sport plays such an important part in the lives of many blind and partially sighted people and Have a Go Days ensure that more people will get an opportunity to experience some of the many things on offer.”

The British Blind Sport and Birmingham Vision Have a Go Day will take place at Queen Alexandra College, Birmingham, B17 9TG on Thursday 22nd June from 10am -4pm. Online registration is available on the British Blind Sport website:

For further details please telephone: 07929 356428 or email British Blind Sport also needs volunteers to help out at these events, so if you can spare some time to help the visually impaired and blind attendees enjoy the day fully, please get in touch.

For other events that may be going on near you visit our events page.


Ever thought about being a gym instructor?

Friday 26 May 2017

InstructAbility and Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living are joining forces to offer free fitness industry training and qualifications for disabled and unemployed people.

Click on image to enlarge

You will be offered a three month industry work placement with community outreach to get more disabled people physically active. Gym placemnets in Leicester will be organised by LCiL.


  • Disabled and unemployed
  • 16 years + (no maximum age) with gym user experience
  • Can commit to all training dates and 3 month voluntary placement
  • Able to use own lived experience of disability and exercise to motivate and inspire others
  • Able to work at Level 2 (GCSE) theory standard
  • Willingness to undertake outreach activities in local community

All training will take place at Peepul Enterprise, Orchardson Avenue, Leicester, LE4 6DP. 

Selection & Enrolment: Monday 12th June 2017 9.00am – 5.00pm

Full attendance required for all Training Dates (approx. 10.30am – 4.30pm).
July: 03, 05, 07, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 31. August: 04, 21, 23, 25.
September: 01, 04, 06, 08.
October: 09


Placements are available at various gyms in Leicester. Placements will be decided after enrolment and will commence towards the end of training.

Register your interest online now at

Click here to view the LCiL Leicester 2017 course dates or view the flyer here.

Click on the image to enlarge

More like this: Aspire’s InstructAbility Programme in The Charity Awards 2017 Shortlist 

What is social care and how does it work?

Thursday 25 May 2017

The King’s Fund has pulled together a range of ‘bite-sized social care’ content to help explain social care in England. This includes a series of short videos on what social care is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services.

1. Bite-sized social care: What is social care?

What exactly do we mean when we talk about social care? In this video we look at what adult social care consists of, the responsibilities of local government in providing care, and the wider societal context.

2. Bite-sized social care: Who provides social care?

Social care is delivered by a wide range of organisations and professionals, and within families and communities. In this video we break down the numbers, and take a look at what people providing social care actually do.

3. Bite-sized social care: How is social care paid for?

Many people are surprised to learn that social care is not free at the point of use in the way that NHS care is. In this video we give an overview of how social care is funded.

4. Bite-sized social care: Social care, the NHS and other services

Adult social care is part of a complex system of services and support – including the NHS. This video explains the importance of different services working together to provide integrated care.

The King’s Fund has a number of useful resources that can help you to understand the complexities of Social Care. Visit their website for more information.

Are you a social worker? We need your support with health and wellbeing research. Find out more. 

Aspire’s InstructAbility Programme in The Charity Awards 2017 Shortlist

Tuesday 23 May 2017

The Charity Awards is the charity world’s longest running, biggest and best known awards ceremony. This year’s charities have been judged by an independent panel of charity leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice which other organisations can learn from.

Aspire’s InstructAbility Programme has been shortlisted in the Disability category and winners are due to be announced at a ceremony on 8 June. The scheme, delivered in partnership with YMCAfit and funded by Sport England, enables disabled people to become qualified fitness professionals. Instructors are then based in facilities across the country where they play a key role in getting others active and promoting inclusion across the fitness industry.

Julian Chislett, chief executive of Civil Society Media, which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated all the shortlisted charities on making the highly-coveted shortlist. He said:

“The standard of entries this year was incredible, and the charities we shortlist remain a constant inspiration to all of us.

“For 17 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do. Our rigorous judging process singles out those charities with the most innovative ideas and the most inspirational approaches to delivering maximum impact.

“We wish all the charities the very best of luck on the night.”

John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:

“CAF’s purpose is to support the amazing work of charities and it is always a huge pleasure to focus on their achievements at The Charity Awards.

“Nominees on the shortlist this year are examples of large and small charities at their very best.  They are truly leaders in their field innovating, supporting and helping people in communities across the UK and overseas.

“Recognising the incredible work undertaken by these charities reveals what an important difference they make to so many people’s lives and provides inspiration to everyone working within the sector.”

Hilary Farmiloe, InstructAbility Programme Manager at Aspire, said:

“We are enormously proud to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. We owe huge thanks to all our partners and funders for enabling our InstructAbility graduates to achieve such successful outcomes related to health, fitness, volunteering and employment.

“Through the, ‘Hallmarks of Excellence’, we have not just been judged on what we do, but also on how we function as a charity. To be an award finalist is therefore a great credit to everyone at Aspire, from project staff, through to senior leaders and the board of trustees.”

Related Article: Aspire announces GLL and LCIL as first partners to lead InstructAbility



Opportunity for disabled people to share thoughts and experiences about volunteering in sport and physical activity

Friday 19 May 2017

If you’re disabled and have volunteered in physical activity or sport, what would you have to say about it? Was it rewarding? Were there obstacles?

The English Federation of Disability Sport is keen to understand more about the experiences of disabled people who volunteer in physical activity and sports and have asked us, Revealing Reality, to find out. Your experience, good or bad, can help us improve opportunities and experiences for disabled people in volunteering. In particular, we’d like to know:

  • Why did you volunteer?
  • What role did you play?
  • How did you get into it?
  • What aspects were rewarding?
  • Were there any barriers/challenges?
  • Under what circumstances do you think disabled people are likely to volunteer?
  • Did the organisation do anything to support you as a disabled person? Could they have done?

Who are we?

We are Revealing Reality (formally known as ESRO), a social research agency based in London, UK. We do a lot of work that spans the design, charitable and service industries, including an end of life care project for Macmillan Cancer Support and a project around aids and adaptions for people living with arthritis for Arthritis UK. Our aim is to immerse ourselves in people’s day-to-day lives to try and understand what life is really like.

Given the personal nature of what we do, we are very sensitive to data protection and are committed to ethical rigor. We therefore abide by the codes of conduct of the SRA (Social Research Association), the ASA (Association of Social Anthropologists), the AQR (Association for Qualitative Research), and are currently regulated by the MRS (Market Research Society). Data from all respondents is anonymised. Full details can be provided on request.

Next Steps

If you’re keen to share, and you think you could spare some time to be interviewed (in person or on the phone), then please get in touch!

Tel: 020 7735 8040



Take part in Get Yourself Active’s research with the university of Birmingham and receive a £15 Amazon voucher.

Inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes launches in Central London

Friday 19 May 2017

Coming this June disabled people and friends/family members can learn how to cha-cha, rumba or samba as Step Change Studios launches their inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance classes in London. The classes will be at a lovely accessible space at The Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street London SW1 3BU in Westminster. There will be 6 weekly classes every Saturday starting at 3.30-4.30 with a break for the summer then returning with regular classes from September. The launch class on 10th June is free. In consultation with participants there will be a review of the class format over the summer (for example whether people would like a longer class, different levels and so on).

Compared with commercial Central London providers’ rates, Step Change will only charge participants £9 per class.

For enquiries and booking:



Phone: 07976363861

So get dancing, get active….

Visit our information in your local area page to find out how you can get active near you.

Why horses are my therapy

Tuesday 9 May 2017

This week’s Personal Experience Blog comes from Britta Francis

Despite having complex medical problems, I have ridden a horse for most of my life. My spine has grown abnormally and twisted itself, which has resulted in my having multiple operations over the years. This has left me in a lot of pain, needing pain management and physiotherapy, which Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) helps me with. Of particular help was ‘hippotherapy’ which is physiotherapy on horseback. This has helped develop my core stability, posture and balance.

It was through my horse, Harry that I discovered RDA and was selected for their Regional and then National Championships. This gave me a true sense of pride and achievement, with rosettes, prizes, trophies and photographs as permanent lasting memories.

One of my highlights was spending just under a week at The Royal Bath and West of England Show as part of the British Horse Society ‘Pageant to the Horse’. Harry loved being centre of attention in the big main ring. Our bond was so strong that Harry was able to sense what was needed, right down to doing things like using his muscles differently when I lost my balance.

He was my reason to try and get up every day, even on the days when the pain, illness and fatigue were overwhelming, and everything was black.

Following on from this success, I went on to the British Dressage South West Para-Dressage Squad, progressing to not only riding for the south west of England, but for England as an entirety. I had professional support from nutritionists at Bath University, developing my body to ensure there was sufficient strength, both physically and mentally, to compete.

Unfortunately, I underwent traumatic spinal surgery in 2012, first needing to have my spine broken and then having it re-set with screws and rods. This coincided with Harry being put to sleep, which was devastating.

Not only did I suffer from enormous amounts of pain, but I also became increasingly reliant on drugs to manage this pain. I lost my independence, and without Harry, started to lose friends and contacts from riding clubs and teams.

During the following two years I had to undergo four spinal operations, one of which was emergency surgery. This meant I had to learn how to stand, walk, and go up and down stairs again after each of the operations.

Two years after my last operation I was able to get on to an equine simulator, available at Avon RDA. I spent about a year on the simulator and then was finally able to ride a ‘real’ horse again at Urchinwood Manor Equestrian Centre, which is Accessibility Mark Accredited.

I now ride for about half an hour, once a fortnight, which gives me a huge sense of achievement and enjoyment. Importantly, it also gives me the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people, and make new friends.

My focus for the future is to aim high and dream of competing once again.

About Riding for the Disabled Association Accessibility Mark

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) participation programme launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that they offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure they provide a first class experience that aims to be hugely beneficial.

For more information contact Jacqueline Spouge or Tim Smith at TSM on 01724 784600.

There are currently 37 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country. To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit

Read Inclusion London’s new resource to help you understand why physical activity and sport should be on a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation’s (DDPO) agenda and the important role DDPOs can play in ensuring that local physical activity and sport becomes fully inclusive.

Disability Sports Coach Summer Festival

Saturday 6 May 2017

Disability Sports Coach invites you to save the date for their Summer Festival 2017

The festival is a free event for all disabled people. There will be 20 sports and activities, special guests, performances, partnership tour, raffles, prizes, live music, giveaways, and face painting.

When: 28 July 2017, 10am to 2pm

Where: Westway Sports Centre, W10 6EX

Watch last years highlights to see the buzz!

Interested but want to know more?

The Summer Festival 2017 is a free sports event for all disabled people, acting as an end of year celebration for all those that attend our Community Clubs in London. The day is open to any one even if you haven’t joined your local Community Club.

The event will have over 20 different sports and activities delivered by our partner organisations so you can find out about more opportunities to get active in your local area!

To Register…

To attend simply turn up! If you are an organisation and want to bring a group, please email Louis from Disability Sports Coach at to let us know.

For other events that may be going on near you visit our events page.

Metro Athletics Open

Thursday 4 May 2017

Metro Blind Sport welcomes athletes of all ages and experience throughout the UK to join them in their annual competition’s 41st year!

The morning Festival of Athletics will once again provide those new to the sport a wonderful opportunity to try out running, jumping and throwing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, supported by Qualified Coaches. If you haven’t tried an event before and want to compete in the afternoon, or are looking to improve your performance this is the place for you.

The event takes place at Mile End stadium on the 17th June.  This is free and open to all ages and abilities for people living with sight loss.

For more information please click the link to the entry form to this years “Metro Athletics open” entry.

Find out what other events may be happening near you by visiting our events page.

Yes we can! Engaging Deaf and Disabled People in Sport and Physical Activity

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Inclusion London has released a new resource to help you understand why physical activity and sport should be on a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation’s (DDPO) agenda and the important role DDPOs can play in ensuring that local physical activity and sport becomes fully inclusive.

The resource covers the following questions and more:

  • Why should physical activity and sport be viewed as a rights and equality issue for Disabled people?
  • Why are DDPOs well positioned to support inactive disabled people to get involved in physical activity and sport?
  • What are the barriers currently facing disabled people trying to engage in physical activity and sport and what solutions have DDPOs developed?
  • What steps can policy makers, funders and physical activity and sport providers take to increase the number of disabled people engaging in physical activity and sport?

Find out more and download the Yes we can! Engaging Deaf and Disabled People in Sport and Physical Activity PDF.

Tell us what you think about how information about physical activity and sport is presented to disabled people and receive a £15 Amazon voucher. Find out more here.

London’s first ever dedicated inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance company has just received backing through the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund

Saturday 29 April 2017

Pioneering inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance company receives backing from the dance enterprise ideas fund

  • Around 10.7 million people watch the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing
  • There are 11.2 million disabled people in the UK (that’s 1 in 5 of us)
  • Wheelchair Latin and Ballroom dance is recognised by the International Paralympic Committee and disabled and non-disabled couples compete together around the world.

Why in a city of 8.7 million people, isn’t there a single place in London to regularly participate in inclusive ballroom?

This is about to change with the establishment of the pioneering Step Change Studios – London’s first ever dedicated inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance company, which has just received backing through the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund.

Established by Rashmi Becker, who has a background in disability advocacy and is guardian to her older disabled brother, and Nuno Sabroso, a respected and seasoned dance professional who was top two in the world wheelchair dance rankings, Step Change Studios will provide opportunities for everyone, from beginners wanting to dance for fun and wellbeing, to more advanced dancers wanting to compete at the highest levels or to perform.

Rashmi Becker said:

“What started as a wishful conversation with Nuno about creating opportunities for inclusive Latin and Ballroom has become a reality. Step Change Studios is a response to the ongoing calls for dedicated, regular opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to dance together. Our personal experience of dance and disability made us determined that Latin and Ballroom dance must be inclusive not exclusive. I am heartened by the engagement from the dance, sport and disability sectors and the wider public for Step Change Studios and its vision.

“In backing Step Change Studios, the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund demonstrates a positive commitment to inclusive dance. We want Step Change Studios to be transformative, challenging perceptions of what’s possible as we create more opportunities for people to participate and achieve their potential. I am certain this early, start-up support will be a catalyst for change and enable Step Change Studios to make a positive impact”.

Polly Risbridger, Director of East London Dance and Chair of the Dance Enterprise Ideas Summit said:

The Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund panel are delighted to have awarded Rashmi and Step Change Studios funding to help launch London’s first dance company dedicated to inclusive Latin and ballroom dance. Along with the other award recipients this project is testament to the creativity, entrepreneurialism, and generosity of the UK independent dance sector and we were impressed by Rashmi’s passion about the impact she wants to make.”

Step Change Studios will deliver: regular dance classes and lessons for all levels; bespoke programmes and projects in healthcare, social care education and community settings; and professional performance works that showcase inclusive Latin and Ballroom. Established in London, Step Change Studios will also deliver tailored opportunities nationally.

Step Change Studios is supported by the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund – an East London Dance initiative funded by Foundation for FutureLondon, English National Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, Dancers’ Career Development, Discover Young Hackney & Hackney Council, Redbridge Drama Centre and Theatre Royal Stratford East and supported by One Dance UK.

Rashmi would like to hear from experienced disabled dancers interested in taking part in the showcase, and from disabled and non-disabled people, and organisations working with disabled people of all abilities and levels interested in dancing.
Visit: for contact details.

Visit our events page to find out about events that may be taking place near you.

Boccia Buddies in Bath

Friday 28 April 2017

Bath Sports and Leisure Centre invite you to join their Free Boccia Buddies sessions

Where: Bath Sports & Leisure Centre

When: 11.30-12.30

May 11th and 25th

June 8th and 22nd

July 6th and 20th

August 3rd, 17th and 31st

All equipment provided. Contact for more information.

Click here for further information about events that may be taking place near you.