Get yourself active blog

UK Active is hiring a Head of Inclusion

Thursday 18th July 2019

UK active is recruiting a new Head of Inclusion to work at its offices in London. The Head of Inclusion role will empower the physical activity sector to ensure disabled people feel equipped and welcomed to be physically active.

  • Job title: Head of Inclusion
  • Department: Public Affairs, Communications and Research
  • Reporting to: Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Research
  • Location: ukactive offices, London
  • Contract Type: Full Time, Permanent

Position Overview

ukactive is a not-for-profit body comprised of members and partners from across the UK physical activity sector. Our focus is a long-standing and uncompromising vision to get more people, more active, more often.

We are working with Sport England to leverage our assets and have a positive impact on the physical activity of the nation, across five key investment areas. The Head of Inclusion role will form part of this Lottery funded programme to empower the physical activity sector to ensure disabled people feel equipped and welcomed to be physically active.

Working closely with the sector, you will lead on the delivery of the next phase of the ground breaking ‘Everyone Can’ report which captures the current barriers for disabled people to being active. You will then look to implement a series of recommendations to improve engagement with disabled people.

Evidence shows that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive than non-disabled people, with nearly half (42%) of disabled people inactive per week compared to 21% of those with no disability.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Taking the recommendations from the Everyone Can consultation into the next development phase to allow for testing on the identified themes – Physical Environment, Workforce and Training and Stimulating Demand
  • Deliver at least five activation pilot projects to test news ways of working to produce a sustainable, replicable and scalable Everyone Can model
  • Work closely with gyms and leisure operators to carry out comprehensive reviews of policies and guides that could impact the experience of a disabled person
  • Work with relevant partners to review flexibility of job roles and improve the confidence of the workforce within the sector, to allow more time for customer care
  • Build an accessible guide for the fitness and leisure sector that can be used during staff on boarding and training
  • Initiate a data capture and collection process for disabled customers accessing gyms and leisure facilities
  • Introduce a toolkit to indicate a clear process in which to engage with new and existing customers with a disability
  • Make it easier for disabled people to access relevant information about their gym and leisure centre and activities available
  • Measure success by working with the ukactive Research Institute, who are industry experts at analysing the reach, engagement and retention of new and existing customers
  • Form part of key partnership governance including attendance at Partnership Operations Meetings
  • Work closely with partnership management team including Programme Manager and Project Coordinator

Person Specification

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities


  • Significant experience of working in disability and an understanding of the challenges in this field
  • Exceptional organisational skills and time management
  • Significant experience of relationship management with third parties, at a senior level, providing advice and building effective relationships to deliver shared outcomes
  • Developed networking and influencing skills at a senior level, with a proven ability to influence the decision making of partner organisations
  • Track record of delivering effective results in a timely manor
  • Excellent verbal, written, presentation and interpersonal communication skills – with an eye for detail
  • Self-motivated, confident and calm under pressure


  • Relevant Project Management qualification
  • Previously part of a senior leadership team
  • Experience working in physical activity sector

To apply for this position, please email a CV and Cover Letter/Email to with the reference UKACT/HOI/PACR/UKACT/072019

Cloing Date: Tuesday 30th July 2019

In other news: Read about Get Yourself Active’s webinar and evaluation event

Disabled people taking a lead in the changing landscape of health, wellbeing and personalised care: a new approach to promoting physical activity

Monday 15th July 2019

Disability Rights UK and Sport England showcased the growing evidence base brought about by one of DR UK’s flagship programmes, Get Yourself Active.

The audience listening to Leanne Wightman, Project Manager, introducing the event

As well as sharing our key learning, tools and approaches, this event was our chance to celebrate the work of Get Yourself Active throughout the first four years of the programme.

On Monday 25th March 2019, Get Yourself Active hosted a celebratory event aimed at individuals, groups and organisations who are interested in evidence-based practice relating to disabled people’s health and wellbeing.

The event was an opportunity to discuss new evidence about how to create the best outcomes for disabled people through physical activity. It was a chance for attendees to engage with like-minded people from social care, health, wellbeing and physical activity sectors. We launched our much anticipated evaluation report for the whole programme.

Our key speakers included James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care Group at NHS England and Mike Diaper OBE, Executive Director of Children and Young People, Tackling Inactivity at Sport England. Our expert panel discussed the findings in relation to a variety of themes including disabled people led approaches to improving health and wellbeing; knowledge transfer to disabled people to increase demand for physical activity; working through social care and health professionals to deliver this knowledge and what all of this means for personalised care. We also looked at how this evidence sits within different sectors with reference to social investment, service delivery and workforce development.

Guests networking

Get Yourself Active’s Webinar

Following on from the success of the event, we had lots of people contacting us who were unable to attend in person and wanted to learn more. This is why we put together a webinar designed to be an overview of the Get Yourself Active programme and its evaluation report covering the last four years.

The webinar was broken down into three sections which reflect the evaluation report and the three strands of Get Yourself Active’s work: the local coordination model, co-production with the sports sector and the social worker guidelines.

The webinar is introduced and chaired by Leanne Wightman, Project Manager of Get Yourself Active at Disability Rights UK. This is followed by short presentations from Brett Smith, Head of Research in the school of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham and holds a Chair in Physical Activity and Health, and Tim Bidey, Senior Consultant at Traverse. The webinar was then followed by a short question and answer session providing the opportunity for webinar attendees to find out more about the findings from the past four years.

Click here to watch to the webinar

The Get Yourself Active panel

What’s next for Get Yourself Active?

We’ve got lots of plans for the upcoming years which build upon our evaluation report learning.

We will be building on the success of the social worker guidelines and working with new partners to develop these for different audiences. We will continue to work with Disabled People’s User Led Organisations who are interested in exploring the Local Coordinator model and we will work with the sport sector to develop its understanding and delivery of co-production.

For more details on what these plans entail sign up to the Get Yourself Active monthly newsletter and keep checking the Get Yourself Active website for updates.

In other news: Who says? The new campaign calling time on negative perceptions

Who says? The new campaign calling time on negative perceptions

Monday 15 July 2019

A new exciting campaign from Activity Alliance is calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport and asks – who says?

  • Who says it’s not a real sport if you have to adapt it?
  • Who says disabled people aren’t competitive?

For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. Leading national charity, Activity Alliance, wants to move the conversations on, open people’s minds and shift out-dated views on disability. Who says? gives positive evidence that replaces these negative ideas.

Launched on 15 July, who says? was created in response to the charity’s recent research, which explored non-disabled people’s attitudes on inclusive activity. The findings show a lack of understanding could be causing long-lasting barriers for disabled people, leading to inactivity. For the least active audience in our country, people’s attitudes can make or break activity experiences.

Who says we can’t break down barriers?

In reality, disabled people have countless personal experiences that lead to marginalisation, low confidence and inactivity.

Who says? empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others’ perceptions. But, here are some facts that need serious consideration:

  • Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive as non-disabled people. Although we saw an increase recently, the number of active disabled people remains resistant to growth. [i]
  • The main barriers to being active are psychological, logistical and physical, with psychological the most influential. This is, disabled people’s personal impression of sport and non-disabled people’s attitudes about disabled people playing sport.[ii]
  • Two thirds (64 per cent) of disabled people would prefer to take part in sport with both disabled and non-disabled people, currently only half (51 per cent) are doing so. [iii]
  • Research shows almost half of disabled people fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active.[iv]
  • Only 14 per cent of non-disabled people are aware of having previously taken part in sport with disabled people. But three quarters (73%) of non-disabled people were open to the idea. [v]

To kick it off, the campaign films challenge six findings from the research. The films provide upbeat insight with a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people. They share their own experiences and feelings on these six statements:

  1. It’s not a real sport if you have to adapt it
  2. Disabled people aren’t competitive
  3. Watch what you say around disabled people
  4. Disabled people don’t want to join in
  5. Disabled people might get hurt
  6. Everyone can’t take part together

Barry Horne, Chief Executive for Activity Alliance, said:

“Negative experiences should not be allowed to continually shape disabled people’s lives. This campaign aims to replace misconceptions with reality. If we truly want everybody to benefit from being active, then we need to call time on negative perceptions. The positive messages in our campaign provide a fresh and authentic view of the sports world. We are asking you to join us in creating a movement built solidly on equality, freedom and choice.”

Adam Blaze, Sport England’s Strategic Lead for Disability, said:

“We are delighted to see the launch of the Who Says campaign which will challenge negative-perceptions disabled people face when getting active while encouraging people of all abilities to get active together. Views that disabled people don’t want to join in, might get hurt or that everyone can’t take part together are just some of the perceptions that prevent disabled people from being active. The campaign tackles these myths head on showing that we can all do more to break down the barriers and challenge negative perceptions facing disabled people wanting to get involved in sport and physical activity.”

Who says you can’t be part of the movement?

The first campaign phase will run for six weeks over summer. Whilst the who says? movement begins, we are calling for you to get involved in the campaign by posting your own experiences using #WhoSays. Share our films and make your own to add your voice to the campaign.

Tell us your who says? You could be a disabled person who has challenged someone’s attitude whilst being active. Your organisation wants to share positive stories. Or your company plans to use the campaign to release new funding focused on inclusion.

Beyond the hashtag

Taking the conversation beyond the #WhoSays hashtag is important to us. It’s crucial we talk honestly and openly about matters that affect disabled people’s activity, like policy, funding and promotion. We hope the campaign leads to bigger conversations, greater collaboration and wider systemic responses.

If your organisation would like to get involved and you have a great idea for the campaign, please contact or call 0161 228 2868.

We can’t challenge perceptions and change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport. Who says?!

Watch the perception collection here [Live on 15 July].

Find out more

[1] Sport England Active Lives Survey

[1] Activity Alliance Lifestyle Report

[1] Activity Alliance Lifestyle Report

[1] Activity Alliance The Activity Trap

[1] Activity Alliance Taking Part with Disabled People

In other news: Listen to a recording of Get Yourself Active’s webinar to learn about the programme and its evaluation

Vacancy: Advocacy Manager at Disability Sheffield Centre for Independent Living

Tuesday 18th June 2019

Disability Sheffield, Centre for Independent Living is looking to recruit an advocacy manager. Their advocacy service supports disabled people to exercise their rights and be fully involved in decisions about their life.

Sitting alongside the other work Disability Sheffield delivers the Advocacy Manager will be responsible for supporting and supervising the advocacy team, which delivers a range of advocacy (statutory and non-statutory) as part of the Sheffield Advocacy Hub.

They are looking for an exceptional person with experience of both delivering advocacy and management. This is a unique opportunity to work within a small local disabled people’s user-led organisation. They particularly welcome applications from people with lived experience of disability or long term impairments.

Hours are 28 per week, (£28,485.00 f/t) £22,788.00 actual salary.

The closing date for applications is 8am on Monday 15th July 2019. Interviews will be held on Tuesday 23rd July 2019. For an application pack go to, email or phone 0114 2536750. CVs will not be accepted.

In other news: Join in the Great Get Together this weekend with GOGA

Join the Great Get Together this weekend

Tuesday 18th June 2019

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) partners are delighted to be involved with The Great Get Together from 21 – 23 June. The programme, funded by Spirit of 2012, will host a range of activities across the country, encouraging more people across the country to get together.

The Jo Cox Foundation in memory of the late MP’s belief that ‘we all have more in common than that which divides us’ established the Great Get Together. It seeks to bridge division and remind communities of how much they have in common by staging a series of picnics, events and meetups.

The Great Get Together is now one of the UK’s biggest and most successful charitable projects, honouring Jo Cox by showcasing the values she championed.

Since its launch in 2017, which has seen over a hundred thousand get togethers and almost a million people taking part, it has become a powerful symbol of national unity and community.

This weekend, GOGA partners are joining in. GOGA is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. With support from Spirit of 2012, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK’s least active people moving.

All involved in GOGA believe in building happier, healthier, more active communities. The activities are about having fun, making friends and feeling included.

The 2019 Great Get Together theme is ‘Let’s Get Back Together’. It’s a chance for people across the country to reconnect with old friends, families, communities and groups, and comes at a time when it’s needed most of all. Studies have repeatedly shown that Britain is more divided today than at any time since Jo’s death.

Spirit of 2012 was delighted to award £20,000 to the Jo Cox Foundation, which it has matched with a further fund to support its portfolio of projects to hold Great Get Together events. The idea is to develop a framework for storytelling that will empower local organisers to tell their own unique stories.

“Get Out Get Active partners and our funders, Spirit of 2012, are really proud to be involved in the Great Get Together. This weekend enables us to bring more people together in their communities to find activities that are appealing, accessible, fun and inclusive. We hope those who come along to activities, will continue to take part and feel the social, physical and mental health benefits long-term.”

Kat Southwell, Head of Programmes for Activity Alliance and managing GOGA

Among the GOGA Get Togethers this weekend will be:

  • A great walk in the park takes place at the Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy, Scotland on Friday 21 June from 10.30 – 12.00pm. GOGA Fife coaches will lead the Big Warm Up and peer mentors and volunteers will lead the walk around the beautiful Beveridge Park, followed by tea and cake at the Kirkcaldy Rugby Club.
  • Rochdale marks the occasion on Friday 21 June between 10am until 2pm, with some exciting cycling sessions at The Bowlee Sports Centre in Manchester.
  • GOGA Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon in Northern Ireland will be celebrating through a Tai Chi and Tea session at Banbridge Leisure centre from 12 noon until 2pm on Friday 21 June.
  • On Saturday 22 June at Lister Park from 11:30am until 2pm, GOGA Bradford is putting on a range of activities such as Parkrun, cycling and Tai Chi followed by celebrations.
  • Between 11am and 3pm on Sunday 23 June, GOGA Thanet celebrates through their Wheelability summer open day at Minnis Bay in

In the GOGA spirit, you can download our branded bunting, chat mat or colouring fun activity.

Contact the Get Out Get Active team to find out how you can get involved. Email or call 01509 227750.

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here.

In other news: A Shared Passion Helping Disabled Riders

A Shared Passion Helping Disabled Riders

Tuesday 28 May 2019

In the 50th anniversary year of RDA, the opportunities available to disabled riders are now much more varied than when the charity first began five decades ago.

Smarden Theraputic Stables has been delivering individual horse-based therapy sessions since it gained its Accessibility Mark accreditation in 2016

Two Kent-based centres that are working together to complement each other perfectly are Chalkdown RDA and Smarden Therapeutic Stables, which is an Accessibility Mark accredited centre.

The two very different groups are located just seven miles apart but share the same passion and goals for making a huge difference to the lives of their amazing riders.

Accessibility Mark was created to try and ease the strain on RDA Groups who are often massively over-subscribed and it also provides an option for riders to participate in their own communities, reducing the need to travel to their nearest RDA Group that can often be some distance away.

Smarden Therapeutic Stables, which is run by Lisa Evans, gained its accreditation in 2016, and has been successfully delivering individual horse-based therapy sessions six days a week to a variety of clients, including local special needs and residential schools and social services.

Chalkdown RDA is a flourishing group with over 40 volunteers, 30 riders and 10 ponies that meet once a week at Duckhurst Farm in Staplehurst. The dedicated team offers riding sessions that have huge therapeutic benefit to riders, giving them a great sense of personal achievement and enjoyment.

Chalkdown RDA and Smarden Theraputic Stables recently jioned forces to talk to members of the public about the different riding opportunities offered by RDA.

Pauline Roestenburg accidently discovered Smarden Therapeutic Stables when she took over as Chairman of Chalkdown RDA in 2016, having heard about it from one of her new volunteers.

On hearing about a new group offering riding lessons for disabled riders, Pauline wanted to find out more:

“It took me by surprise so in order to understand what Accessibility Mark was all about, I got in the car and, together with my Group Coach Emma Ginger, we went over to meet Lisa and see what she was doing.

“We liked her instantly and could see how we shared the same passion and vision.    Lisa is a hands-on ideas person and together with the right backing there could be no stopping us!”

Chalkdown RDA is a flourishing group with over 40 volunteers and 30 riders

The greatest asset of the two centres to riders within the community is offering the flexibility to ride more frequently. Chalkdown’s waiting list is growing all the time and the collaboration with Smarden allows Lisa and Pauline to liaise with each other to find the most suitable riding option for individual riders.

Said Lisa:

“Last year one of Chalkdown’s school groups had made such fantastic progress that they were ready to move up to the next level.

“We stepped in and found them a riding slot where they were able to advance their riding skills and learn more about pony management. This, in turn, freed up a large group session at Chalkdown, helping them to reduce their waiting list.”

Pauline and Lisa recently joined forces to spend time at a local fair talking to members of the public about the different riding opportunities offered by RDA – a rare break in both their busy schedules.

“I regularly recommend riders to Smarden Therapeutic if I can.  It is a far more positive option for our applicants than being told they are going onto our waiting list.” added Pauline.

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

In other news: Get Yourself Active to hold evaluation webinar

Get involved this Dementia Action Week – 20th-26th May

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Over a third of people living with dementia feel lonely or have lost touch with their friends following their diagnosis.

With thousands of people living with dementia facing isolation, the theme for Dementia Action Week 2019 is inclusion. By coming together and taking action we can help people living with dementia to stay connected to the things they love for longer – you have a special part to play in helping us to achieve this goal.

This Dementia Action Week, Get Yourself Active is working with Alzheimer’s Society to ask all our volunteers to become Dementia Friends. There are over 2.9 million Dementia Friends in England and Wales, changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia.

Find out more and become a Dementia Friend by clicking here:

In other news: Sport England and the Alzheimer’s Society release dementia-friendly physical activity and sport guide

Cerebral Palsy Sport launch the Around Britain #CPCan Challenge for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Thursday 14 February 2019

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. It’s a time for celebrating and educating, and Cerebral Palsy Sport are recognising the month by sharing the impact of its work and setting a new exciting fundraising challenge.

Around 2-2.5 in every 1000 children in the UK are born with cerebral palsy, and there are an estimated 30,000 children with cerebral palsy in the UK.

Cerebral Palsy Sport have today officially launched the #CPCan Challenge, a challenge open to everyone to walk, cycle, swim, throw, kick or jump as far as possible during the month of March, with the target of a combined distance of the British Coastline – 17,819.88km.

Stories of the challenge will be shared through the Cerebral Palsy Sport website and social media platforms, and donations can be made through the dedicated Just Giving page.

Cerebral Palsy Sport are also encouraging people to use the hashtag #CPCan throughout March – a positive message to everyone that those with Cerebral Palsy can achieve amazing things and reach their own goals. There is even a special #CPCan photo frame for anyone to use during the month which can be activated here. Further fundraising ideas for March can also be found here.

Cerebral Palsy Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports charity supporting people with cerebral palsy to reach their sporting potential and putting people with cerebral palsy and their families at the heart of everything we do.

Our 2019 Sport Development programme consists of many events and activities that will provide opportunities for children, young people and adults to access sport, often for the first time who can then continue to participate on a regular basis. To find the full list of events we have planned please click here

Sign up to the #CPCan Challenge today here.

For further information, please contact Sally Drummond, National Disability Sport Engagement Officer:  or 0115 9257027 or visit the website

In other news: New dementia-friendly physical activity and sport guide.

New dementia-friendly physical activity and sport guide

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Sport England and the Alzheimer’s Society have collaborated to produce a guide to support the sector to get people with Alzheimer’s and dementia more active.

This guide is being used to equip the physical activity and sport sector with the resources and knowledge they require to unite against dementia.

It aims to inform and educate individuals and organisations so they have a better understanding of dementia and how it affects people. It also provides tools and guidance so that the sector can help more people affected by dementia lead more active lives.

Approximately 850,000 people in the UK live with dementia and they face countless barriers when becoming or remaining active, preventing them from reaping the benefits that being active brings.

By becoming dementia-friendly, leisure centres, gyms, sports clubs and community centres can enjoy the benefits of improved customer experiences, increased revenue, better staff retention and help those with dementia to live happier, healthier lives.

The project as a whole is part of Sport England’s £1.3 million investment of National Lottery money into the Richmond Group of Charities, who work with those with long-term health conditions, to help them get active.

Download the ‘Dementia-friendly sport and physical activity guide’ here. 

In other news: Inclusive Sports Programme Ends Successful Year With An Award Win

Riding for the Disabled Association marks its 50th anniversary year with its 50 Faces campagin

Monday 7th January 2019

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today.

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, 50 Faces features a collage of portraits, as well as the surprising and often moving stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK.

“A 50th anniversary could be a time for looking back, but we wanted to celebrate where we are now, as leaders in disability sport, and also look to our future – helping even more disabled people to benefit from time with horses,” says Caroline Ward, Communications Manager at RDA UK. “50 Faces is an engaging and interactive way for people to find out more about what we do – and will hopefully inspire more people to get involved.”

Here we meet… Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce first experienced horse riding when she was eight-years-old before she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Due to her undiagnosed condition, Phoebe found new experiences difficult and felt misunderstood.

School was also challenging for Phoebe, who would often bottle up her feelings only for them to explode at home and as she is hyper-sensitive to noises and smells, her teachers found this difficult to understand.

Phoebe, from Derbyshire and her family, including mum Abi were hugely relived when she was finally diagnosed.

A few years later Phoebe began to think about horse riding once again and discovered RDA’s website when googling about horse riding for disabled people.

In April 2017, Phoebe started riding at Scropton RDA Group. Her first lesson was a group ride, where she was led by a volunteer so they could assess how capable she was.

Phoebe progressed really quickly and widened her knowledge by reading books and watching You Tube videos in her spare time away from the stables.

Phoebe (sat at the front of the wooden horse) and her friends from Scropton RDA

After a few months of riding, even though she is allergic to horses Phoebe joined the stable club and started volunteering on a Saturday morning, helping out with the other children and looking after the horses, which boosted her confidence and helped her make new friends.

She is now a member of the Scropton RDA Team and participates in showjumping and dressage, qualifying for the RDA National Championships in 2018, where she finished 7th in her showjumping category.

Phoebe said:

“The thing about RDA that makes me keep coming back is the feeling of a community and being a part of something. The staff and volunteers are all so kind and I love the thrill of horse riding and learning new things. Also, I have made lots of new friends.

“Being part of RDA helps me in other aspects of my life as it gives me something to look forward to during the week and I have gained so much confidence with meeting new people and being more independent.

“I feel I challenge misconceptions about disability because many people don’t realise I actually have a disability, as it’s invisible. RDA treat me the same as everyone else, I get the support and help I need to improve my riding and I feel included, unlike at other places where I feel like an outsider.

“Many people with autism find it hard to socialise, and although I also have these difficulties I still enjoy volunteering and meeting and helping all the riders.”

Phoebe’s mum, Abi is incredibly proud of her achievements:

“It is nice for Phoebe to do something independently without me around. When she started volunteering, I could drop her off and then come back later.

“To be able to leave her somewhere she is safe and happy is wonderful. She has made new friends and even researched and found the 50 Faces campaign herself and wanted to be included.”

You can read Phoebe’s story, and meet the other 49 Faces of RDA at

In other news: Horses are amazing animals that have the ability to make a real difference to people’s lives.