Get Yourself Active is a national partnership project led by Disability Rights UK that aimed to increase the number of opportunities for people with lived experience of disability, mental health issues and long-term health conditions to get active.
The programme was based on a phased approach – first working with disabled people through local coordinators to identify what barriers disabled people face in getting active, then identifying the types of individuals or roles that were best placed to respond to these challenges.
This resulted in the development of a training workshop and guidelines for social workers and supporting co-production activities between disabled people and sports providers.
The published report examines the impact of these initiatives on disabled people, sports providers and health and social care professionals and draws together learning from across the programme, strengthening the existing evidence base.
The main findings included:
- Participation in physical activity among disabled people was low. 68% of respondents participated in physical activity less than once a week when they joined the programme, including 75% of people with personal budgets.
- The main barrier to participation was a lack of knowledge about accessible opportunities. 75% of disabled people reported not knowing what was available as the main barrier to getting active. 86% of social workers knew ‘nothing’ or ‘only a little’ about accessible opportunities in their area.
- The evidence suggests that local coordinators in Cheshire and Leicestershire helped to increase physical activity levels. The proportion of respondents who undertook physical activity at least once a week or more increased from 28% to 68% six months into the programme. Support that worked included one-to-one conversations to improve knowledge of opportunities and encourage participation, as well as working with sports providers to improve their understanding of provision that works for disabled people and accessible, local facilities.
- A far greater proportion of respondents with personal budgets had also started to use them for physical activity six months into the programme. The survey data suggests that this was due to respondents feeling more positive about their personal budget and its use as a result of participating in Get Yourself Active
- The social worker training and guidelines made a positive difference to the practice of social workers. This included increased awareness about the importance of physical activity and the range of local physical activity opportunities for disabled people. They were also valued for their practical and strengths-based approach.
- Co-production processes represent a valuable opportunity for disabled people, physical activity providers and DPULOs to work together and improve provision. Within the programme, there were examples of small, initial changes to services and facilities that had the potential to develop further.
The evaluation also includes a number of recommendations on how Disability Rights UK can build on the findings and lessons learned in its future work.
Read our final report via the Disability Rights UK website.