We can all do our bit to break down the barriers to accessibility

29th May 2020 | Sarah Haden-Godwin | Gloucestershire, Inclusivity

It takes us all to play our part in creating genuinely welcoming and accessible environments, where coming together* to enjoy the experience of being active is easy and fun. Accessible doesn’t have to be a scary concept to achieve, sometimes the best way to create environments where people of all abilities can be active together is often to just ask the people that will be involved what their needs are and how can we make this work for you.

We are passionate and committed to Gloucestershire being an inclusive, accessible and physically active county to live and work in. During the Covid-19 pandemic, disabled people and those with long term limiting health conditions are far more likely to be feeling isolated, fearful of the current situation and in turn be significantly less physically active than previously.

According to the most recent Sport England’s Active Lives Survey (2018/19), Activity levels are on the rise for people with a disability or long-term health condition in England. Since the end of March and the restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus, the Sport England research shows that those with long-standing conditions or were less active now than before the lockdown. We can all do our bit to break down the barriers to taking part in physical activity, because we are all in this together.

We want to inform, inspire and motivate people to make changes that allow for inclusive physical activity.

The rise in virtual and digital opportunities for us all to #StayInWorkOut are growing in their variety and appeal and for many people this is providing some fantastic resources to enable them to increase their physical activity levels from the comfort of their own home, garden and local outdoor space.

These resources are a brilliant way to think of trying something new and for disabled people making a few small tweaks and adaptions to these ideas could enable physical activity to become a part of everyone’s daily lives. With one in five of us having a disability or long-term condition, many people are already used to adapting their environments, but we hope that by using one of the recent guides from Activity Alliance this will provide even more ideas to adapt physical activity and environments to be active at home.

The Activity Alliance have recently released a guide on adapting activities, for now while we are at home, but also a great toolkit for activity providers to use when the pandemic settles and we embark on our journey to living in what will be our ‘new normal’. The STEP guide provides some ideas on how you can change four things to create accessible environments. STEP stands for Space, Task, Equipment and People. You can adjust the space, task, equipment being used and/or the people taking part or helping and these can be a really easy way to use and change everyday household items to be active.

It is really important to stay active right now as a household. It will bring us together and we can enjoy doing something fun and entertaining, while benefitting our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Adapting activities so that everyone can take part together is just one way that we can do this.

Have a go at the Activity Alliance STEP tool.

Don’t forget to share what you are doing on social media with #wecanmove.

If you would like to find out more on how to use the STEP tool or on support on how to make your activities more inclusive, please contact Sarah, Physical Activity Specialist for Disabled People and Older Adults.

*As government guidelines allow.

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