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The success of Get out Get Active: Kat Southwell, Head of Programmes

Since May we have been hearing from our department leads on the work our charity does in making active lives possible. Last month we heard from our Inclusive Activity Programme Manager, Chloe Studley, on the important part our IAP programme plays in upskilling sectors to confidently provide inclusive activities. Today, we catch up with our Head of Programmes, Kat Southwell, on how our Get Out Get Active programme has been successful in engaging the least active people across the UK.

GOGA Lincolnshire activity

Kat Southwell profileActivity Alliance brings organisations and disabled people together to make active lives possible. Our GOGA programme has been focusing on getting some of the UK’s least active people moving more together, through fun and inclusive activities. In this article Kat tells us all about the successes of the GOGA programme so far.

Explain your role as Head of Programmes and your team’s role in supporting inclusive activities through Get Out Get Active (GOGA).

A part of my role is to manage the development and delivery of Activity Alliance’s Get Out Get Active (GOGA) programme. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012 and supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together.

GOGA is delivered in 18 locations across the UK. Our extensive range of partners and national experts are all focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities. The programme is guided by Activity Alliance’s 10 principles, which was developed through research undertaken in our Talk to Me report. In a nutshell the 10 principles supports providers to make their activities more appealing to disabled people.

Over the past three years what insights has GOGA gained around getting the least inactive people active?

Collaboration and sharing of knowledge has been massively important to the GOGA project over the past three years. Through our 18 local GOGA leads, and our expert partners, we have learnt:

  • You can’t tackle inactivity in isolation: Through the programme we’ve worked with trusted community businesses, many of which haven’t previously had a role in promoting physical activity. These include housing associations, the Royal British Legion and takeaways!
  • Creating inclusive environments is key: An environment that is welcoming, supportive and encouraging is beneficial towards engaging disabled people. But in making activity more appealing and attractive it is also beneficial to those that haven’t traditionally thought of exercise being for them.
  • Identifying key community influencers is extremely powerful: Understanding who the key influencers are within communities is important. Establishing local relatable champions and peer support is extremely powerful in reaching the least active.

What impact has GOGA had across the UK?

Our programme delivery to date shows we have genuinely reached the very least active disabled and non-disabled people, in activity together. To date we have engaged over 20,000 unique participants, 70% of which are inactive (meaning they haven’t reached recommended activity guidelines). And at least 40% of which have an impairment or long-term health condition.

Through the programme we have seen participants’ health and wellbeing improved, with happiness levels rising because of GOGA engagement. GOGA has also supported more connected communities, created a diverse workforce and supported organisations to think and act differently in reaching the very least active disabled and non-disabled people. 

Participants like Kate from Manchester told us how the GOGA sessions have really helped how she feels:

“I’m less achy and can breathe better and my pain is less. I have also made new friends and feel happier in myself!”

Lambeth GOGA peer mentor, Morris, explains how mentoring has motivated him. 

“Stephen’s journey has been amazing. He went from being this shy, unconfident person to someone who’s not afraid to get out there and try new things. He motivates and teaches me new things. Watching his confidence grow and his fitness improve has been incredible.”

What has been the ultimate effect on the lives of those GOGA has been seeking to change?

For our GOGA participants, they are moving more, more often. 91% of our 20,000 participants said their activity increases were due to GOGA. Overall, our participants are feeling healthier and happier and are better connected to their community.
For our GOGA partners, they are more competent and confident to reach the least active. They have also become passionate advocates of inclusive practice. Extending their reach and impact has also met they are able to influence others to do the same.

Through GOGA we're doing things differently to reach those that would benefit most from being more active. We've learnt a huge amount to date and want to share and continue to learn from others in being more effective at reaching the least active.

Please get in touch if you would like to hear more about GOGA. Email the GOGA team or call 01509 227750.

Head to the GOGA website to find out more about the programme. Or get invovled with the conversation on Twitter: @GetActiveGOGA.