Leaders gather for Making Active Lives Possible Summit
On Tuesday 26 June, Activity Alliance hosted its first Making Active Lives Possible Summit at The Kia Oval in London. This unique gathering brought together key influencers, decision makers, practitioners and advocates to inspire genuine change for disabled people. Among the speakers, the charity’s Honorary President Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Vice President John Amaechi OBE called upon attendees to help change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.
Leaders from across the sport, fitness and health sectors enjoyed a full programme, listening to motivational personal stories, engaging in thought-provoking panel discussions and getting hands-on in a series of workshops. Throughout the day, attendees were a part of valuable conversations and calls to action that can help to ensure disabled people do not continue to miss out on opportunities to be more active.
Activity Alliance Vice President John Amaechi OBE and Mike Diaper, Executive Director for Sport England, our supporting partner for the event, welcomed attendees to the Summit. Together, they set the scene and defined the current high levels of physical inactivity among disabled people as an opportunity, not a challenge. With collaboration at all levels key to success in ensuring disabled people can be active and stay active for life.British disability gymnastics champion Natasha Coates and Commonwealth gold medallist para-triathlete Jade Jones-Hall offered attendees a glimpse into their worlds as elite athletes. Whilst, Steve Johnson, Disability Manager for Everton in the Community engaged the room with his personal story. He highlighted the importance of working with the local community to create cultural change for disabled people in more than health outcomes.
Activity Alliance Honorary President Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson facilitated a panel discussion - ‘Taking a Leading Role in the Policy Environment’. The panellists joining her were Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy Chief Executive for Activity Alliance, Mike Diaper, Executive Director for Sport England, Mike Brannan, National Lead Physical for Activity Public Health England and John Amaechi OBE.
A key takeaway from the compelling discussion is that it will take cross-government coordination at local and national level, and an understanding of how activity fits into disabled people’s lives, to make active lives more possible.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, said:
"The Paralympics are amazing and we need lots of talented athletes to keep winning medals. But, what we also need is disabled people who are just able to be active.
"Think about their health and mental wellbeing - not just thinking about any kind of elite sports person’s pathway. They should have the ability to go out and do what they want, when they want. And, today it feels like we’re at the start of really making that happen."
In the afternoon, attendees took part in three workshops - Think, Say, and Do. Each session used robust insight, practical resources and best practice examples to provide attendees with the information and tools to affect change. Workshop topics included challenging psychological barriers to participation, authentic and inclusive communications, and applying lessons from delivery to lead with purpose.
John Amaechi OBE brought attendees back together for the close of Activity Alliance’s first Making Active Lives Possible Summit. He gave a motivational final address and a call to action for leaders.
"Sometimes you don’t even know, but you have a massive impact on people. If you wait long enough you do get the payback."
Reflecting on the Summit, Andy Dalby-Welsh, Deputy Chief Executive for Activity Alliance said:
"This Summit is about moving the conversation and changing it up around disability, sport and physical activity. We used our robust research and insight work to shape the programme. We want to highlight how people can then use that information to answer the “so what” question, and give people the tools as leaders in their organisation to go away and effect change.
"Thank you to all attendees for giving their time and energy to our first Making Active Lives Possible Summit. Our thanks also to all Summit contributors, especially Sport England, our supporting partner for the event."