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Get Yourself Active releases Active at Home research

Get Yourself Active (GYA) have launched their Active at Home research – a report into the experiences of disabled people and people with long term health conditions around getting active during the COVID pandemic. The report focuses on learning the sport and leisure sector can take forward now restrictions have eased, to ensure facilities are as inclusive and accessible as possible.

Cover of Disability Rights UK Active at Home report

October 7th, Get Yourself Active a programme funded by Sport England, has released the results of a survey of over 350 people who identify as disabled or who have long term health conditions. This important study highlights how things have changed for disabled people during the coronavirus pandemic and what would support them to return to physical activity as we move towards normality.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Only 20% of those surveyed felt the resources provided to keep active at home were good enough. The report provides tips for creating more inclusive and accessible online resources.
  • During lockdown, 69% of disabled people preferred to get active inside. This places emphasis on providers to promote flexibility and continue to offer a variety of activities, both online and face to face.
  • Over half of respondents (55%) were supported to be active during the pandemic by friends, family and carers. Having this option when facilities open up (e.g. offering free/discounted access for family memberships) would help disabled people to continue their fitness goals outside the home.

Although the sport and leisure sector has now re-opened, the findings from the research have uncovered some key pieces of learning for those who want to increase disabled participation in their activities. It is essential that as a sector, this learning is not ignored as we return to ‘normal’. Many people will need a more flexible or ‘hybrid’ approach and this needs to be taken into account going forward to ensure that no one is left behind.

We have already put this research into practice, using the findings to develop a variety of resources to help disabled people to get and keep active at home during the pandemic and beyond. We have also collated resources developed by other organisations. Available through the website, this includes videos of various exercises and activities that can be conducted at home and toolkits including worksheets, downloadable documents and toolkits with professionals in mind.

You can also find the full report here.

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK said:
"Our research clearly shows the barriers that Disabled people have faced when they try to get active. From worries about shielding to a lack of functional digital resources, the pandemic has only exacerbated these preventable barriers.

"Moving forward this report does need to be a wake-up call for the sports and leisure sectors. Disabled people have a right to resources, projects and activities that work for them. The idea that because something is online that it is accessible is false. More needs to be done to create engaging and rewarding solutions so that Disabled people can get active at home or in person. The learnings from this report must not be ignored."
 "I am proud to say that Get Yourself Active has used the report to guide the development of a variety of resources designed to help Disabled people to get and keep active at home during the pandemic and beyond. These should be a guide for any other organisation looking to do the same.’

Strategic Lead for Disability at Sport England, Adam Blaze said:

"We know that disabled people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic over the last 18 months, and this has been reflected across the sport and physical activity sector. Organisations like Disability Rights UK have worked tirelessly alongside disabled people to develop resources to support people to be active.
"But the work does not stop now that restrictions have eased. Many disabled people are experiencing additional barriers to returning to being physically active as they were before the pandemic, and many have found new ways to be active. Thanks to National Lottery funding, this important research will help to further build our understanding of what disabled people want and need to be physically active as we recover from the pandemic."