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Transforming Lives: The Journey of Get Out Get Active

Alex Johnston has been with Get Out Get Active (GOGA) since the idea came to him as a working title. As Policy & Influencing Manager at Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 legacy funder, he has been a central part of the team that has seen GOGA support disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together.

Alex Johnston gives a speech in front of a Get Out Get Active banner.

Since 2016, Spirit of 2012 has been working with Activity Alliance and their partners across the UK to get disabled and non-disabled people active together.

Alex was there when it all began, he drafted the very first documents that outlined what they were hoping to achieve from a new programme to get more people active. He even came up with the working title, something that he admits didn’t think would stick:

"It’s beyond my expectations that we could’ve got to this point, seven or eight years later, seven and a half million pounds later we’ve got this programme called GOGA which is actually more than a programme."

The idea was a to develop a change-based programme, asking people to do things in a new way. People welcomed it, there was a realisation that the old ways weren’t working. People were crying out to do something differently.

Whilst Alex has worked on many programmes, he watched on as GOGA grew into something more.

"You can see programmes evolve and develop over time, and some have a natural shelf life where they just end. What I have loved about this beautiful journey with GOGA is that in the first phase we were like ‘we want to reach the least active. In the second phase we understood better, who are the least active, they are very different from each other, they are not all the same. To now talking about GOGA as an approach for delivering sport and physical activity."

In the latest episode of Active Together he talks through some of the stories that helped to shape his view of Get out Get Active. Admiring the energy and dedication of everyone that helped to build the programme to what it is today:

"This programme is about empowering people that deliver sport and physical activity to think differently, to challenge, to fail, to succeed, to do all of that and do it in a very different way.
"We were very clear from the onset that we’re not here for numbers, We’re about quality over quantity."

Whilst funding from Spirit of 2012 has come to an end, he is clear that GOGA has a very special place in his heart.

"I will be a champion of GOGA forever, even though our funding part of it has finished we’re still very much a programme supporter."

The Active Together podcast series has heard from those at the heart of Get Out Get Active. From a swimming club in Haringey to a community garden giving veterans a place to meet, you can listen to every episode wherever you get your podcasts.

They are all available on the Activity Alliance YouTube channel.