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New taskforce to improve physical activity for disabled people

ukactive has formed a cross-sector task force to help deliver its vision of a sector that is freely accessible and utilised by all, enabling everyone to be active and participate in whatever capacity they wish.

The Everyone Can Task Force is made up of leaders from the sport and physical activity sector who will work together to help realise the full potential of gyms, fitness and leisure facilities in supporting disabled people to be active.

The group forms part of the Everyone Can programme from ukactive, which is designed to improve inclusivity and accessibility for disabled people by bringing the sector together to grow the relationship with the disability sector, to raise awareness, and to convene operators and suppliers to share learnings and evidence.

The Everyone Can Task Force will provide leadership on the agenda and also help to develop practical guidance for fitness and leisure operators to tackle the barriers and challenges faced by disabled people, while highlighting the demand from disabled people and the opportunities available through better engagement.

Alongside ukactive and public and private operators from its membership, the task force includes Activity Alliance, Sport England, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, and the Swimming Teachers Association.

ukactive has undertaken a series of sector-wide consultations to examine the physical activity landscape for disabled people, with a focus on the sector’s services.

The findings showed that the sector must enhance levels of customer service and engage better with disabled people, such as providing more (and accessible) information to consumers and communicating that facilities are open to all. It also underlined the importance of gathering and reporting usage levels and behaviours among disabled people.

Based on the findings, ukactive has launched a new website to improve services for disabled people. Organisations with an interest in, or remit of, increasing the inclusivity and access of gyms, fitness and leisure centres are encouraged to sign-up via the website for further updates and resources which will be developed with the support of the task force.

Over the coming year, the Everyone Can Task Force will help deliver further insights, including the needs and motivations of disabled people and the recommended solutions for the sector to implement.

The main themes to be explored by the task force in collaboration with the sector and disabled people include:

  1. The disability landscape (an introduction to disability and our sector’s influence and potential)
  2. Information and communication (generating a familiar journey for consumers)
  3. Improving customer service and the confidence of the workforce
  4. Facilities and the environment (including equipment)
  5. Data capture and collection (understanding the audience and identifying ways to collect data about the customer to improve experience).

The task force will have the ongoing support of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who will finish her tenure as Chair of ukactive at the end of July, and is shortly to begin a new role as Chair of Sport Wales.

“The physical activity sector has a huge opportunity to engage more with disabled people, helping many more to enjoy the benefits of being active,” she said.

“The best way to drive real change is through open and honest collaboration across our sectors, which is why we have created the Everyone Can Task Force. Together, the leaders within this group can help support fitness and leisure facilities to make sport and physical activity available to all.”

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