Reducing barriers to physical activity
Narrowing inequalities for participants to take part in physical activity, is a key ethos to the work Sport for Confidence undertake. Their sessions in Brentwood breakdown the common barriers to engage in physical activity, by designing their programme to ensure everyone, irrespective of their physical or mental health, can participate.
In September 2022, Sport for Confidence began working with Everyone Active at the Brentwood Centre, to deliver a supported gym session, Kurling and Multi-Sports for local people with a variety of disabilities to engage in a physical activity. Due to its success, January saw a Boccia session begin, followed by an Exercise for Confidence group. A Love to Move session is currently being developed to start in April 2023.
By combining the knowledge and skills of an Occupational Therapist and a Specialist Coach, with adapted equipment, it has created an accessible environment for every participant to work towards achieving their goals. Learnings through the Find Your Active campaign, and through groups such as Sport for Confidence have informed the sector of the importance of creating opportunities which are fun, have a relaxed atmosphere and where coaches/instructors encourage their participants to work at their own level of ability.
The choice of venue for hosting the Sport for Confidence sessions was important, and both the accessibility of the room, and the staff have been supportive of the sessions and participants attending.
An outreach programme, which was completed before the programme started, enabled the group to build a register of interested residents. Sport for Confidence staff visited local residents in their homes, spoke to them at the launch day and promoted the sessions at the Brentwood Centre and other local catchment venues to highlight the opportunity. Inevitably this has led to the number of participants they have had join the sessions.
Reducing social isolation is particularly important among residents who are living with a disability or long-term health condition, and as the programme has progressed, it has been great to see participants, who did not know one another before attending the session, now get lunch together and socialise outside of the group.