News & Events / Community Activator with big ambitions to make exercise more inclusive
Feb 18 2019
A trial partnership is helping up-skill employees to make exercise in Nottingham City more inclusive.
Community Activators have been working across the city for the past sixteen months, signposting people with a disability or long term illness into activities in the community or at one of the city’s eight leisure centres. One of these, Kelly Evans, has embarked on a newly launched Level 3 Qualifications delivered by HFE, the UK’s leading provider of personal training courses and a wide range of fitness qualifications.
The Level 3 Award in Programming and Supervising Exercise with Disabled Clients, or simply Level 3 Exercise for Disabled Clients is nationally recognised and awarded by one of the industry’s oldest awarding bodies YMCA Awards meaning there’s a wealth of opportunity up and down the country to use this course.
As one of the very few providers in the country who deliver this course HFE are well placed to support Nottingham City Council to upskill their staff and serve a demographic that is currently greatly under represented. Reports suggest that 1 in 5 people in the UK has a disability and this equates to nearly 11 million people. Unfortunately, only 18% of disabled adults undertake physical activity lasting longer than 30 minutes a week and this is compared to 38% of non-disabled adults.
Disability sport is highly important to Nottingham. Developing disability sport is a significant priority in the city’s Sport and Physical Activity Strategy (2015-2019); outlined in this is the aspiration to become ‘the fastest growing city for disability sports (physical activity) participation.
To engage more people living with a disability or long term health condition, Nottingham City Council have taken bold steps such as; improving accessibility to leisure centres and enhancing our existing swim, gym and fitness offers to be more inclusive. To add to this, leisure centre staff have also taken part in some entry level disability confidence training to enable them to better advise customers requiring additional support.
Clearly, even more can and should be done to encourage disabled people to exercise and that’s why HFE have partnered with Nottingham City Council – Active Nottingham, fellow leaders in health and fitness, to help upskill staff and provide even more inclusive opportunities across their eight leisure centres.
Speaking about the potential of this partnership, Colin Eley said: ‘Working with HFE means, we’re able to equip our staff with a more comprehensive knowledge base to better support people accessing our service. We aim to empower citizens living with a disability or long term condition to feel confident when accessing our service and form sustainable physical activity habits.”
Kelly, whose Community Activator role covers the Bulwell, Bulwell Forest, Bestwood and Basford wards, is the first Active Nottingham member of staff to take part in the new initiative outlined how excited she was to start a new fitness journey:
“Having always been involved in fitness and sport I am very aware of the mental and physical benefits that exercise can have on people, regardless of where they currently are on their activity/fitness journey.
“I am currently working with individuals who want to become more physically active but who find their long term conditions or disabilities a barrier. For them this means sessions that are perceived as a ‘main stream’ exercise for all are not always suitable for their needs.
“During this course I am looking forward to learning new skills and broadening my knowledge base so I can better support individuals into exercise who have a broader variety of needs. I am hoping to be able to share this experience and outcomes from the course with other members of my team, so we can adapt and provide a more suitable/focused service for individuals with long term conditions or disabilities in the future.”
The council has just launched a new campaign – It’s For Me – to provide information about the accessibility, suitability and affordability of leisure provision in the city to reassure citizens they will be adequately provided for when they visit the council’s leisure facilities and take part in activities.