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Healthy Living and Physical Activity Project

Our aim is to support community groups who offer healthy living and physical activity services to be more accessible for autistic adults and people with severe mental illness and learning disability. We want community services to have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and resources they need to make their activities fully accessible and welcoming.

Our vision is for a Sheffield in which people with those disabilities can access the same services and opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing as non-disabled people. We want to ensure that community groups have the support they need to be able to confidently provide accessible services to all.

Who is involved?

We have a steering group of about ten adults who have ‘lived experience*’. Many of the steering group are also involved in trying out activities as part of our mystery shopper program (see below).

By ‘lived experience’ we mean adults who are autistic or have learning disability or severe mental illness or are carers for people with those conditions. In other contexts, ‘lived experience’ might mean experience of something different.

What are the barriers to healthy living and physical activity?

The project has consulted with people with lived experience and found that the most common barriers to attending healthy living and physical activities are not knowing how to find out information about services or difficulties accessing the information, difficulties with travelling to venues, lack of motivation or confidence and cost.

What do services need to make services more accessible?

The project has consulted with services providing healthy living and physical activities. We found that services were working in a variety of settings with different challenges, including funding and staffing difficulties and needing to focus on people’s immediate problems such as food and energy poverty.

Most services identified the need for training for staff and volunteers to make them more confident in working with autistic adults, people with severe mental illness and learning disability. Many had considered accessibility and inclusion for people with physical disabilities but were less confident with other disabilities.

How can I get involved?

If you have lived experience you can:

  • Join our team of ‘mystery shoppers’ who try out healthy living and physical activities and give feedback on their experience. An involvement fee is paid for this. You would be supported in this by the project coordinators.
  • Join our steering group who meet regularly to shape the project and decide on the priorities. There are opportunities to get involved in delivering training sessions for services, to put forward your experiences at events or meetings, and help decide what the project should be doing. An involvement fee is paid for this.

If you are a service providing healthy living and physical activities you can:

  • Use our Free toolkit` to train to inform and inspire positive change in your staff and volunteers.
  • Contact us to ask for help with ideas on how to improve access and how to use the toolkit and arrange for us to provide mentoring visits to your team.
  • Attend our networking events to meet other services and share ideas and learning about how to be more accessible.

If you are a member of the public you can:

  • Consider volunteering at a local service for example, to be a ‘buddy’ to help someone start using healthy living and physical activities. You could also help to run activities, be a volunteer driver or do a range of other supportive tasks.

Contact Us

If you would like more information or have any questions please feel free to get in touch using the contact details below:

Sadia – Sadia.asghar@disabilitysheffield.org.uk

Sadia – 07984 304317

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