Disability Sports Coach help keep the nation moving in lockdown

Disability Sports Coach Home Activity Programme

Disability sport continues to thrive in lockdown and Disability Sports Coach have helped keep the nation moving through their innovative Home Activity Programme.

The London-based charity have sent out over 300 packs of home exercise equipment to members of its 14 community clubs during lockdown, part of their vital #DSCAtHome initiative that seeks to keep disabled people active and connected.

Packs contain items such as tennis balls, skipping ropes and beanbags, while an accessible, easily-downloadable Home Activity Programme PDF outlines fun and engaging ways to make use of the items – or common household objects - to stay fit and healthy.

The Home Activity Programme is also enhanced by a range of interactive Zoom activity sessions and social sessions, with the charity attracting a new, diverse audience that have seen participants engage from Australia, Morocco and Israel.

Amardeep Gill is Fundraising Manager at Disability Sports Coach and believes the initiative has been vital in keeping disabled people moving since the lockdown begun.

“The lockdown meant that we had to pause all our face-to-face activity and postpone work with our 14 community clubs across London,” he said.

“So we worked with our coaches to develop a Home Activity Programme, based around a PDF of fun games and activities that people can do in the house.

“This meant that disabled people would be able to keep active, fit and healthy at home with their families in a safe environment.

“Along with the free, downloadable PDF that we’ve sent out, we’re also in the process of sending out specialist home equipment packs to our members, and we’ve also been sharing a range of fun and engaging ways to use the packs at home with their families via our online sessions.

“It’s been fantastic to reach new people - from different areas - who haven’t come across our sessions before and get more people active.

“It makes me incredibly proud that so many people have got involved in our initiative - we had to adapt very quickly to deliver these activities, and we’re very proud of our team for coming up with such an engaging online programme so fast.

“We’re most proud of all our members who have taken up these activities at home with so much enthusiasm, and really shown that the appetite is out there for people to get active at home and to feel empowered throughout lockdown.”

Prior to lockdown, statistics revealed that just 17 per cent of disabled people reported engaging in sport once a week - half as many as non-disabled people - with the COVID-19 restrictions meaning the 1.4 million disabled people in the capital would be confined to their homes.

But Disability Sports Coach’s Home Activity Programme has engaged over 500 people since lockdown begun, with the packs continuing to be sent out on an ongoing basis.

A recent batch of 120 were sent out to a range of community clubs, with the downloadable PDF and regular Zoom calls providing an interactive element to optimise use of the equipment.

Amardeep says lockdown has given the general public an insight into normal life for many disabled people and hopes the programme can leave a legacy of expanding participation in the future.

“The last three months have given the general public a snapshot of what normal life is like for many disabled people,” he added.

“We certainly hope that this will put a spotlight on the fact that there are many, many vulnerable people who don’t have the same opportunities as others.

“We want to make sure everyone has the equipment they need to live healthy and active lives from the safety of their own home.

“This programme has really underlined why we do what we do, and we’re trying to raise as much awareness as we can to encourage people to help us to encourage others.

“The long-term ambition is to leave a legacy of expanding disability sports participation when the lockdown ends.

"After lockdown and beyond, we want disabled people to have the same opportunities to keep active as non-disabled people.”

For more information or to download the Home Activity Programme, you can visit https://disabilitysportscoach.co.uk/dscathome/