New toolkit to help gyms make sport accessible!

photo banner of accessible signs and a person being guided in a gym - text says Free training portal open to all leisure providers

FREE training portal open to all leisure providers!

UK Coaching urges gyms and sports providers to make their facilities more accessible to visually impaired people and has just launched free training to show them how to do just that.

The new toolkit, Inclusive facilities: Supporting people with a visual impairment, created in partnership with Thomas Pocklington Trust, contains videos and resources leisure operators can use to train staff.

Kelly Rodrigues from UK Coaching said: “Small adjustments can make a huge difference for people with a visual impairment to access leisure facilities and sports and become more active. These can be as simple as a member of staff approaching a visually impaired person and introducing themselves.

“We are asking leisure operators to encourage all their staff – from the front desk to their personal trainers – to get engaged with this training programme and make sport accessible in their venues.”

Martin Symcox, Sports Development Lead at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “One of the greatest barriers to blind and partially sighted people participating in sport is confidence and we know disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive*, compared to non-disabled people.

“Knowing that a leisure or sport provider understands their needs, helps increase confidence and makes visually impaired people more likely to choose that place to do exercise.”

The toolkit is a free resource open to all leisure providers and contains:

  • What is a visual impairment?
  • What makes an accessible environment?
  • Guiding and communicating
  • The benefits of an accessible environment

Better Energise Leisure Centre in York has worked with visually impaired people and trained its team in how to make its facilities more inclusive.

Kelly, Energise Gym Instructor, said: “Prior to having the training, a visually impaired person coming into the centre, I probably would have been a little bit nervous about asking how they wanted to be supported.  Fitness should be inclusive. We should be welcoming everybody, regardless of their ability.”

Sidney Tambin is severely sight impaired and regularly visits the gym, said: “If a venue is accessible it can really boost a visually impaired person’s self confidence.”

Martin added: “The changes to the environment and procedures are often simple and inexpensive to implement and could actually be of financial benefit as more visually impaired people choose that facility to spend their money.  We will be looking for examples of good practice across the country and will be sharing these with the sight loss community.  So, we urge operators to take a look at the toolkit and train their teams.”

 

 

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