Access to a range of free sporting activities is being provided for people with complex disabilities thanks to a new online platform launched this week by the national charity Sense.
The activity finder, available on the Sense website, already lists more than 100 sports, art and wellbeing activities tailored to different needs that can be carried out with families, carers and support staff.
The resources currently come in multiple different formats, including video content with British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation, captioning and auto description, Easy Read resources, and live Zoom sessions that can booked in advance. Later in the year, as pandemic restrictions ease further, physical events will also be added to the website.
Alissa Ayling, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at Sense, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching the new platform, which provides a fantastic opportunity to improve health and wellbeing for people with complex disabilities by supporting them to be connected, creative and active.
“Taking part in art, sport and wellbeing activities is beneficial for everybody, but we know that people with complex disabilities are less likely to be active. This has worsened throughout the pandemic with many disabled people forced to stay at home due to social distancing, self-isolating and shielding.
“The last 12 months have been extremely challenging but have also shown how we can adapt our services and connect in new ways. The new platform represents a major change in how Sense supports people with complex disabilities and we are delighted to launch it at a time when it’s most needed.”
Sense is a national disability charity that supports people living with complex disabilities, including those who are deafblind, to communicate and experience the world. Sense supports children, young people and adults in their home and in the community, in their education and transition to adulthood and through its holidays, arts, sports and wellbeing programmes. In addition to practical support to families, Sense also offers information advice, short breaks and family events, and campaigns for the rights of people with complex disabilities to take part in life.
The content on the online platform includes activities ranging from inclusive yoga to sound baths, and was created together with partners across the disability, sports and arts sectors, as well as with disabled artists, practitioners, instructors and coaches.
Sarah Newton, who cares for and supports her 20-year-old disabled daughter Phoebe, said: “We are constantly looking for new things to do with Phoebe. It is so important to us to find accessible, appropriate activities for Phoebe. Thanks to the free resources by Sense, we now have the confidence going forward, to be able to set a programme of activities for Phoebe which work perfectly alongside the programme she is following at college.
“As a family it's easy to get depressed about all the things Phoebe can't do or can't access. But we remedy this by working really hard at ways in which we can keep Phoebe alert and to fill her day with exciting activities. We were so grateful to Sense to now have so much to choose from, what to repeat, and how we could adapt the suggestions for Phoebe.”
For more information on the Sense Activity Finder visit sense.org.uk/find-your-activity