In 2016 Spring into Action were awarded a grant from Sported and the Allchurches Trust to undertake a research consultation to further understand, and ultimately break down, the barriers young people with learning disabilities face accessing sporting provision across East Lancashire.
As part of its consultation, the group interviewed over 100 individuals across the area – a combination of young people, parents and carers – to understand current access to inclusive activities and the appetite for those with and without learning disabilities to share sessions.
We catch up with Lucy Hamlin, Director of Spring into Action, to find out how the consultation went and their plans to utilise the insight.
Who are Spring into Action and what do you do?
“Spring into Action are a community interest company, set up in 2012. Our vision is of an inclusive society where people with learning disabilities can fully participate. We do this by providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities to participate in activities, volunteer and find employment. We provide quality inclusive services, in partnership with other organisations, that allow people with learning disabilities to flourish and fulfil their potential.”
What was the motivation for you commissioning this consultation?
“A couple of years ago, after running some successful, but time limited projects, we had feedback from a funding application to widen our reach, that our consultation had not been wide enough.
Towards the end of 2016 we revisited our aims and objectives looking towards our future development, and realised that we were falling down in consulting with people outside of our service, and that in order to properly plan our future strategy and direction, we recognised the need to undertake a focused consultation.
We wanted to find out if we were fulfilling our potential and providing appropriate services for our audiences and wanted to know if there was a wider need for our services. Additionally we wanted to know how to better engage with young people in relation to sport and physical activity, because although we have always worked with young people, our inclusive sports club – Spring into Sport – was attracting more people aged over 18, than under.”
What were the key findings?
“The key findings were that 78% of people with learning disabilities found existing provision to be good, but 74% of parents of children and young people with learning disabilities found services to be poor or unsatisfactory. It’s important to point out that this is the views of all sporting provision that they know of, and is not specific to Spring into Action.
The other key finding, was that 60% of parents and 80% of young people without learning disabilities would be interested in sharing sporting activity with people with a learning disability.”
How will the findings of the consultation be used?
“The consultation is being used to shape our future services. One project that will start in 2018 is a training programme where people with learning disabilities, currently accessing our inclusive sports club, will train ‘mainstream’ sports coaches and instructors on how to make their sessions more inclusive. This will provide a wider range of sport and physical activity that will be accessible to people with learning disabilities, and also clubs that we can confidently signpost people to from our inclusive sports club.”
For more information about Spring into Action, please visit: