New scheme to get disabled and non-disabled people being active together as Paralympians wow in Tokyo

People with disabilities are being granted fresh opportunities to get involved in sport, thanks to a new scheme.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 11:57 am
Tara Johnson from Tailored Leisure Co with her client Jane Bray (grey jumper) join Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) Programme Coordinator, Dominic Oliver and his colleague Jade Gilbertson at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD
Tara Johnson from Tailored Leisure Co with her client Jane Bray (grey jumper) join Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) Programme Coordinator, Dominic Oliver and his colleague Jade Gilbertson at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

South Tyneside based Tailored Leisure Company (TLC) and the Foundation of Light, the official charity of Sunderland AFC, have unveiled a new partnership to deliver as a Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) activities.

GOGA is described as an exciting programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together.

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Tara Johnson from Tailored Leisure Co with her client Jane Bray (grey jumper) join Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) Programme Coordinator, Dominic Oliver and his colleague Jade Gilbertson at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

It is made possible by founding funder Spirit of 2012 and additional investment from Sport England and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

The news comes at a poignant time as UK athletes continue to impress at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, with an increasing appetite for disability sports at both elite and grass-roots level.

Tara Johnson, director of TLC, from Whitburn, set up the company due to her own experiences of living with cerebral palsy.

She said: “The Paralympics is a prime platform to showcase the capabilities of disabled people, and these inspiring athletes are key role models to many.

“The Paralympians are successfully raising awareness about sporting possibilities, however unfortunately, the majority of disabled people still at times feel isolated and excluded in participation in accessing sport, the issue of which has been heighted even more post Covid-19.

“Through this funding boost we are delighted to be working closely with the Foundation of Light through their GOGA programme, this isn’t just an amazing funding injection but an opportunity to work in collaboration to tackle accessibly and raise aspirations in sport for many service users.”

The GOGA programme is focused on getting some of the UK’s least-active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities.

Thanks to the funding boost, TLC will deliver the GOGA Sit to Be Fit in the Community project to support the community and key groups with their health, wellbeing and employment prospects, engaging around 120 people with the free provision from September 2021 – March 2022.

The Foundation of Light has grown to become one of the most pioneering sports charities in the world, winning multiple awards for their ground-breaking sports, health, community, and education programmes.

In partnership with GOGA, the Foundation runs an exciting programme of sports. GOGA is more than being active, it strengthens community spirit, increases confidence, and improves mental health.

The Foundation of Light’s head of sport and wellbeing, Liz Barton-Jones, said: "Improving physical and mental health through accessible activities is a primary objective for us as an organisation and GOGA is central to our strategy, helping us encourage sustained participation by signposting participants of any ability to Foundation of Light and other community opportunities to stay active for life.

“Getting the region moving and healthy is a joint effort and we are excited to team up with Tailored Leisure Company as one of our GOGA partnerships to achieve this ambition".

Tara added: “Following the success of Sit to Be Fit at home which we launched via zoom during lockdown, we will roll out this programme into the community to reach all abilities, those cared for, with MS and other long-term conditions, but also for Carers.

"The project really does give results, in particular Jane who has been involved in the project for the last 18 months as a participant and now has the confidence and motivation to support us a volunteer, so we really look forward to supporting even more participants in the coming months.”

A recent PNE Social Impact Award winner for 2021, TLC have been a key driving force in developing accessible projects since its inception.

The team works to develop accessible opportunities to get fit, have fun and relax with as little stress as possible and are passionate about overcoming the barriers and social exclusion faced by disabled people.

Led by regional research they attracted the attention of numerous national funders over the months to run a host of accessible fitness projects.

The interactive fitness programmes run alongside a continued funding drive to raise £1.5million for the development of an innovative, one-of-a- kind accessible short break holiday and leisure complex, the ‘Butterfly of the North’, which saw the inspirational founder stand for the first time in over 20 years to raise vital funds towards the endeavour.

Registration days will be held in the coming weeks in Sunderland, including:

:: St Marys and St Peters Church (Headway Wearside Room) on September 14 from 1pm to 2pm.

:: Fulwell Community Centre on September 17 from 1pm to 2pm

There are also opportunities for volunteers to join the team at TLC as they roll out the project. To find out more and to register for the new GOGA Sit to Be Fit in the Community project contact [email protected] or visit https://tailoredleisure.co.uk

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