Inspiring Lives 

As an inclusive sports programme, Inspiring Lives has engaged with people of all ages, abilities and genders. The programme has grown year on year to reach out to over 1600 people with over 44,000 attendances since it began in 2014.

Lincs Inspire’s inclusive sports programme, Inspiring Lives, has proved a real success in its first three years of operation. Working closely in partnership with a number of different organisations, including Care Plus Group and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, Lincs Inspire deliver a number of inclusive activities across the week within their centres and the activities have proved extremely popular with all involved.

The project, funded for the first three years through Sport England’s Inclusive Sport programme, was born out of the success of London 2012 and the area’s very own Disability Games. The Inspiring Lives programme brings together Lincs Inspire’s sports, leisure and arts services making them inclusive for all and helps people with any disability or impairment to access sport and fitness in a safe, inspiring environment.

The physical, mental and social benefit of the sessions is clear for all to see. One carer, who regularly attended the sessions, said:

“All the staff seem to be very well informed about people with disabilities. They think very carefully about what they’re doing with everybody. I think you could go all the way across the country and set this as an example of how it should be done. Everybody that comes in enjoys it! The staff are so helpful and supportive that I, myself as a carer learn as I’m going along, so it benefits me as well as the people who come to use it.”

The programme works with a wide range of partners from all sectors including the NHS, Care Plus Group, Shapemaster, Disability Sports Forum, Linkage, Special Olympics, NAViGO, Macmillan, MS Society plus many more. These partnerships vary from providing session support and delivery, to staff training, to Lincs Inspire’s Health and Wellbeing team attending outreach events and delivering talks for other professionals and clients. 

As an inclusive sports programme, Inspiring Lives has engaged with people of all ages, abilities and genders. The programme has grown year on year and expanded to reach out to over 1600 people with over 44,000 attendances since it began in September 2014.

Ben Frary, Disability Sports Coordinator for Lincs Inspire, said:

“The programme’s about getting people active and giving people with disabilities the opportunity to try new things. We have to adapt everything and make it possible. I think we’ve actually pushed the boundaries with that.”

Sue Over, Adult Learning Disability Physiotherapist, said: “The key thing that we have got right in North East Lincolnshire is that we have got therapists working alongside leisure centre staff. As therapists we’ve got handling skills, knowledge of the conditions and the confidence to try things without the fear of hurting somebody. The leisure centre has got the man power, the venue, the fantastic equipment and also the staff are willing to learn. We’ve been able to put on training for all staff to cover communication, moving and handling and disability awareness which has really added to the whole experience.” 

The sessions offer a wide variety of inclusive activities for users to enjoy such as a fully inclusive gym sessions, adapted cycles, rebound therapy, arts and crafts as well as toning therapy. The programme also offers disability swimming and basketball sessions as well as fun-filled inclusive sport open days.

Bi-annually the programme has held an Inclusive Sports Day which has involved a variety of different activities engaging with people of all abilities and ages. The days, held at Grimsby Leisure Centre, provide the opportunity to try out an impressive variety of activities such as badminton, table tennis, table cricket, boccia, bowls, kurling, ice-skating, trampolining, gymnastics, archery, boxing, golf, adapted cycles and much more.

Rob Allison, Operations Manager – Sport & Health Improvement for Lincs Inspire, said:

“Our weekly multi-sport sessions bring the whole centre alive with all the activity and laughter that goes on. To see and hear some of the participants taking part, especially during the trampolining session, is such a wonderful and humbling experience.”

Cllr Jane Hyldon-King, portfolio holder for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care, said: “I’m impressed with the work Lincs Inspire are doing to encourage more people with a disability or long term health problem to be more active. I’ve benefitted first-hand from the Inspiring Lives project after my husband and I took up membership in 2015 knowing that I was to have surgery due to my disability.

“Ben Frary was very helpful and Lincs Inspire’s Health & Wellbeing Fitness Supervisor, Ian Shorely-Harlow, advised me on the type of support I needed.

“My role as portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing has given me the opportunity to spread the word among the many disability groups we have in North East Lincolnshire about this great service.”

The programme itself has become sustainable and offers access to a wider range of sports and activities. Lincs Inspire hopes to continue to build even stronger partnerships with local, regional and national parties to increase awareness of and develop opportunities for disability sport within North East Lincolnshire.

For more information on Lincs Inspire’s disability activities and services click here. Alternatively, take a look at the short film below which shows what the Inspiring Lives sessions are all about.