8 April 2015

YMCA St Paul’s Group has been awarded a Big Lottery Grant for approximately £319,000 over three years to address the significant health inequalities experienced by people with disabilities through a project called YMCA Inclusive Lives. 

The project is aimed at encouraging people with disabilities to make positive lifestyle choices by offering a wide range of health and wellbeing activities.

YMCA Inclusive Lives will be delivered in the Boroughs of Merton, Kingston and Richmond for those aged 16+ years. The project will commence from July 2015.

Encourage activity and independence

Gina King, Director of Health and Wellbeing at YMCA St Paul’s Group, said:

This is a great opportunity for us as a YMCA to show local communities how having a disability does not mean you have to stop you enjoying life.

However, research shows that people with disabilities are only half as likely to participate in sporting opportunities that people without disabilities, and they are also at a higher risk of developing poor physical and mental health. Additionally, they are significantly less likely to be economically active than people without disabilities”.

YMCA St Paul’s Group’s significant experience of creating accessible facilities, gained through our Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) accreditation across a number of our sites, will enable us to work with and support multiple community facilities and groups to become more accessible for people with disabilities.

Through the YMCA Inclusive Lives project we will especially encourage people with disabilities to become more economically active by providing training, qualifications, and work experience opportunities. These opportunities will include roles within this programme as well as relevant roles with partner organisations.

To ensure we can reach to as many people as possible we will offer individual counselling sessions, counselling and support groups, emotional and mental health/lifestyle workshops, staff training and brief courses”.

Increased participation and training

The project will be focused on these four key areas:

1) Increase opportunities for participation in physical, arts and cultural activities.
2) Provide training opportunities to gain qualifications, in selected work areas.
3) Support other organisation’s client groups by having our participants run activities for them by designing and delivering sessions and resource materials.
4) Through celebratory events break stigmas around disability and what that person “can and cannot do”.

Want to get involved?

If you would like to be part of this project either as a Volunteer, Delivery Partner or in another capacity please contact GinaKing@ymcalsw.org or call 078 2689 0171.