Fitness professionals are being invited to a free online workshop to gain practical guidance on how to successfully engage people with sight loss into their physical activity sessions.
There is a choice of two 90-minute workshops taking place on Saturday, October 23rd at 2 pm or Friday, October 29th at 1 pm.
The workshops will be delivered by Step Change Studios, the award-winning dance company committed to making dance accessible for everyone.
Supporting the workshops will be one of the company’s visually impaired students who will be sharing her live experience.
These sessions are in direct response to research that Step Change Studios undertook among 128 fitpros as part of its Dance Dosti programme in partnership with Metro Blind Sport.
Their answers revealed a clear lack of inclusive training and very low confidence in being able to support people with sight loss in their physical activities.
The research also showed a desire among fitpros to upskill in order to be able to work with this demographic and an acceptance that it is currently not well catered for within the leisure sector.
Key findings from the research showed:
- Just 12.5% of fitpros felt ‘very confident’ teaching someone with sight loss
- 77.3% cited their lack of specialist training in supporting people with sight loss as a barrier to them being fully inclusive
- 72% said hearing from someone with sight loss would be most helpful to them in supporting people with sight loss
- 73.4% rated the dance/fitness sector as ‘poor’ in terms of access and inclusion of people with sight loss
- The top three factors that fitpros believe are barriers for people with sight loss to take part in physical activity are:
- Accessibility of venue and equipment – 85.9%
- Finding information about opportunities – 85.2%
- Low confidence in the activity provider – 80.5%
The Dance Dosti workshops aim to break down these barriers and build up skills and confidence among fitpros by providing practical guidance and exercises.
Very real need
In the UK, there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss, and every day 250 people begin to lose their sight.
In January 2021, Activity Alliance found that disabled people felt that they do not have the opportunity to be as active as they want to, compared to non-disabled people (29% vs 44%).
Respondents said the lack of activity has led to both their physical and mental health is harder to manage while feelings of loneliness and social isolation were frequently voiced.
These findings tally with research from RNIB that show people with sight loss are reported to have several associated conditions, including depression, anxiety and diabetes.
It is widely known that physical activity can help to improve all three of these conditions but, as the Activity Alliance states, disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive compared with non-disabled people.
“I have seen first-hand the physical, mental and social transformation among disabled people when they’re introduced to physical activity,” says Rashmi Becker MBE, Founder of Step Change Studios.
“The aim of our workshops is to encourage fitpros to reflect on their current practice and to improve their insight, skills and confidence so they can support people with sight loss in their sessions.”
The Dance Dosti programme was launched earlier this year to support people with sight loss to be active. It is especially focused on participants from a South Asian background.
Central to this programme is understanding the views and experience of fitpros in supporting people with sight loss and enabling better practice. Dance Dosti is supported by Vision Foundation.
HOW TO SIGN UP
To register for one of the workshops visit LINK