What does the Me & Activity report mean for activity providers working with young people?

Date: 20 October 2021   Author: Energise Me

Earlier this year we launched the Me & Activity report, showing that young people had positive feelings about physical activity, but struggled with feeling motivated. Here we explore how the recommendations can help YOU become more accessible.

Girl choosing accessible activity on laptop

The Me & Activity report shares the findings of a survey of 151 young people, and two focus groups. It recommends that organisations working to support young people to be physically active should:

  1. Focus on accessibility
  2. Weigh the benefits of digital resources
  3. Hold frequent consultations with young people
  4. Celebrate the relationship between physical activity and mental health
  5. Offer free or subsidised activities in conjunction with paid programmes
  6. Invest in tackling the underlying issue of motivation

For more information, the recommendations are found on pages 26 and 27 of the report.

In this blog, we’ll look at recommendation 1, what we’re doing to meet it, and some ideas and practical tips for youth workers, sports clubs, leisure centres – or anyone else supporting young people to be physically active.

A focus on accessibility

When the young people talked about accessibility, they didn’t mean only in relation to disability. They wanted to see provision that was adaptable and available to every member of the community.

When asked to devise their own plans, young people focused on creating free initiatives, offering subsidies, creating gender-neutral changing rooms and building infrastructure like lights to make women feel more comfortable.


What we do

Some things that we do to make our work accessible:

  • Offer training on topics like Youth Mental Health First Aid and Supporting LGBTQ+ Children so that coaches, youth workers, or volunteers in Hampshire and Isle of Wight can learn more ways to support the young people they work with.
  • Ensure that training is free or low-cost as much as possible.
  • Learn, learn, learn! Whether that is our Pride in our Workforce research, or our commitment to tackling racism, we’re always learning, and seeking out new ways to support more people.
  • We know that some people with visual impairments use software to access websites and social media. We’re doing our best to make our website accessible, and to use alt text on images.
  • When producing videos with talking we include subtitles, to ensure that they are accessible by those with hearing impairments.
  • We try to be mindful of the language we use. For example, we avoid the acronym “BAME” and try to be specific about the communities we’re supporting or learning about.


Things to try

Some things you could try:

  • Is there a group or organisation in your area that can help you? Charities like Level Playing Field can conduct accessibility audits to help you remove barriers that exclude people. Or maybe you could offer some free sessions to a youth club in exchange for their advice and guidance on what works for them.
  • Keep an eye out for free and low-cost training. You’ll find some on our training pages, and through organisations like Sported.
  • Sometimes barriers that prevent people from joining an activity can be as simple as not being able to afford extra food if exercise makes them hungry. Or the right clothes. Can you provide a snack for your participants? Could you make it okay to wear whatever clothes you’re comfortable in? Can you hold a “boot amnesty” to source kit?
  • Make sure you’re using inclusive language. That might be person first language, like “person with autism” instead of “autistic person” (although everyone has their own preferences). It might be gender-neutral language, like “Morning all!” or “Welcome” instead of “Hello boys and girls” or “Good afternoon chaps.” Remember, even some words that we sometimes think of as neutral, like “guys” or “dude” don’t always feel that way to everyone.

If you have an idea for a way you can make your activity more accessible, we’d love to hear about it. (And shout about it!) And if you’re a bit stuck, and fancy a chat, please do get in touch.

Get in touch to discuss accessibility with Emma

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