We caught up with Barry Horne, Chief Executive of the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), following the announcement that the EFDS-led consortium has secured £4.5 million of funding as part of the Spirit of 2012's Get Out, Get Active initiative.
1. How does it feel to have been awarded this funding?
I am absolutely delighted that EFDS has been invited by Spirit of 2012 to oversee such a major investment into communities across the UK. It has been an intense year in preparing a bid which involves so many partners. We have worked hard to develop an approach which we all believe will deliver for a broad range of people who are amongst the least active.
2. What made EFDS apply for this project?
We believe this programme has the potential to change how people can be encouraged and enabled to become more active in the opportunities, which are often on their doorstep but for so long have seemed out of reach. We really think this programme could be a game changer!
EFDS has learnt so much through our research with disabled people about new approaches to engage many more people into active recreation.
3. What are the long-term goals of the project?
The programme will deliver exciting new opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to “Get Out & Get Active”. The funding will be invested in eighteen locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The focus is on increasing participation in fun and inclusive physical activity, so that disabled and non-disabled people can enjoy recreational activity together, and volunteers supporting people into active lifestyles will be at the heart of Get Out and Get Active.
Over the next four years our local and national partners will put our collective insight and expertise into practice right across the UK.
There are so many lessons we can learn from the project that will support better health and wellbeing outcomes right across the UK. All partners want to ensure that being active is appealing, accessible, fun and inclusive for a wide variety of populations. We want to understand how we can give people the confidence to enjoy active lives together, especially with their families and friends.
4. Is collaboration with partners the key to making this project a success?
The whole bid is built on collaboration. Spirit of 2012 gave us the greatest compliment possible when they fed back on our bid and said “The Board warmly welcomed your approach, particularly your detailed understanding of the challenge of getting inactive people active, your range of locations and the ‘bottom up’ approach you propose to take, representing a real commitment to understand and respond to the particular challenges faced by less active people in the specific locations in your application”.
One of the most striking things we found when discussing our approach with national partners was the extent to which approaches to inclusion across all the least active groups in society need to have many common features. For example, if you look at the insight applied by Women in Sport, there is so much common ground with our own at EFDS.
Most importantly, having established the principles and purpose of the bid, we spent time in each of our localities developing proposals that could be genuinely sustainable and relevant for that area. Because we chose such a diverse range of localities, there will be so much valuable learning to share.
5. What advice would you give to other organisations thinking of applying for projects/funding of this ilk?
Being clear about the outcomes you want to achieve but then taking a bottom up approach to building the proposals were certainly key for us. However, each funding opportunity is distinct and it is not always the case that funders have the level of clarity of purpose set out by Spirit of 2012 for this programme.
6. Can you give any details about the next steps in getting the Get Out, Get Active programme up and running?
The programme is not due to start until September and we have a healthy list of early actions to put in place to make sure we are ready to run! Not least of which will be putting in place governance and accountability arrangements and from a personal point of view, perhaps most importantly, appointing a top quality Programme Manager to drive this forward.