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Therapists and sports coaches use Boccia to reach people with learning disabilities

People with a learning disability can face additional challenges just walking through the doors of a leisure centre. They may lack the confidence and support they need or be unsure if the environment and activities are right for them
– Sinead Kelly, occupational therapist, Sport For Confidence

Sports coaches and occupational therapists have teamed up for a new programme designed to engage people with learning disabilities.

Social enterprise Sport for Confidence has developed a set of physical activity sessions to improve the leisure facility offering, including Boccia – a precision ball sport that tests muscle control and accuracy as players propel balls towards a target ball.

The council-funded programme will be delivered at Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, in Walthamstow, which is operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

“People with a learning disability can face additional challenges just walking through the doors of a leisure centre," said occupational therapist Sinead Kelly, who is responsible for the programme.

"They may lack the confidence and support they need or be unsure if the environment and activities are right for them.

“Through working with community groups including local charities, care homes, clinical commissioning groups, GPs and community nursing teams, we can make the reasonable adjustments needed to remove the barriers and provide an inclusive service which meets individual needs.”

Daniel O’Connor, GLL general manager at Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, added: “Offering this programme creates new opportunities to reach groups traditionally difficult to engage.”

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Les Mills
Les Mills