Inclusion Barnet – why we’re involved in Into Sport

DDPOs have a potential role to play in any aspect of life where participation is an issue. For Inclusion Barnet, the Into Sport project has been a chance to broaden their horizons and think about accessibility from a new perspective.

This is a guest post from Inclusion Barnet

Woman gardening

DDPOs, and not without cause, have often traditionally concentrated on rights-based work and user voice.  In general, we worry about our advocacy and benefits advice more than the accessibility of local gyms.

This is more than understandable, especially given the current climate, and it’s a vital part of our remit. Nonetheless, DDPOs also have a potential role to play in any aspect of life where participation is an issue. So the opportunity to get involved with Into Sport was a real chance to broaden our horizons and think about accessibility from a new perspective.

For Inclusion Barnet, Into Sport sits in our ‘Support to fulfil potential’ strand of work, alongside supported volunteering and our developing involvement in social prescribing.  Having this strategic priority reminds us that whilst we may not have the capacity to do all things all the time, we should have an ambition to work in any field where participation could be increased – employment, culture, education and of course sport.

Sport, for the purposes of the Into Sport project, can mean any exercise or physical activity, and it’s a particularly important field for DDPO involvement. It’s a field where disabled people are too often excluded, yet it’s so important to health and wellbeing. Inaccessible swimming pools and the image-obsessed culture of so many gyms should not be allowed to remain barriers to involvement. So being an Into Sport partner has affected our whole organisation, and really made us think about sport.

So, for example, our support planning service routinely considers physical activity when working with customers, and our Learning Disability self-advocacy project, People’s Choice, has become a strong source of referrals to Into Sport.

Theresa de Swiet, our Into Sport team leader, reports into our senior staff team meetings, which is an important forum for building links across our projects, and she has also presented to our board. She also did a fantastic job of spreading the message through a new, accessible film about the project, which you can see below. Most importantly of all, the project has been a real success at reaching people, and our participation is well over target.

So when we next review our strategic plans, we’ll be looking at ways to sustain our involvement in this important area of work. Being able to get ‘into sport’ is a right that we shouldn’t ignore.

Into Sport Film

Watch Inclusion Barnet’s video about how Into Sport has had an impact across the whole organisation.

Into Sport from Inclusion London on Vimeo.


The Into Sport Project is funded by Sport England.