UKActive, the national association for gyms and leisure centres, is the latest recruit to Include Me West Midlands, the campaign headed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to change people’s lives by providing a level playing field for physical activity for all.
Include Me WM aims to make the West Midlands an exemplar region for engaging disabled people, and people with long term health conditions, to be physically active.
Developed following extensive consultation with disabled people, disability groups, and national research institutions, it puts disabled people at the heart of the conversation around activity, wellbeing, housing and transport. The campaign advises organisations on enhancing their engagement with disabled people, and so far, 91 organisations across the West Midlands have shown their commitment.
The sign-up of UKActive coincides with National Fitness Day on 22nd September. National Fitness Day highlights the importance of activity for our health and wellbeing and provides loads of resources to help people start becoming more physically active.
Welcoming this most recent sign-up, West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “Include Me WM has been a great success, delivering tangible benefit for the many people of our society who are disenfranchised from opportunities that perhaps we sometime take for granted. I really welcome UKActive signing-up and look forward to them becoming an active participant in this social movement and sharing this with their members across the West Midlands.
“Sport and physical activity should be accessible to all, and it’s tremendous that so many organisations are reaching out positively to disabled people in this way. I am sure the scheme will go from strength to strength.”
UKActive is a not-for-profit industry association, promoting the interests of commercial fitness gyms and community leisure centres, with more than 3500 organisations in its membership. UKActive's vision is to get more people, more active, more often and to improve the nation's health by promoting active lifestyles.
Huw Edwards, chief executive of UKActive said: “We are delighted to be able to show our commitment to Include Me WM and support our member organisations, and disabled people, to engage with physical activity. The West Midlands is pioneering a great approach here, and we’re proud to be able to help it in whatever way we can.
“So many research studies have demonstrated how vital fitness is for good health and wellbeing, which is also why we’re so keen to highlight National Fitness Day on 22nd September. There are a whole range of resources available that can help us to become more active and I’d encourage everyone to go online and see what’s there. We mustn’t forget: fitness, our health and our wellbeing shouldn’t be just for one day, it should become part of our lives. And through Include Me WM we can make it a part of everyone’s lives.”
UKActive’s sign-up comes just ahead of the Include Me in Uniting the Region conference on 30 September, which is bringing together organisations and people from across the West Midlands – both those that have already involved with Include Me and those that may be new to it – to highlight the need to develop opportunities together. Any residents wanting to be involved or interested in attending the conference should visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/include-me-in-uniting-the-region-conference-morning-session-tickets-168253933043
Commenting on the upcoming conference, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, portfolio holder for Wellbeing at the West Midlands Combined Authority and leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “We hope that UKActive will be just the first of many more organisations to sign-up to Include Me WM, and the conference at the end of September provides the opportunity to find out more about the movement. I’d encourage any organisation that has a focus on activity and/ or disability, to register and find out more.”