Everyone counts in the North East

By Laura Dodds

Specific Groups

Not everyone can run to their nearest sport centre or football pitch and just start exercise, some people have barriers and therefore need specific provisions to help them get the most out of sport and exercise. There are many specific groups that can be categorised in exercise and these include:

  • Age
  • Disablities- Mental, learning, physical etc.
  • Gender
  • GP Referalls
  • Ethnicity/ Religions
  • Poverty

I will be looking at what I think are the three main groups that have special provisions; Children, Older Adults and Disabed People, as I think it is important to highlight these groups in order to make sure they don't get left behind.


Provisions in Newcastle Upon-Tyne:

Parent and Toddler swin sessions @ Concordia Leisure Centre (Public Sector)

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:15-11:30

£3.70 per session

These sessions are great for under 5's as they allow them to gain more confidence and get used to the water, and learning from a young age will only help them in the future. The sessions will allow parents to take their children, in an environment which is suitable for learning, without the chaos and intensity of a public session. Toys are also available in the pool to give the toddlers some fun whilst they are gaining a great life skill.

Kids Yoga @ MyBody Studios (Private Sector)

Thursdays 4.45 - 5.30pm

£24 for a six week course, and the first lesson is for free!

Yoga for kids is a fairly new activity but it has shown to provide children with many benefits. The sessions are for children aged 5 and over, which includes pilates mat and machine work, yoga and Gyrotonic activities. These wide range of activities will aim to improve posture and balance and energy levels. Stamina, control, flexibility and strength can also be improved which will help childrens fitness levels in the long term.

Older Adults

Golden Oldies Table Tennis (Public Sector Sports Centre)

Thursdays 10:00-12:00

Table tennis will help improve older adults agilty, reactions and co-ordination, all of which decrease as the body gets older. The sessions are open to all ages and abilities, and is an innovative way to socialise and improve key fitness components. The participants can play against other older adults, in both free play games and tournaments.

50 Plus Aqua Fit @ City Pool (Public Sector)

Mondays and Fridays 9:00-9:45

Over 60's get 40% off memebership fees!

These classes are for older adults and use water resistance to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone. As these factors decrease with age, aqua fit will put less stress on the joints and muscles, due to the body becoming more buoyant in the water. Activities included will work the whole body, giving the participants a complete workout without putting too much strain on the body.

Disabled People

Newcastle/Gateshead Disabled Athletics Club @ Gateshead International Stadium (Private Sector)

£2 per session

This club is aimed at disabled people aged 14-25 and focuses on current Paralympic events such as club throw, track events and discus. The only equipment that is needed are sports clothing and shoes, the rest will be provided by the club. These sessions are for any disability as there is an activity for everyone and the activities include:

  • long jump

  • high jump

  • running

  • discus

  • javelin
  • wheelchair racing
  • distance club throw.

Cobras Martial Arts Club @ Percy Hedley Academy for Disability Sport (Public Sector)

Saturdays 11-12

£3.00 per session

This Martial arts club currently operates for people of all ages

with little or no mobility issues and teaches a variety of Martial

Arts. It uses adapted syllabuses and techniques, making it suitable for disabled persons. Various Martial Arts are taught that improve coordination, mobility, concentration and overall physical fitness. As well as this, the centre also run a variety of other Martial Arts Clubs at the Sports Academy and students from the Cobras Club are able to attend these at a subsidised rate.

How do these provisions compare?

For all of the provisions, the charges are similar, and this is because they are three of the main groups that are focused on when it comes to getting people into exercise and sport. Lower fees mean that more people are likely to participate, therefore increasing the numbers of active people in the region. However, there tends to be a lot more areas and centres that provide activities for children, and they have a lot more choice of activities compared to disabled people and older adults, and this is mainly down to the fact that apart from a CRB check, it costs a lot less to provide helpers and people who run the sessions and also to provide equipment needed. For older adults and disabled people, special training of qualifications may be needed and specific equipment may be required to cater for all needs, and this will cost more. The timing for the activities for children are not always appropriate, as some of them are during the day when they could be at school or a parent or guardian could be at work. This will therefore be a problem if a child wants to attend an activity that is not suitable for either them or the parent, and therefore they may not take part in any exercise if their activity is unsuitable for them. When finding activities for disabled people, the majority of the activities are for people in wheelchairs or who have very little mobility. Although this is great to have a variety of activities, for people with other disbilities, their needs may not be catered for properly. For children, most of the activities will teach them skills that they will use in the future, as well as helping to improve their fitness, and this will help them in the future and also in non-sporting activities such as school. The same applies for older adults as some of their skills such as reactions and agility will decrease as they get older, and therefore the activities will help their health and well-being.

Recommendations for each provision

To improve the provision for children, activities should be provided at suitable times such as early morning or early evening, as this will allow more children to get involved as they will have more choice in activities. If the activities are at suitable times, then parents will be more encouraged to take their children to as many as possible, and the children themselves will have more choice which can increase their motivation as they will be participating in activities that they enjoy. A reccomendation to improve provision for older adults would be to offer more training to volunteers so that more people can become qualified and therefore more activities and clubs can be set up, offering more choice for older adults. This will encourage more people to get involved in activities as there will be more opportunities in more areas of the North East. More centres and clubs should also be provided so that exercise and activities are available for all older adults, no matter what part of the region they are from. If they have access to a club or centre close to them, they will be more likely to go along and join in. If clubs and centres exist within a reasonable distance, they should be made accessible so that older adults can get involved in and activities that are going on. This would involve providing equipment that is easier to use, and also facilities that will suit their needs. Like older adults, more accessible facilities will improve the provision for disabled people, as they will be more likely to attend classes and clubs if there are facilities such as ramps, lifts etc, to help them get around. As well as this, training and qualification should be offered to people so that they can become qualified to run classes for disabled people, as this would increase the variety of activities and centres that can provide for this provision. All of these reccomendations will help provide more to help these provision develop, allowing people of all ages and disabilities to take part in sport, so that everyone has an equal opportunity.

The GP Referral Process

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1. The patient will go to their GP for a consultation, where the problem will be identified. The GP will then be selected for screening and referral. At the initial consulatition, the GP will carry out a PAR-Q, Health Screening questionnaire and injury analysis. They will also gain informed consent from the patient. They need to know if the patient has any boundaries or contraindications that could put them at risk. They also need to get consent from the patient for legal protection.

2. The patient will be contacted regarding their consultation, and they will be told the details for their screening or referral.

3. The patient will go for an assessment and during this, factors such as range of movement, flexibility, endurance, strength, blood pressure, resting heart rate, lung function and BMI can be tested to see the clients general fitness. This will allow the GP to see whether the patient will need to undertake an exercise programme.

4. The patient and GP will then agree on an exercise programme and what exercises will be included. All exercises will be specific to the patient to help them improve or recover as best as possible.

5. The exercise programme will be made and this will usually last for 12 weeks. The patient will then start this programme and complete all the exercises and activities that have been reccomended for them.

6. After around 6 weeks the patient will go back to the GP to have a one to one session and check their progress. During this session the patient can inform the GP of any problems they are having, if any, and they can also discuss anything that is going well.

7. The patient will then carry on their exercise programme for the final 6 weeks.

8. Once the programme is finished, the patient will go back to the GP for a follow up and to see if there has been any improvement made.