"The rest of the country still needs to catch up with Salford”
After eight years in the making, a Salford CCG-funded project that supports people living with disabilities to get more active more often has featured on the BBC’s The One Show.
The brainchild of the project, Ben Andrews, developed Empower to support people living with disabilities to engage in more social, physical and exercise-based activity, while giving those around them the skills to support this long-term.
Ben started off training relatives with visual impairments, and then created Empower, supported by funding through Salford CCG's Innovation Fund since 2015.
Empower aims to create a more inclusive, integrated society in which disabled people have the opportunities and knowledgeable support in place to better manage their health and well-being.
Incubated by Salford social enterprise, Unlimited Potential, Empower is currently delivered in Eccles, Pendleton and Swinton. It is hoped to spread to benefit disabled people throughout Greater Manchester and beyond.
“80% of disabled people want to be more active, but only 17% meet the recommended levels of activity – and this is even lower for people with sensory impairments.” said Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive of Unlimited Potential.
“Disabled people make up one-third of all NHS patients, but activity initiatives rarely target them and they face many barriers. Empower is a solution that works for people.”
Empower supports disabled people to take part in activities they may otherwise find hard to attend: everything from gardening and cycling groups to intensive gym workouts.
Sylvia, the mother of an Empower client, Katie Thomlinson, said “Katie was doing nothing all day before Empower. She has come right out of her shell since starting in the gym. She’s made friends and is loves her new dance and drama groups.” Katie added, “I like it. I can breathe better.”
“I hope that Empower will gradually change the perceptions of disabled people and from non-disabled people.” said Ben Andrews, Project Manager. “You don’t have to be a Paralympian, but you also don’t have to do nothing.”
“We can all move more. We can all reap the benefits of a more active life. It’s important for disabled people to have the same opportunities to do so.” continued Ben.
Speaking on The One Show, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, holder of 11 Paralumpic and five World Championship gold medals, said: “The rest of the country still needs to catch up [with Salford]."
Click here to watch The One Show feature, (at 10'36"). Empower is here to support any person living with a disability in Eccles, Pendleton and Swinton to get active. If you or someone you know might benefit from Empower, please contact Ben Andrews on 07747 475038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Picture: Katie Thomlinson with Ben Andrews)