Accessibility in Leisure and Sport
All Able have been commissioned by the Thomas Pocklington Trust to investigate how blind and partially sighted people access sports, leisure and gym facilities. The hope is that this research can identify methods to make keeping fit and using sports and leisure facilities more accessible.
Everyone should have the options to keep themselves fit and healthy and engage with their communities in ways that encourage good health such as use of fitness, sports, and leisure centres.
After speaking with Sight Loss Councils across the UK it has been raised that blind and partially sighted people are experiencing a range of barriers to using facilities that support exercise and good health such as barriers to using private gyms, local authority leisure centres or other sports facilities.
What do these impacts look like? Impacts to blind and partially sighted individuals cover both in person and digital interactions. This has been further exacerbated to the changes in service delivery both physical and online that Covid has initiated. For example, with the move to digital booking for gym visits, many organisations released apps for customers to book their gym time. These new apps have been flagged by commentary from Sight Loss Councils as inaccessible and not built to support blind or partially sighted users.
All Able and Thomas Pocklington Trust are looking into many contact routes for blind and partially sighted users looking to attend leisure facilities including:
What accessibility or disability support for visitors is available on the website
Can a blind user sign up or get in contact using the website
If there are member apps, what levels of accessibility are present
What support is offered by individual location staff over the phone
We are hoping by looking at both the digital journeys and the support offered when attending the physical locations, this research will be able to provide useful recommendations on what leisure facilities can do to improve the experience of blind and partially sighted visitors through better information availability and improved in-person support.
The project is looking at leisure facilities across the following areas:
Greater Manchester 95
West Yorkshire 56
Tyne and Wear 35
Black Country 26
East Sussex 20