Making activity accessible for all

We can all do our bit to break down the barriers to making physical activity accessible for everyone.

Sarah Haden-Godwin

28 May 2020

A woman and child on a playing field

It takes all of us to play our part in creating genuinely welcoming and accessible environments, where coming together* to enjoy the experience of being active is easy and fun.


Accessible doesn’t have to be a scary concept to achieve; sometimes the best way to create environments where people of all abilities can be active together is often to ask the person involved what their needs are and how can we make this work for you.


We can all do our bit to break down the barriers to taking part in physical activity, because we are all in this together.


Active Gloucestershire is passionate and committed to Gloucestershire being an inclusive, accessible and physically active county to live and work in. During the Covid-19 pandemic, disabled people and those with long-term limiting health conditions are far more likely to feel isolated, fearful of the current situation and be significantly less physically active than before. This is clearly shown in the latest data from Sport England, with disabled people being statistically less active than non-disabled people during lockdown. We want to inform, inspire and motivate people to make this change.


The rise in virtual and digital opportunities for us all to #StayInWorkOut are growing in their variety. For many people, there are some fantastic resources to enable them to increase their physical activity levels from the comfort of their home, garden or local outdoor space. These resources are a brilliant way to try something new; for disabled people, making a few small tweaks and adaptions to these ideas could enable physical activity to become a part of everyone’s daily lives.


With one in five of us having a disability or long-term condition, many people are already used to adapting their environments, but we hope that the recent STEP guide from Activity Alliance will provide even more ideas to adapt physical activity and environments to be active at home.


The STEP guide provides some ideas on how you can change four things to create accessible environments. While it is useful a guide on adapting activities while we are at home, it is also a great toolkit for activity providers to use when the pandemic settles and we embark on our journey to living in what will be our ‘new normal’. 


STEP stands for Space, Task, Equipment, People. You can adjust one or more of the Space, Task, Equipment elements being used and/or the People taking part; doing this can be a really easy way to use and change every day household items to be active.


  • Space: You could make changes to the surface e.g wooden floors can make movement easier, or if playing a target game, move it closer or further away.
  • Task: Instead of running on the spot, move in any way you can, lifting your feet in and out or up and down. Rather than star jumps alternate taking each arm and/or leg out to the side. 
  • Equipment: Use a chair to do squats, sit down and stand back up or make your own target games using rolled up socks and boxes or washing baskets as targets.
  • People: For target games, ask someone to stand and make sounds to direct you to the target.

Click the download button for an example of an adapted ativity using the STEP tool. This is the recent Tweedy's Gloucestershire School Games Challenge.


Adapting activities so that everyone can take part together is just one way that we can do this. We would recommend checking out Activity Alliance’s website for more information and examples of things you can do at home.


It is really important to stay active right now as a household. It will bring us together and we can enjoy doing something fun and entertaining, while benefitting our physical and mental wellbeing.

You may also find Activity Alliance's Inclusive Communications Guide a useful resource for communicating with your groups. 


Don’t forget to share what you are doing on social media using the hashtag #WeCanMove and contact Sarah Haden-Godwin for more information.


Click the download button for an example of an adapted ativity using the STEP tool. This is the recent Tweedy's Gloucestershire School Games Challenge.

*As government guidelines allow.

Share this article

Link or download


Sarah Haden-Godwin
28 May 2020

Sarah is a Physical Activity Specialist at Active Gloucestershire and leads on work for disabled people and older adults.