At MacIntyre, we encourage people we support to take part in activities they love, including sports.
We sat down with Darren, Frontline Manager in Warrington to discuss how the team keep the people we support safe when taking part in sport.
"We rent a sports area which allows us to play sports on rubber flooring in the summer. We work with the Warrington Wolves Foundation, who provide us with a sports coach to make sure all sporting activities are safe and suitable for people taking part.
They assess everyone's level of fitness and ability, creating a programme for the full year of multisport. They make sure they get to know people, encouraging them as much as possible while maintaining a safe learning environment."
Working with the people we support, the sports coach makes everyone aware of the dangers of the game, reminding everyone to listen to instructions carefully and keep hydrated. Not only this, but all staff present are first aid trained, with further support staff just minutes away.
Darren also shared the precautions that are put into place to ensure people we support with epilepsy are included but are also kept safe.
"People supported with epilepsy are constantly supervised and when signs of potential seizures are showing, the person is supported to sit down and rest until ready to re-join."
For the team, there are also times where it might not be appropriate for the person to take part in a particular session due to their current health. In this case, the person is supported to take part in a different session, but this is a decision that is always made with the person.
Speaking about sporting equipment, Darren shared that the team always ensure that any equipment used is adapted to suit the needs of the person, for example using soft tennis balls or cricket balls to avoid injury.
Yet, whilst precautions are always put in place, there is always a risk when taking part in sporting activities, something Darren reflected on:
"These risks are explained to everyone we support, support staff or family members, but for many people we support, exercise is vital to their wellbeing. Physical activity brings fun, laughter and enjoyment to a person's life. It encourages them to play with friends and teaches them about teamwork."
Ross, who is supported by MacIntyre and who takes part in sports said:
"Sports is great, It keeps me fit. We need to listen to instructions, so we do not hurt ourselves. I love sports and playing with my friends; we all help each other and take a drink with us. If someone gets hurt, we know to stop and wait for staff to help people before we start again."