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disability fi tness


An INCLUSIVE FUTURE


WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR DISABILITY FITNESS PROVISION? KATE CRACKNELL ASKS A PANEL OF INDUSTRY EXPERTS FOR THEIR THOUGHTS


JULES TWELLS IFI PROJECT OFFICER, ENGLISH FEDERATION OF DISABILITY SPORT (EFDS)


to participate in physical activity and create a cultural change within leisure facilities. Now managed by the EFDS, the IFI has 400 IFI Mark accredited facilities. Alongside physical access to buildings, IFI Mark centres provide a wide range of inclusive fi tness


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he IFI was set up to break down many of the barriers that exist for disabled people


equipment, appropriate operational policies and procedures, and trained staff who are confi dent and competent in delivering excellent customer service to disabled people. We continue to accredit new centres, consolidating our work by making sure facility and equipment standards remain up-to-date, are technically valid and represent reasonable adjustments for disabled people and the fi tness industry. Now that this vital infrastructure is in


place, we believe that future direction should focus on improved engagement with disabled people. Greater insight into the psychological barriers to participation and techniques for infl uencing behaviour change should be the next step.


BOB WHITLOCK SALES DIRECTOR, SCIFIT (UK) LTD


rather than a revolution. To most people – correctly or otherwise – the Stage 2 accreditation appears to have reached its ‘inclusive optimum’, addressing the main issues of the relevant users’ requirements. With this goal achieved, it may be suggested that the IFI’s role going forward is: to educate operators and relevant authorities in the application and moral responsibility of offering inclusive products and continued accessibility; to increase the number of accredited facilities; and to gradually update and fi ne-tune the current ‘adequate’ level of inclusivity (Stage 2) in order to maintain


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traction and conformity. These key next steps would offer stability for the foreseeable future. It also makes sense that suppliers


he development and provision of the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) may be viewed as an evolution


endeavour to develop their products as inclusively as is viable from the early development stages. This will help avoid excessive redevelopment costs to meet future IFI criteria – and the distinction between inclusive


Real opportunities exist for the


fi tness industry to understand motivations to exercise and to connect with this target market by offering a range of pathways into sport and fi tness activities. However, this will require a cultural shift in both disabled people’s perceptions and the attitudes of others. The IFI’s new ‘Let’s Get PhysicAll’ campaign offers positive promotional messages and imagery with which to begin this journey. Our industry needs to play its part in empowering disabled people to make informed, balanced lifestyle choices and seize the opportunities to provide environments that will help them lead healthier lives.


and mainstream products may also, eventually, merge seamlessly. The IFI’s position and cause will have


longevity, in one guise or other. Pivotal to this is maintaining the existing practice of consultation, review and compromise between suppliers and the IFI. This will hopefully secure a sound foundation to a forward-thinking, inclusive/mainstream equipment pool.


Inclusive and mainstream products may merge seamlessly in the future


64 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital september 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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