2019 has been a busy year for the DSActive team and now we are approaching Christmas it’s a good time to take a breath and reflect on what we’ve achieved.
The DSActive team now supports 1000 people with Down’s syndrome in DSActive sessions across England and Wales. We are very proud of this achievement, and we couldn’t have done it without the hard work of the DSActive team and all the clubs we work with. To celebrate this achievement, we created a short video which you can see here.
Following feedback from our national consultation and our participants, the DSActive team have been able to launch sessions within new sports. We believe everyone with Down’s syndrome should be able to access any sport they want to play, and it’s our mission to make this a reality. Last year we launched athletics clubs across the country, and this year we ran 3 sailing pilots and 2 cricket pilots, which proved to be very popular. You can read more about how these pilots went within sailing and cricket here. Due to the success of the pilots, we will be running more next year, keep an eye on our website and social media for more details.
This year also saw the launch of the very popular Health Swap app, designed by and launched specifically for people with Down’s syndrome. The idea for the app first came from the realisation that in order to increase your levels of physical activity you need to be a certain level of health. Improving your nutrition is a great way to start improving your health, as eating a healthy balanced diet will give you more energy and make you less lethargic. The Health Swap app was funded by a grant from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which was managed by Citizens Online. Working with app development company The Distance and Monitoring and Evaluation Consulting, the app was designed, built, and available for download within 7 months. You can find out more about the app here and download it for FREE here.
Our 9th National Football Festival took place in Birmingham, with over 140 players attending on the day. It was a brilliant day, and all the DSActive team continue to be amazed by the standard of the play each year and the exemplary sportsmanship on show. You can read more about the festival here.
2019 also saw the launch of the very first National Tennis Festival run at the National Tennis Center in London. It was a fantastic day and it was great to see some many players turn up from all parts of the country. A huge thank you to the LTA for their help with the organising and running of the day. You can read more about the festival here.
This year we have run festivals all across the country, in total over 400 people with Down’s syndrome have been involved in the festivals, with many trying a new sport for the first team.
The DSActive team continue to travel around the country to train coaches on how to better support people with Down’s syndrome. This year saw us start working with British and Welsh Gymnastics, World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and continue to run workshops for the LTA, England Athletics and Leisure and Fitness industry. In total, over 360 coaches have attended a DSActive workshop this year, and we’ve already started booking up for next year’s workshops!
The last few years, the DSActive team have worked hard to increase the number of people with Down’s syndrome playing sport. Now we need to ensure that there are pathways in place for our athletes who want to compete nationally and even internationally. The DSActive team have been working with UK Sports Association for people with Learning Disabilities, Down syndrome Swimming GB, Team GB Down’s syndrome Athletics, Team GB Down’s syndrome Table Tennis, National Governing Bodies and sits on the National Disability Sporting Organisations and Physical Activity Network run by the Activity Alliance. We have had a lot of positive meetings and there is some great work going on to ensure that everyone with Down’s syndrome can play sport at what ever level they want.
Well there are plenty of plans in place for 2020, we have lots of new sessions launching, more festivals being prepared, and more sports on the way. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels to find out more!