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Taskforce at Brookfield Community School, Chesterfield

Great day had by all at Chesterfield Taskforce event

Dancing, cycling, stretching, walking, running, throwing and kicking a ball were all part of the fun at a multi-activity Derbyshire-wide event, designed to give adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to try something new.

The Taskforce project invited individuals and their carers from across the county to Brookfield Community School, Chesterfield, where their choice of inclusive activities included basketball, walking football, cycling, Nordic walking, dance, boccia and chair-based exercise.

More than 80 people were in attendance, with a number of participants keen to go on and join up with clubs or groups to take part in their favourite activities on a regular basis in their local community.

The event was organised by Derbyshire County Council and with support from Special Olympics Derbyshire, Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Derbyshire Sport. Activities were delivered by Chesterfield Nordic Walking, Glossop Gladiators Basketball Club, Senior Spireites FC and Wheely Fun Wheels, as well as several others.

Although growing, studies show the number of disabled people who take part in sport regularly is almost half that of non-disabled people. People with a disability are also more likely to be inactive all together, meaning they are doing less than 30 minutes of any activity each week.

Helen Greatorex, Service Manager for the Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation Team in Adult Care at Derbyshire County Council and who helped organise the event, hopes events like this will help tackle the disparity in those figures.

"We run the Taskforce days every 12 months, highlighting and raising awareness of different issues for people with a learning disability," she said. "We are telling people about the benefits of having a happier, healthier lifestyle, losing some weight and getting active.

"We had a similar event in Bakewell last year, where we looked at things that affect your health followed by activities. This time we have updated it with some different activities and issues, looking at mental as well as physical health.

"People are drawn from all round the county's LD network, including voluntary organisations. It's very important to get the message across to people to exercise and keep active because we find that people with a learning disability need the extra encouragement and support.

"Without it, people with that disability can often lead a sedentary life, through no fault of their own, and find themselves marginalised. That's why it's great to be able to show them and, as importantly, their carers and support staff, what inclusive activities are available and where."

Laura Daniels, an instructor at Chesterfield Nordic Walking, came along to the event to demonstrate her activity to some of the participants.

She said: "Nordic Walking is such a great, inclusive exercise that uses 90 per cent of your body's muscles, works your core and turns your walk into a work-out.

"Our groups are really friendly with a great social side and we get out into nature as much as we can. People have been really surprised once they've tried it and can see how walking with the poles works and really straightens out their posture."

The event also threw a spotlight on some of the terrific volunteering being done across the county, with Glossop Gladiators' Sam Jackson, 24, turning out to show others how to play his favourite sport.

"It's been good to help other people learn about the game and get some work experience at the same time," he said.

"It's been really fantastic. I've shown people how to shoot and dribble – some of the skills that I've learned by going along to my club."

One of those to attend on the day was Tony Roebuck, from Chesterfield, who said: "I really enjoyed it today, because there were was lots of different events to try in the same place.

"I enjoyed going on the bikes the most – you could really get up some speed."

Find out more

You can find out more about Derbyshire County Council's support services for adults with a learning disability here.