Leeds Rhinos Foundation have been praised for their work in helping to provide a fully inclusive and accessible Try Club programme with partners Aspire CBS to support adults with learning disabilities to learn more about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Launched in February, the free 12-week programme is being delivered at Headingley Stadium every Monday to 10 adults who use the Aspire CBS support services and has adapted key messages from the Foundation’s popular weight management programme to help them understand the importance of a balanced diet, good nutrition and regular exercise.
It’s been recognised for many years that people with learning disabilities are at increased risk of being overweight or obese compared to the general population, with poorly balanced diets and very low levels of physical activity.
This risk, in turn, increases the likelihood of a range of health and social problems- ranging from Type 2 diabetes to heart problems, social isolation and mental health impacts.
Explaining the importance of this ground-breaking initiative with Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Aspire CBS Sports & Wellbeing Coordinator, Ian Graham said: “It’s vital that we make courses like Try Club more accessible to adults with learning disabilities, as they can often be overlooked by the health service and it can be hard for them to understand the information provided by mainstream sources.
“Accessibility is a big issue, but it’s also about providing a comfortable environment with someone who is approachable and is able to tailor the content for these people so that they can take more of an initiative themselves towards keeping healthy and understanding why this is so good for them.
“This first Try Club group with Aspire CBS has gone really well and you can see already that everyone is taking the information on board and engaging with it as a topic of conversation. We’ve recently done the catch-up session after 6 weeks on what we’ve learnt so far and it was clear that everything has gone in and they’ve already started to make those healthy changes which will make a huge difference to their wellbeing.”
Aspire CBS are a social enterprise, working with over 1,000 people with learning disabilities across Leeds, supporting them to have better lives through the provision of high-quality, person-centred, care and support services.
Throughout the past five years, Leeds Rhinos Foundation have worked together with Aspire CBS to deliver a tailored programme of sports coaching throughout the city, helping customers to stay active and engaged whilst also providing them with opportunities to enjoy memorable experiences and learn new skills.
Health Improvement Officer for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Amy Livingstone said: “We’ve made a really positive start to our first Learning Disability Try Club programme and it’s gone even better than we first imagined. The group have come in with great enthusiasm to every single session and they seem to have retained a lot of the tips and information, so they have clearly been going away and practicing these at home which is great.
“It’s been really interesting for us and there has definitely been a lot of learning for us to do too, around how we can make our sessions more inclusive, more accessible and how we can adapt our activities to better support different populations and maximise the success of our programmes.”