State of Gloucestershire: Leisure
Our State of Gloucestershire Research
In 2021, Barnwood’s Insights team carried out a research project called the State of Gloucestershire. Over 260 disabled people and people with mental health conditions living in Gloucestershire responded to a survey. The survey asked about their experiences of accessing a range of opportunities and the quality and accessibility of their housing.
We have produced a series of booklets, each on a specific topic, which include the survey findings and relevant findings from research conducted by others. The booklets also include recommendations for organisations and providers which have been drawn from the findings.
Our survey findings indicate that disabled people and people with mental health conditions living in Gloucestershire face a range of barriers to accessing leisure opportunities. Only one in four of the survey respondents told us that they can do the type of leisure activities they would like to do. The most frequently reported barriers to accessing leisure opportunities were:
- ‘My health (e.g. my disability means I need a lot of rest)’
- ‘I don’t feel confident enough’
- And ‘It’s difficult for me to travel to places’.
The respondents also told us what would help them to take part in leisure. More than half of the respondents (51%) said that the option to work flexibly was one of the three enablers they would find most helpful. Inclusive employment practices, being able to easily find information about what activities are available and having lots of choice of what they could do were also identified as key enablers.
Our findings reflect the social model of disability. Although respondents reported experiencing barriers to leisure activites, we also heard that if conditions within society were changed these barriers could begin to be addressed.
Based on our survey findings and our review of research conducted by others, we recommend the following actions to make leisure activities more accessible to disabled people and people with mental health conditions:
- Engagement: Proactively and directly engage with disabled people and people with mental health conditions to understand how to improve access to leisure activities. Co-production and co-design can help ensure that information produced about these opportunities is fully accessible.
- Accessible information: Provide clear and accessible information about leisure opportunities in a range of formats and via multiple channels, along with the option for in person contact. Accessible information provision should consider all the useful information that might be provided to enable real choice.
- Choice: Take proactive steps to ensure real choice is available and accessible to disabled people and people with mental health conditions about leisure activities. Choice is more than just a greater range of options, it’s about making sure that what’s currently on offer is accessible to everyone.
We have produced the Leisure booklet in a range of different accessible formats. We will be doing the same for all of the booklets as part of the State of Gloucestershire reports.