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Everyone's getting out and getting active in Manchester

Participants taking part in GOGA activitiesThrough GOGA we support disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities. This week, we came to Wigan to find out about Riley, who has been taking part in the GOGA Adventure Play and Climbing at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre.

Riley has limited verbal communication and likes having lots of space around him. He can become anxious trying new things and gets easily frustrated when unable to complete a task.

Riley’s family were interested in him attending rebound therapy sessions, but due to social/behavioural issues they were unsure whether he would take part. The GOGA programme provided an opportunity for Riley to attend with his sister, which provided both him and his family with the reassurance they needed.

At the sessions, staff set time aside for Riley and his family to explore the area and equipment before others arrived. This helped Riley feel comfortable, he was vocal and moved around the entire area taking part in games with staff and family members. However, once other participants started to arrive Riley quickly moved to a small area and built a ‘den’ using soft play equipment. He remained there for the majority of the session and was clearly anxious about others coming close to him. Staff spoke to Riley about his concerns and tried to re-engage him into activity.

The following week Riley again made his ‘den’ but slowly throughout the session removed pieces of equipment to create an opening and allowed another participant to interact with him in fairly close proximity. Week by week the time Riley spent on his own decreased.

Riley has now been attending the session for 6 weeks and happily interacts with others, including new participants. He has even started to initiate games of ’tig’.

Riley’s confidence has improved greatly whilst attending the GOGA sessions. He has built relationships with participants and staff, and has engaged in activities with more independence. 

Usually he won’t do anything unless I’m next to him, it’s been great to watch him engage with somebody else and enjoy the activities.

Riley's parents

Riley has also started to attend GOGA Climbing sessions at Howe Bridge, this has developed his perseverance when attempting to climb walls. His mum commented that before he would give up and become very frustrated if he couldn’t do something, but during the climbing session he kept focused until he reached his goal.

We look forward to continuing to work with Riley and his family to further develop his social and communication skills as well as increase his activity levels.

For more information about GOGA and activity sessions please visit the Get Involved page on our website.