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Get Out Get Active legacy lives on in Northern Ireland

Group of older people taking part in socially distanced Tai ChiSince 2016, the Get Out Get Active (GOGA) programme has supported disabled and non-disabled people in Northern Ireland to get active together. Now, after the programme officially came to an end in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon areas in 2020, its legacy and important work lives on, thanks to new funding from local partners.

GOGA in Action logoThe newly named GOGA in Action programme is continuing to run many of the original GOGA Northern Ireland activity sessions. All sessions are focused on supporting the region’s least active disabled and non-disabled people to move more through fun and inclusive activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important being active is for both our physical and mental health. So, staff working on the GOGA in Action programme were determined not to let a national lockdown and local restrictions call time on their activities. They adapted many of the face-to-face activities for online delivery via Zoom and set up a weekly call service to support people at risk of becoming socially isolated.

The weekly call service helped the team to build closer relationships with participants and develop a more personal offer to keep them active during lockdown. They created a series of short exercise videos for people who are not able to access Zoom classes. As well as paper-based exercise resource cards for people who do not have access to the internet.

During last summer, GOGA in Action found new and creative ways to keep people active while following local restrictions and social distancing guidelines. In August 2020, the recreation officers began delivering outdoor activity sessions for a limited number of participants. They soon found they had to deliver extra sessions due to popularity. Many participants found taking part a welcome distraction and enabled them to connect and socialise in a fun and safe environment.   

As a retired person with medical problems I have found that attending the local classes has been such a help for, not just my physical health, but also my mental wellbeing. I look forward to meeting up with the others in the class and always feel great after having done our exercises. When the COVID-19 restrictions came in I was worried that the classes might end but the organisers have gone to great lengths to ensure that we can continue by making adjustments such as moving outdoors and following the safety guidelines and we have been able to continue, confident that it is safe to do so.

GOGA in Action participant

This story is part of our ongoing series showcasing how GOGA locations are finding new ways to reach some of our most inactive audiences across the UK.

About Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Charitable Trust.