Sporting body recommended in NHS strategy for occupational therapy approach
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Sporting body recommended in NHS strategy for occupational therapy approach

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A sporting body that marries physical activity and occupational therapy for people with learning disabilities has been recognised by a new strategy launched by NHS England.

Sport For Confidence was cited in NHS England’s Allied Health Professionals Into Action strategy for its work engaging 500 participants per month in Essex.

The body offers activities such as trampolining, boccia, cricket, fencing, multi sports and new age curling at seven leisure centres across the county, alongside physiotherapists, community teams and community learning disability teams.

According to founder Lyndsey Barrett, Sport For Confidence’s method of preventative care “can save the NHS up to £765 per individual”, while a programme involving 1,500 participants can make the health service a cost saving of £1m (US$1.3m, €1.2m).

“Our ambition is to place occupational therapy in every leisure centre in the country,” she said. “Allied health professionals have so much to offer when it comes to tackling community care issues.”

Sport For Confidence delivers its programme through partnerships with Everyone Active, Fusion Lifestyle and Essex County Council.

All sessions are paid for by individuals, and the programme is backed by £100,000 (US$125,398, €117,284) in grant funding from Public Health Essex.

The body was co-founded by Parkour UK chair and Switch the Play director Stephen Mitchell.

The NHS strategy – launched by the Chief Allied Health Professions office for England, Suzanne Rastrick – sets out how occupational therapists, dieticians, orthoptists, paramedics and physiotherapists can be “at the forefront” of innovative changes to patient care and help to “shape future health policy”.

Steve Ward, executive director at ukactive, said Sport For Confidence was a “fantastic example” of how leisure operators, specialist enterprises, the health sector and local authorities can work together to “achieve central and local government physical activity and health objectives”.

“Preventative care needs to be at the forefront of our NHS strategy,” he added.

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A sporting body that marries physical activity and occupational therapy for people with learning disabilities has been recognised by a new strategy launched by NHS England.
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