A series of YouTube Videos created by Empower You is highlighting the barriers disabled people face within Salford.

The videos include interviews with local disabled people about  five main issues they face when trying to integrate themselves into society and make use of community services.

Ben Andrews, a 26-year-old Salford University graduate, set up Empower You in 2015 after volunteering with people with visual impairments during his studies.

He explained the reasoning behind the “Breaking Barriers” series, saying: “We want to increase the visibility of disabled people so they can access mainstream facilities.”

The most recent video explores the lack of knowledge staff have in delivering facilities for disabled people with 77 per cent of providers of sporting and other community activities admitting they have no experience of delivering activities of disabled people.

The scheme works with disabled people setting up personal training sessions in gyms, walking groups and gardening as well as helping develop employability skills.

Mr Andrews noted how during his time at Empower You, five main barriers disabled people face were brought to his attention. The barriers included inaccessible equipment and venues, transport and cultural issues surrounding how disabled people are perceived, alongside lack of knowledgeable staff.

He said: “There’s a real lack of opportunities for disabled people, they want to do sports but they don’t know where to go for it.”

He carries out all of his exercise sessions in mainstream gyms to help integrate people into society.

He said: “Disabled people spending time in health centres can be quite segregated, I don’t set up segregated groups, I just use normal facilities and adjust things.”

As well as providing sessions for people from disabled groups and schools the scheme aims to support people involved and create a broader network.

Mr Andrews explained: “It’s about supporting the person to increase their confidence so they will attend the activities.”

He explained how funding cuts in social care have also impacted accessibility for diasabled people. He said: “Cut to social care have massively impacted day services ability to provide in-house health promotion activities in the same way that they used to.

“Empower You offers capacity to work innovatively within the social care sector to support agencies to promote a healthy lifestyle for those they support using a more community based approach”

Empower You has been funded by Salford CCG since 2015. More recently they are working with St George’s Day Centre, run by Aspire, and have put forward a proposal for funding to Salford CVS to take over Kersal allotment with the long term aim of St George’s taking on their own allotment.

You can watch all of the Breaking Barriers videos here


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