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A Spirited Conversation With... Get Out, Get Active's Kat Southwell

A Spirited Conversation With... Get Out, Get Active's Kat Southwell

Spirit of 2012 funds Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) - a £4.5 million initiative, which brings together 18 localities in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and numerous national partners.

The first programme of its kind on such a scale, GOGA will support disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Developed to get some of the UK's least active people moving more, GOGA will concentrate on fun and inclusive activities delivered over three years.

The programmes we fund wouldn't work without some fantastic people behind them. To find out more about Get Out, Get active, we caught up with Kat Southwell, who is the Programme Manager for GOGA. She explained how things are progressing so far, what her hopes are for the programme and how to involve the pub in your active routine…

Kat, thanks for talking to us. Can you explain what your role is and what GOGA involves?

"I’m Kat Southwell and as of the start of September 2016, I’m the Get Out Get Active programme manager. GOGA is one of Spirit of 2012’s largest investments to date, supporting disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Together with our local and national partners we are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities."

Spirit has invested £4.5 million into Get Out, Get Active but why is it so important that people get out and get active? 

"We know that more disabled people would like to take part in activity with non-disabled people and we are very aware of the importance of being physically active to our physical and mental wellbeing. Traditionally we’ve been great at supporting those that are sporty to do more and providing specific opportunities for disabled people. But are we really reaching inactive individuals and those that would arguably benefit most from being more active together? We need to do things differently to reach new audiences and to make physical activity and sport more appealing to all! Through GOGA we hope to achieve this. Through GOGA, we want to get more people moving more through truly inclusive opportunities! "

It’s a UK-wide initiative. Where is GOGA actually happening?

"Over 30,000 activities will be delivered in 18 areas across the UK to over 16,000 participants during the course of the three year programme." (The locations are listed below.) 

England: Bradford, Greater Manchester, Rochale, Wigan, Thanet, Lincolnshire, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent
Northern Ireland: Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon and Derry City and Strabane
Scotland: Fife, Grampians and Forth Valley
Wales: Pembrokeshire, Rhondds Cyon Taf, Wrexham 

That’s a lot of locations to launch a programme in! Must be a busy time. How have the local launches gone so far? 

"GOGA officially launched on the 1st of October 2016.  It’s been fantastic to be involved in a number of local launches which have seen great interest from lots of different organisations, local decision makers and individuals from local communities. It’s really highlighted that, whilst all areas are brought together by a common vision and set of principles, each project is very different. That makes us very excited about the potential to learn and share ideas across the network and to external partners. Since the official launch over 800 participants have already been involved in GOGA activities across the UK!"

What are your own hopes for the Get Out, Get Active programme?

"Apart from reaching our specific programme targets, we want GOGA to support participants engaged in the programme to remain ‘active for life’, and also enable our partners to provide a sustainable mainstream inclusive offer and share our findings with others to inform future practice and investment in physical activity participation."  

Finally, we keep intending to get out and get active but rarely get further than the local pub. What advice can you give us? 

"Lots of people think being active means playing sport or doing strenuous exercise in a sports hall or gym, but there are small changes that we could make in everyday life to help us and others move more and become more active. Next time you’re heading to the local pub, take the long route and get the landlord to put on some tunes and dance like no one’s watching! "

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