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People profile: Lyndsey Barrett, Sport For Confidence

Founder, Sport for Confidence

Published in Sports Management 2018 issue 2
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Barrett’s Sport for Confidence charity uses sport as a treatment tool
Barrett’s Sport for Confidence charity uses sport as a treatment tool

Why did you start Sport for Confidence?
As a senior occupational therapist with the NHS for 19 years, I was no longer willing to accept that traditional delivery methods – such as those employed by the NHS – are always the most effective way to achieve positive client outcomes on a large scale. So I decided to set up a social enterprise that places leisure activities at the heart of client interventions and uses sport and physical activity as an assessment and treatment tool.

Tell us more about the organisation
Sport for Confidence is open to all and is attracting individuals with a range of disabilities including learning disabilities, mental health issues, Asperger’s syndrome, autism, Down’s syndrome and dementia.

Typically, most individuals introduced to Sport for Confidence are inactive and would never have entered a leisure or sports facility without this pathway.

Our ambition is to place an occupational therapist in every leisure centre in the UK to deliver programmes and to create positive, life changing outcomes on a national scale.

Sport and physical activity has so much to offer everybody, and a cross-sector, whole-system approach is needed if we are to deliver the wide-reaching positive outcomes achieved by regular participation.

Does Sport for Confidence partner with other organisations?
We’ve nurtured excellent working relationships with providers including Everyone Active, Fusion Lifestyle, GLL and Essex County Council. Each has integrated our programme into their offering.

We also offer education to venue staff, sharing our specialist knowledge to enable effective interactions with our attendees, who typically have a range of specialist communication needs.

We collaborate with a number of community groups, to ensure every individual in the community receives the support and help they need.

Does the programme change lives?
Across venues, we deliver more than 800 interventions every month, offering physical activities including boccia, new age kurling, swimming and trampolining.

Each of the sessions is attended and run by an occupational therapist and a sports coach, who work together to meet the needs of every individual.

In addition to the many physical and mental health benefits associated with physical activity, Sport for Confidence participants have recorded additional outcomes, such as independence in daily tasks, awareness of health issues, teamwork, self-expression, enhanced decision-making and self-confidence.

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