Belgravia Foundation – Everybody’s Welcome

Being able to enjoy and benefit from participation in physical activity and exercise is a part of life most of us take for granted. The Belgravia Foundation works to help those in need connect to locally available leisure, sport, aquatics and fitness opportunities. 

 But, not everybody has found it easy, or in many cases possible at all, to be involved in physical activity or exercise through locally available programs, services or facilities.

Disappointingly, over the past 50 years national surveys have shown that in Australia and New Zealand it is the same groups of people who most often are among those who are missing out on leisure, sport, aquatics and fitness opportunities.

These groups include people with a disability, those of culturally and linguistically diverse groups, people from indigenous groups, and the elderly.  More recent research has shown that other groups are also missing out, including people living with mental illness and the LBGTIQ+ community.

 Research has repeatedly shown staff are a key enabler, or barrier, to access and inclusion in leisure by people from groups missing out on  leisure, sport, aquatics and fitness opportunities. Yet little is known about leisure centre staff beliefs, and knowledge, understanding or confidence (i.e. attitude) to welcome and support these groups to programs, services and facilities offered by leisure centres.

 Belgravia Foundation, collaborating with Monash University, is developing Everybody’s Welcome, an online staff training program designed to support improved attitude toward inclusion in leisure, sport, aquatics and fitness by underrepresented groups.  

Underpinning the program is evidence about staff views related to these groups, with initial information gathered through interviews with Belgravia Leisure staff, and enhanced through survey responses from over 300 Belgravia Leisure staff, revealing new information about the readiness of staff to welcome and support underrepresented groups to programs, services and facilities offered by leisure centres. 

 

Roy Fleming