David Morphew who works at the Aspire Leisure Centre as Fitness Instructor and Duty Manager, spoke about his own experiences since he sustained a spinal cord injury in 2006, following which he lost his specialist flooring business. Whilst visiting Aspire for an out-patient appointment David found out about Aspire's InstructAbility Programme, which enabled disabled people to gain fitness instructor qualifications and gain experience to enhance their employment prospects within the industry. The Programme delivered in partnership with YMCAFit and funded by Sport England, is embraced my many leisure operators as a welcomed mechanism to engage more disabled customers.

David Morphew, Dean Tearle, Penny Mordaunt and Brian Carlin

David said, “I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for the InstructAbility Programme. After my accident I’d lost everything. I had no job and I had to survive on benefits from the state. I was depressed because of my situation. This has been a lifeline. I’m just so grateful.”

Minister for Disabled People, Work, and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said: “It was fantastic to see first-hand the great work that Aspire is doing and speak with people like David, who are a testament to the vital role sport can play in helping people move into employment.

Ensuring disabled people can access the same opportunities as everyone else is a priority for me and initiatives like InstructAbility show the power of sport to build equality and unlock potential.”

Brian Carlin, CEO of Aspire, says, “Over 300 disabled people have completed the InstructAbility Programme and the difference they are making in the Leisure Industry is remarkable. They are changing not just the attitudes of employers but also fellow employees and customers, by reaching out to disabled people in society and encouraging them to access fitness facilities and become more active and healthy. This is the start of a revolution to ensure equality of service provision as well as service use.

Penny Mordaunt then tried out wheelchair rugby with members of the GBWR wheelchair rugby team and patients from the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at Stanmore.