Activity Alliance commissioned the temporary services of Mark Knight and Jessica Skinner to cover the Regional Engagement Advisor role for the West Midlands 3 days a week over a 10 month period. Mark was responsible for engaging with partners across the region to encourage and promote inclusive practice. Having being embedded in this role previously, Jessica offered support and guidance particularly on wider strategic aims and was responsible as the key contact for organisations within Oxfordshire. Both were also involved in the development of West Midlands Combined Authority Include Me project which became a fundamental driver for improvement of sport and non-sport organisations across the region.
The role was split between both Mark and Jessica to maximise our staff in terms of experience and resources. Due to Jessica's previous embedded role with Activity Alliance this allowed her to act as a mentor to Mark and provide continuity and familiarity to the client. Mark also had previous experience at the coalface of inclusive delivery.
Mark and Jessica were required to advise disability leads within Active Partnerships and other organisations on how they can support disabled people to get active and promote inclusive practice to ensure disabled people are active for life. This involved using Activity Alliance's insight, as well as promoting training to enhance awareness of inclusive activity and communications. They were also required to organise and lead both regional and county forums, bringing organisations from both sporting and non-sporting sectors together to encourage partnership and collaborative working.
As part of this work Mark & Jessica supported Mark Fosbrook with the co-ordination and delivery of the Include Me West Midlands campaign, launched in May 2019 by the West Midlands Combined Authority. This involved encouraging both sports & non-sport organisations to pledge their support to the campaign, facilitating a change plan to highlight areas where inclusivity could be improved within the organisation, and supporting them with the tools, knowledge and training to implement change within the organisation. Mark & Jessica contributed to strategic & operational discussions regarding key elements of the campaign and were also required to take an active role in the progress of the campaign by contributing to the formation of a training & support package for organisations that had pledged support.
Key relationships with partners were strengthened and a number of relationships with new organisations created which contributed to over 50 organisations pledging their support to the Include Me campaign and starting their improvement journey. A Regional Disability Forum was successfully delivered which was attended by representatives from 14 organisations across the region and a county disability forum was delivered throughout the 10 months in Coventry & Warwickshire. Three LEAD workshops were successfully delivered in Oxfordshire to two local authorities and the Active Partnership providing the organisations with the opportunity to self-evaluate how inclusive they were and produce a subsequent action plan of improvements.