Occupational Therapist, Liz Fletcher, has been appointed Education Lead at Sport for Confidence CIC. Liz’s role involves her working as part of a strategic team, who are tackling physical inactivity through encouraging the widespread professional integration of physical activity into occupational therapy education and practice.
For the last 20 years Liz has worked within the NHS, first as a healthcare assistant and then from 2006 as an occupational therapist, working across many settings including forensic, in-patient, crisis and home-treatment, as well as community short term and recovery services. During this time, Liz has been exposed to many examples of how physical activity, incorporated into the occupational therapy process, has driven behaviour change and positively impacted occupational outcomes.
“The physical and mental health benefits of physical activity are now widely accepted but I am especially interested in its wider reaching impact” says Liz. “Embedding physical activity in the occupational therapy process is not currently standard practice despite growing evidence of its relevance and ability to act as a catalyst for positive change.”
“Many individuals referred to occupational therapy are inactive due to a multitude of complex issues. Research conducted by the Activity Alliance, evidences individuals with a mental or physical impairment are half as likely to meet the chief medical officers physical activity recommendations as the rest of the population.
“As trained allied health professionals, we are able to identify complexities and, through applying occupational therapy practice, break down barriers to participation. Involvement in regular person-centred, physical activity can positively impact many areas of Occupational Therapy assessment including communication, self-care, confidence, interaction with others, completion of daily tasks and problem solving.”
Over the last four years, Sport for Confidence CIC, led by Senior Occupational Therapist Lyndsey Barrett, has been focused on placing occupational therapists alongside sports coaches in mainstream leisure settings to promote positive occupational outcomes. The organisation has grown from supporting one client to delivering more than 2,500 interventions a month across 12 venues in Essex and London.
The appointment of Liz Fletcher has been made possible by a Sport England funding, made available to help the organisation amplify its influence and positively impact the lives of many more people.
Speaking of the appointment, Lyndsey Barrett, says: “Every day I see the benefits physical activity delivers, right across our growing client base. There is an undisputable link between physical activity and health. Occupational Therapists provide the professional bridge that links the two. Bringing Liz on board will enable us to work more closely with the occupational therapy community, sharing our learnings and supporting a move to make physical activity an integral component of occupational therapy practice.”
Over the next few months, Liz will be focused on engagement with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Universities offering pre-registration occupational therapy education, working with staff and students to explore opportunities to include physical activity application in professional development.
Liz says: “Occupational therapists all over the country are proving an ability to innovate and adapt in order to address the ever changing needs of the population. Organisations like Sport For Confidence are evidencing a much wider opportunity for our profession to apply skills and expertise beyond the confines of a clinical environment, embedding our profession in communities and raising the visibility and impact we offer to society. I am very much looking forward to joining the organisation on its journey and excited by what we might be able to achieve over the next couple of years.”
Please make contact!
Any occupational therapy student or practitioner keen to find out more about Sport For Confidence and hear about the OT and physical activity ambassador role, can either visit www.sportforconfidence.com or contact Liz directly at, firstname.lastname@example.org