Matrix nurtures InstructAbility partnership supporting LeadAbility programme

Matrix Fitness UK and disability fitness training provider InstructAbility, are working together to ensure that inclusion is at the top of the leisure industry agenda, an aspiration supported by the launch of new bursary scheme, LeadAbility.

The partnership began in 2014 when Matrix hosted the wheelchair pull-up challenge at Leisure Industry Week, with the aim of improving awareness of the under-representation of disabled people in fitness.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the relationship has flourished with Matrix and InstructAbility regularly working together towards achieving the same goal of championing inclusive fitness for all.

Hilary Farmiloe, InstructAbility National Project Manager said: “Matrix has helped us to raise awareness of disability in the fitness sector by hosting the wheelchair pull-up challenge for three years running.

“Matrix also recruits InstructAbility programme graduates to work at their events as personal trainers and have sponsored our InstructAbility Awards Dinner for the past two years.”

“We are delighted to partner with such an inspiring brand that is keen to promote inclusion and continue to push the boundaries.”

“Matrix understands the importance of including disabled people in their marketing and they are one of the few companies to have a disabled brand ambassador with Paralympian Joe Townsend giving great support, motivation and visibility to help raise awareness that disabled people work out and work in the gym.”

Among those employed to work as personal trainers at the Matrix International Show was 30-year-old James Sutliff who in 2012 was diagnosed with neurological dysfunction disorder, Dystonia.

Wanting to prove that his goals and dreams were still achievable despite having a disability, he turned his focus to fitness. James said: “I felt so honoured to be asked to be part of the show.

“It’s important for the fitness industry to be inclusive because it’s helped me not just physically, but also mentally to overcome my disability. Being inclusive is a special quality for a company to have, and will receive a lot of respect from others worldwide.”

More recently, Matrix was announced as sponsors of the LeadAbility bursary scheme in conjunction with Aspire/InstructAbility. The scheme provides paid-for places on the ukactive Future Leaders programme, which develops up-and-coming leaders by giving them strategic, commercial and leadership skills.

Matrix Fitness MD, Jon Johnston said: “For a long time, providing inclusive fitness solutions has been of strategic importance to Matrix Fitness UK, as is supporting and encouraging the future leaders of the industry.”

“These bursaries will give disabled people access to a fantastic training programme that will fast-track them to senior positions and hopefully support their long-term career goals and aspirations. ”

“We are delighted to be supporting this scholarship programme that will enable a rewarding training programme to be available for all.”

Ukactive Executive Director, Steven Ward, said: “LeadAbility provides a fantastic opportunity to diversify our workforce by helping disabled people land senior positions in the physical activity sector, based solely on merit.

“We are delighted that Matrix has risen to the challenge to support this. If every organisation in the sector shared a fraction of this commitment, we could transform the diversity of our sector and demonstrate that we truly are forward-thinking.”

Matrix offers a range of fitness equipment accredited by the English Federation of Disability Sport’s Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI).

By working in partnership, Matrix is able to develop equipment that overcomes the barriers to participation and enhances the workout experience for all.

The submission deadline for the LeadAbility programme is looming and applications need to be received by the by the 28th February. Visit ukactivefutureleaders.com to apply.