Since hosting the 2018 Special Olympics, disability sport is going from strength to strength in Sheffield. Sheffield City Council and partners, SIV and Within Reach have been working hard to promote physical activity for everyone in the city, regardless of physical or mental ability.
Many clubs, groups and centres run sessions specifically for people with disabilities to make sure they have the support they need to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
Representatives from local groups came together at The English Institute of Sport (EIS) to provide free taster sessions for people with disabilities. Activities included wheelchair basketball, cycling, tennis, bowls, golf and more.
The event, which was fully booked, attracted 350 school children and adults, some attending with their parents and carers, who were encouraged to try as many activities as they wished.
Paul Billington, Director of Culture and Environment at SCC, said: “It is proven that sport and exercise is linked to better physical and mental wellbeing, but we know that it’s not always easy to take up a new activity.
“This event was a brilliant opportunity to reach the people who are missing out on being active and enjoying sport and to give them the confidence to have a go, knowing the right support is in place.
“From cycling to walking, tennis to golf or bowls to basketball, there’s a huge amount of inclusive sport going on in Sheffield, so it’s fantastic that so many people came along. I hope they’ve been inspired and will take advantage of the wide variety of activities available across the city.”
Attending the event, Rueben who has autism, said: “I had the best day ever at the EISS, I loved everything and I had never ridden a bike before and it made me feel amazing, I am going to go to happy cycle club at Forge Valley every Friday now”.
The event would not have been such a success without the help of many volunteers.
Andy who helped out on the day said: “I loved volunteering at the Move More Celebrates Inclusive Sport event, it helped me develop my skills and gave me a chance to make a difference in the community. It made me feel happy and it gave me a sense of pride.”
Activity sessions included badminton with Walls Racket, tennis with Places for People, boccia with Irwin Mitchell, table tennis with Shaun Alvey, boccia and curling with Daws Community Gym, adapted cycling with Happy Cycle Club and Tom Cat Bikes, wheelchair basketball with Steelers Wheelchair Basketball Club, netball with Net 4 All, multi-sports with Coach2include, dance with Noodle Pod, football with SUFC and SWFC, boxing and weightlifting with Sheffield Hallam University and bowls with Disability Bowls England.
David Bly, Sports Programme and Engagement Manager for SIV, said: “The day optimised the great partnership work that is happening across Sheffield in disability sport.
“There is a commitment to providing entry opportunities to people with disabilities, both young and old, with this showcasing some of the existing pathways across the city today. These commitments sit well within our objectives, as a Health and Well Being Charity.
“Hosting the event at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield, provides perfect synergy to the elite sports that we host, with four Para sports calling Sheffield their home.”
Regular activities for people with disabilities include cycling in Hillsborough Park using specially adapted bikes, athletics at the EIS, Quicksteps at Hillsborough College, boccia at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park and many more. People can find out about more activities by downloading Within Reach’s disability activity brochure.
A new disability sport brochure will be distributed over the next month, which will include a full list of activities and clubs taking place across Sheffield. More information is also available at Within Reach or Move More Sheffield.
Following the success of the event, further sessions are being planned to allow more people to get involved and promote inclusive sport to all in Sheffield. Details will be shared once available.