Level Playing Field
SportSpace will be coming soon, with the aim of encouraging disabled people to take part in sport and providing activities that are accessible and enjoyable to all. Abygail Fossett investigates …
There is an attitude at Gainsborough Sports Centre that sport should be available and accessible for everyone to enjoy, regardless of your age, your gender, and especially if you are able-bodied or living with a disability. With this welcoming attitude, SportStart will be coming to Gainsborough Sports Centre on Friday 2nd August – all for free, and ready for summer!
SportStart is an initiative designed to support and encourage people with disabilities to get active (something which many of us know we should be doing!) The initiative is particularly aimed at those with Cerebral Palsy. According to Jennifer Basford, a national sports development officer at CP Sport, “Our vision is to support people with cerebral palsy to reach their life potential through sport and active recreation.” Currently, studies conducted by Sport England Active Lines show that 11-14-year-olds who live with a disability are more likely to be inactive than those who do not. This disparity becomes far wider among adults, with Active Lines suggesting that a lack of confidence coupled together with a lack of opportunities can account for this, something which SportStart aims to rectify.
“It is important that our facilities and activities are seen as accessible to everyone” Andrew Wilesmith
The Borough Council, Cerebral Palsy Sport and Suffolk Community Healthcare have worked tirelessly to bring SportStart to Gainsborough Sports Centre, based at Brazier’s Road in Ipswich, where they strive to provide a friendly and welcoming environment for all users. Andrew Wilesmith, the sports operations manager at Ipswich Borough Council, says: “We have worked closely with CP Sport to ensure our fitness instructors and coaches have gone through the CP Sport training, so they are able to offer more inclusive activities. Bringing the event to Ipswich means we can continue to support more people with disabilities to be active. It is important that our facilities and activities are seen as accessible to everyone.” So far, karate, wheelchair football, Go-Active football, inclusive rugby, table tennis, Boccia (a ball game related to boules and petanque), strength and conditioning and the Go Active services have all been confirmed to take place.
SportSpace will be running at Gainsborough Sports Centre from 11am to 3pm on Friday 2nd August. With such a wide variety of activities planned and different needs to be catered for, there will surely be a sport which even the most gym-phobic among us can enjoy. From paralympians in-the-making to those who just want to have fun, everybody is welcome.
* Are you a disability sports provider and keen to get involved? Contact Jennifer Basford at: firstname.lastname@example.org