Inclusive Sports

Last week on Thursday, it was great to be a part of an inclusive sports steering group. Helping individuals with disabilities to get involved in sports and physical activity is important to me. Being part of the conversation to increase the number of opportunities for people means a lot!

There were around 15 people involved in the steering group where we discussed ways in which we as a group can interact with different sports clubs within Leicestershire to increase the amount of attendees with a range of disabilities. As a person with a disability, I feel like by sharing my experiences of recent success I have had joining a sports club, I can bring quite a few ideas to the table to increase the confidence especially of those with a disability.

At first when I joined the football team, sometimes the communication wasn’t clear enough about all the information regarding the sessions- and there were times I turned up only for no session to go ahead. It was therefore important that I quickly intervened and had a discussion with the people who run the social media pages for the club so that they would make clear, concise communication to get consistently high attendance.

Nobody should be isolated! People should always feel like they can join in with different opportunities- whether it is football or a different sport that takes their interest. As a child, I would always join lunchtime football games with my peers at school - but inclusion wasn’t in mind at this point. I never really had much of an opportunity to express myself on the football pitch. This is why I’m now delighted to be part of the club I joined back in April called Ashby United Community Football Club. I am also delighted to say that I have been invited to play in a football game for Ashby United Community Football Club vs Leicester Wildcats on December 4th. I’m very much looking forward to this and can’t thank the leader of the community kickabout sessions for showing the confidence in me to play in this event.

There are numerous other sports clubs throughout Leicestershire besides Ashby United Community Football Club who are working towards inclusion status. Some of the sports I used to play as a child included tennis, basketball and rugby and I would love to work alongside the people I had the pleasure of connecting with on November 4th to encourage the clubs to find ways to further diversify their attendance. This alone isn’t the only thing that’s important. The clubs should also be looking to innovate each day in terms of changing the content of the sessions to make it more accessible for people who live with a disability.

Ultimately, I would love to see more than anything, more success stories similar to mine where people in the community who live with a disability and are passionate about sport can get involved. And this could also be in a decision-making role within a sports club as well! Having more people with disabilities involved in sport is imperative to increasing the overall health of the nation and I’m over the moon that I am a part of that conversation moving forward with many other passionate individuals!

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