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Clubs making disability sport a priority

Any sports clubs aiming to offer more inclusive opportunities for disabled people during 2024 need look no further than Bangor Gymnastics Club and Rhiwbina Squash Club for inspiration.

Both are shining examples of clubs who have put a lot of thought into how they can create a place where everyone is welcome to enjoy sport.

Whether it be through offering different formats of their sports, or training their coaches to cater for people’s differing needs, both clubs have made inclusive sport a priority.

Wheelchair squash in Cardiff

Rhiwbina Squash Club in Cardiff first started offering fortnightly racketball sessions more than 10 years ago.

Since then, they have developed wheelchair squash sessions which they host every Thursday evening.

John Cooper was a non-disabled player at the club, who now uses a wheelchair after a serious illness.

Club committee member Richard Plenty says: “In 2019, John came to one of our wheelchair sessions and has been coming ever since. 

“The sessions always end in the bar and we go out on social evenings for a beer and a curry!

“We could not have been on this journey if it wasn't for the coaches, participants, Joanna Coates-McGrath at Sport Cardiff, and our sponsor David Rees, who, when knowing he was going to pass away, left money so our sessions could continue.”

A girl is helped onto the springboard by a coach
A girl hangs from a bar and tucks in her knees

Disability gymnastics in Bangor

Bangor Gymnastics Club are another club who have really embraced the fully inclusive ethos.

They offer a wide range of sessions, six days a week catering for all ages and abilities, ranging from three months through to adulthood.

“We have a committed and passionate team of coaches who work together to ensure inclusive opportunities are available on a weekly basis,” says head coach Sarah Austin.

“Mentoring and training opportunities for our staff and volunteers is also important to us to ensure we continue to run all sessions at the highest standard.”

Sarah’s advice to clubs seeking to become more inclusive is to encourage all coaches to help with disability sessions, rather than relying on one or two to take up the responsibility.

She also believes in the value of creating strong links with schools and community groups through regular updates and posts on social media.

Disability Sport Wales (DSW) know that disabled people may not always want to play sport within a disability sport or impairment specific club or session.

So, thanks to their insport programme, they’re helping sports clubs across Wales (including Rhiwbina Squash Club and Bangor Gymnastics Club) to think about how their activities could incorporate both disabled and non-disabled people, potentially in a range of different formats.

Want to provide opportunities for disabled people at your sports club? Check out DSW's insport club programme to get started. 

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