Lottery boost for disability sports
Thousands of pounds of National Lottery funding is set to bring a new and exciting programme of sporting opportunities to young people across West Oxfordshire that have disabilities or behavioural difficulties.
A £70k grant has been awarded to us from Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund in recognition of the Council’s commitment towards making sport more accessible.
The funding allows us to expand and develop a three-year Inclusive Sports programme of events and activities for 14 to 25 year olds.
Already running in West Oxfordshire for young people with disabilities is a weekly multi-sports club at the Windrush Leisure Centre, football sessions at Carterton Artificial Turf Pitch and weekly cycling sessions called ‘Junior Wheels for All’ at Witney Artificial Turf Pitch.
Young people attending the multi-sports club at the Windrush Leisure Centre were delighted with the news of the lottery award.
George Hiley, age 14, has been attending the multi-sports club for several months and, according to his mother Sarah Hiley, absolutely loves it and it is one of his highlights of the week.
She said, “Sport is his passion. He is a member of Witney Wolves, plays cricket, goes horse riding and does lots more. These are wonderful opportunities for him to do something on his own with other young people in a safe environment where he is well supported by trained staff. We’re delighted with the news of the lottery grant as it ticks so many boxes for us. It is marvellous.”
Pictured left to right (top row): Lisa Booth of GLL, George Hiley, Harry Snowdon, James Paul, Jonathan Lee, Liam Dunkley of GLL, Jack Beecher-Rees, Jennifer Bennett from West Oxfordshire DC. Front Row: Thomas Wright, Jacob Woodley, Guy Summerfield.
With additional funding from Sport England a broader range of sports-specific sessions will be offered such as basketball, boxing, cricket and netball. There will also be taster programmes, weekly multi-skills clubs, holiday activities, coach development and volunteering opportunities.
The funding will also further support the Council’s work with local clubs and help them to become more inclusive.
Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member responsible for leisure and communities said, “Improving sports provision for people with disabilities is something very close to my heart and I am proud of the lead work being done by the Council’s leisure officers. The impact of the Paralympics is still very fresh in our minds and I am pleased to see the legacy of these life-changing games continuing with investment from Sport England into a programme of activities at a local level.”
The Council will be working closely with Oxfordshire County Council (Children’s Disability Services), Abingdon and Witney College, the West Oxfordshire Early Intervention hub, Springfield School, Special Educational Needs Coordinators at all secondary schools, families, community sports clubs and its own leisure contractor GLL.
Kay Willis, Disability Services Development Manager at Oxfordshire County Council said,
“We recognise West Oxfordshire District Council as a pro-active council ready to develop new services to support our children and families. We welcome this. We have seen great progress being made in the area led by the Council and know that with greater investment this work can grow and flourish to assist many more young people.”
Mike Diaper, Sport England Director of Community Sport, said: "It’s great to be working with innovative projects, like West Oxfordshire District Council’s Disability Sports programme to offer people the chance to get into sport in a way that best suits them.
“The investment being made through the Community Sport Activation Fund is making a real difference at a very local level.”
West Oxfordshire District Council is among 88 projects to receive a share of £15m of funding to support grassroots sport activity.
The three year programme of work includes
Launch events in Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton
- Taster programmes at schools with young people with behavioural problems
- Weekly multi-skills clubs to engage hesitant participants to build basic skills around speed agility and quickness
- Sports-specific sessions in sports such as basketball, boxing, cricket and netball
- Holiday activities in partnership with community sports clubs
- A roll out of the Inclusion Symbol scheme for clubs
- Coach development including accreditation and learning opportunities for disabled adults
- Volunteering opportunities for disabled and non-disabled adults
- A part-time activator to coordinate activity and act as a central point of contact for participants and their families, coaches, clubs and volunteers.