First of its kind: Inclusive Roadshow comes to Bath!
28/04/2015 - Jade Hansford
On Sunday 19th April we ran our first ever Inclusive Roadshow at the University of Bath – how exciting! The idea of day was for people to come along and try out a range of sports, meet their local coaches and of course find their local inclusive sports club by using our brand new Sports Rush website! On the day we had 6 sports available to try; football, tennis, cricket, rugby, athletics and boccia. The format of the day was simple – just come and have a go!
Football was run by the Inclusive Futures volunteers, tennis by the University of Bath Tennis Club and cricket by Edgar Herridge, who is the Schools and Disability Development Officer at the Somerset Cricket Board. Rugby was led by Bath Rugby Foundation Inclusion Manager Caryl Thomas and Tryactivator Becks Toan, the athletics by Mark Lodge (Invictus Games 2014 Throws Coach!) and boccia by the Leonard Cheshire staff and residents.
The day was a huge success, with both children and adults with a range of disabilities and impairments from the community and region coming along! As well as being able to try sports they may not have tried before and meet local coaches, the day allowed for a real social aspect as parents and carers interacted and others played games throughout the day, creating a really fantastic and positive atmosphere.
We were also lucky enough to have Kate Grey, our local Paralympic superstar swimmer and Inclusive Futures ambassador, attend the event. Having Kate there on the day was fantastic and she encouraged many of the participants to get involved in the activities on offer. She said “The inclusive roadshow at the University of Bath was a great opportunity for people of all ages, disability and impairments to try a variety of sports and activities. Everyone I spoke to seemed motivated and uplifted by the event and were keen to find out more about joining local clubs and staying active. It was amazing to see those taking part just grow in confidence through the power of sport and really didn’t want to leave at the end”
Running the day showed what can be achieved when various partners work together. Becca Higgs, who is the Inclusive Sport Coordinator at the University of Bath and runs the Bath Inclusive Futures programme, said "As the Regional Coordinator for the Inclusive Futures project in Bath I am always looking for ways to enhance and increase inclusive sport for all abilities. Working with the Council and other partners, the Inclusive Roadshow was created to showcase existing inclusive clubs and create opportunities to participate in sport whatever your ability. The event on Sunday was the first time we ran the day and it was great to see the positive response from the community and external clubs involved. Everyone embraced the chance to try new things, which in turn created a really lovely atmosphere on the day. The volunteers and coaches working were really friendly and inviting to the young people, giving them confidence to participate in the various sports on offer. The Inclusive Roadshow showed great promise for opportunities in sport for young people with disabilities in our community and everyone involved should be very proud."
Following the roadshow, we ran an inclusive training workshop led by Matt Donovan. The workshop gave people delivering sport in the local community the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to adapt their sessions to include people with disabilities. The workshop was well attended by people from all over the region, with a variety of sports represented including football, tennis, tai chi, dance and swimming. The participants were able to explore how to make sessions adaptable and open to everybody – with a particular focus on the language used. Matt was fantastic, and the feedback received was very positive allowing participants to go back to their clubs and help make Bath and North East Somerset and surrounding areas more inclusive.
On behalf of the Active Lifestyle Team at Bath and North East Somerset Council a massive thank you must go out to all these people who helped make the day such a success! This includes the clubs, coaches, volunteers, University of Bath, Becca Higgs and Inclusive Futures team, Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council, Access Sport, Bath Inclusive Sports and Physical Activity Association (BISPAA), Asda (for supplying the delicious fruit and water), Kate Grey and of course all the attendees throughout the day!
Finally, due to the success of the day, the Inclusive Roadshow could be coming to a town near you soon – so keep your eyes peeled, and please contact us through the Sports Rush website with any of your suggestions for the future, we would love to hear what you think!