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Developing Calderdale’s disability sports offer

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Posted 6th October 2021

A wide-ranging programme of sporting activities for young people and adults with disabilities has now returned to Calderdale sports centres, with further funding agreed to develop the programme over the next three years.

Calderdale Council, working in partnership with local providers, parent-led charities and voluntary sports clubs, offers a variety of disability specific and adapted mainstream sport and leisure programmes for children, young people and adults in the borough.

The service is funded by the Council, with funding now agreed until at least 2024, allowing the programme to continually develop.

Along with other Council services, the disability sports programme has had to overcome additional challenges over the last 18 months. Due to COVID regulations, the service was temporarily restricted, however, contact with service users was maintained, with over 100 local families benefitting from alternative provision. This included:

  • Home distribution of ‘sporty goody bags’ appropriate for home and garden- based activities
  • Virtual class delivery
  • A four-week summer scheme in coordination with Ravenscliffe High School
  • Adapted cycling and sports at Spring Hall
  • Outdoor family sports sessions

Although the outdoor and virtual sessions were popular and feedback positive, thankfully it’s now been possible to restart activities in sports centres, pools and other community settings, with a variety of options for all abilities from age 6 to 25.

Current options include the popular Sportzone sessions at North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax, which offer a wide range of disability specific and adapted mainstream sport and leisure activities. The weekly programme is split into two 90-minute sessions accommodating children and young people with varying abilities.

North Bridge also holds fortnightly Flamingo Chicks inclusive dance sessions, delivered by a fully qualified dance instructor and supported by Sports Services staff. The dance sessions provide an environment where children and young people can enjoy themselves, learn, grow and have fun.

There are also swimming lessons options available at Calderdale pools, as well as cycling at Spring Hall and other sports options at Todmorden Sports Centre. Extra sessions run during summer holidays and there are also exciting options at other local providers, including ROKT climbing in Brighouse and football at Shaw Mills 3gi pitches in Halifax.

Find more information about all the sessions on offer, accessibility options and booking details.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said: “I’m so proud of our varied disability sports programme which offers opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of activity with specially adapted sessions and equipment.

“I’m sure the recent success of our local athletes at the Tokyo Paralympics will have inspired others. Our friendly and supportive sports service team is happy to advise those interested in taking up a sport about how our sessions can work for them.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said: “We know how important the disability sports programme is for young people and we’re committed to seeing it develop.

“The programme is funded by the Children and young people’s service as part of the Calderdale Short Breaks programme, which supports disabled children and young people and their families. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to continue to support the delivery and expansion of a wide range of disability specific and inclusive mainstream activity programmes.”

For further information please contact Debbie Greenwood, Disability Sports Development Officer: debbie.greenwood@calderdale.gov.uk

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