On Wednesday 25 January, the Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield hosted the Yorkshire Wheelchair Sports Festival.
The event was organised by WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport and during a full day of activities 36 local disabled people were able to try five different sports.
The event was the charity’s first festival of the year, and the first time they have visited Yorkshire since the pandemic. Supported by local clubs, coaches and organisations the event provided a fantastic and free opportunity for anyone with a physical disability to play sport, make new friends, and most importantly have fun.
In attendance were disabled children from 5 up to adults aged 65, proving that age is no barrier to playing and enjoying wheelchair sport. During the day everyone had the chance to try wheelchair rugby league with the Sheffield Eagles, boccia, golf, wheelchair badminton, and table tennis. Many of these sports they were trying for the first time, discovering and developing their talents to now take forward into their local communities.
One of the participants was Lottie from Sheffield, who said; “I’ve really enjoyed my day with WheelPower and I would definitely recommend these festivals to other disabled people. Playing sport is very important for my mental health and is a great way of meeting new people. The sport I enjoyed the most was badminton, and that’s now something I would really like to take up locally.”
Shana brought her 5 year old daughter Blaire to the festival and she was very excited to try lots of new things. “This was the first time we’ve come to anything like this, and it’s been absolutely amazing from start to finish,” she said.
“She can do everything here, have a go at all these sports and do it independently without asking me to come and help her. I was actually crying earlier as I’ve never seen her move this much before, and its lovely to see. Seeing other children in wheelchairs has brought out the confidence and she’s just rolled with it and got involved.”
Emily Weller, Head of Sport at WheelPower, commentedL “It has been a brilliant day all round and we are so grateful to our hosts the Sheffield City Trust, and to all the local clubs, coaches and volunteers who have all contributed to the success of this life changing day.
“To be able to bring our festival to local people is so important and by coming along today we hope it has given our participants the confidence to continue their sporting journey within their own communities. WheelPower continues to support disabled people to be more active at every level, and we look forward to returning to Yorkshire again in the future.”
For more information about WheelPower and how they transform lives through movement, activity and sport please visit www.wheelpower.org.uk