This past Saturday while storm Dennis was devastating the UK, there was another storm tearing up the UWE centre for sport. However, this storm was not a result of changes in the atmosphere; instead, it was the clashing of metal frames from the teams battling it out in a game of wheelchair rugby.
This game was one part of an inclusive sporting festival which gave young disabled people not only the chance to trial wheelchair rugby but wheelchair basketball, boccia, sensory games and many other multi-sport games. Two Bristol charities, Motivation and Bristol Bears Community Foundation, came together to champion this inclusive sports event to highlight the lives of disabled children globally and locally.
I got a chance to speak to Ed, a wheelchair rugby player of 8 years and a player for the west country hawks about the importance of this event and events like this. He said, “It’s really important to help people be motivated” and that for people suffering from injury’s “it can give them a new lease of life”. Talking on the struggle of identity for people suffering from injury’s he said: “it’s good for these guys to find purpose and if sport can help them do that, then that’s great”.
Bristol Bears Community Foundation is the clubs award-winning charity that boasts a broad range of 16 programmes across the southwest focusing of four key areas: Education, participation, health and inclusion. The registered charity works with over 8000 people from the local community each year. Through the power of sport, Bristol Bears Community Foundation aims to inspire every young and older person it works with, helping them to unlock their potential.
Kris Tavender, at Bristol Bears Community Foundation, said: “Our work with the local community in and around Bristol gives young disabled people the chance to discover accessible sport. This inclusive festival is open to anyone who might want to have a taster of sports, play and games.
Motivation is an international development charity and social enterprise. As well as designing their own special range of wheelchairs, Motivation provides training and practical support to ensure that disabled people in developing countries can develop confidence and skills to use their wheelchair and participate in all aspects of life. They also support disabled people, their families and communities to fight stigma and understand their rights.
The festival the took place at the UWE Centre for Sport will mirror a project by Motivation in Uganda later this year.
I spoke to Anna from the Bedminster based charity to find out more on the Uganda project going on later this year. She said “91% of disabled children in Uganda don’t go to school and that’s simply because of discrimination and stigma and if they do go to school most of them drop out” and she went on to say “education is the heart of everything, if you don’t go, it can mean, you don’t have confidence and you don’t have independence so your future is so much tougher”. She said they want to solve these issues “through the power of sport, we are going to try to build their confidence and also do inclusion training with teachers and also train mentors to teach disabled people about their rights”. She ended by saying “we hope to build a more inclusive atmosphere where the children will stay in school.”
The motivation staff were excited to announce there all-star appeal, which will run until 3 March 2020 – during this time all public donations to motivation will be doubled by the UK government.
For more info or to donate to either of these charities go to:
Bristol Bears Community Foundation