SportsAble- The Berkshire charity changing lives for more than 40 years

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SportsAble is hosting a disability swimming gala on 20th October at St Andrew’s School, Pangbourne, and is inviting young swimmers throughout the region to enter

About

Using sport and physical activity to deliver a diverse range of life-changing outcomes, SportsAble has been changing lives for more than 40 years. The sports development and coaching team delivers 332 interventions and an average of 112 unique visits every month.

130 registered volunteers deliver, an average of 333 hours of support each month across a number of roles including coaching, fundraising, administration and event support. Without this input, SportsAble could not function.

SportsAble promotes community cohesion through its partnerships with other local charities, community groups and local businesses. Every month the MS Society, Berkshire Vision, Headway, Parkinson’s Society Berkshire, Young People with Dementia, Berkshire Alzheimer take advantage of the inclusive facilities.

For us, changing lives through sport is not just a mantra, it is truly what we do, day in, day out and I witness this on a personal level every day”. Kerl Haslam, CEO.

Inclusive Swim Gala for Southern Region

For the first time in 30 years SportsAble has been able to secure pool time and host a gala for competitors outside of its own swimming section. This opportunity was made possible following a successful partnership with St Andrew’s School that saw SportsAble advise designers on the creation of a fully-accessible swimming pool, as part of the school’s £4 million multi-sport centre, which opened earlier this year.

Sharon Bridge, SportsAble Swimming Coach said, “We were delighted when St Andrew’s approached us regarding their new swimming pool. It provides us with an excellent venue for swimming and is available on Saturday daytime, which is impossible to get anywhere else. This time suits families and young children, so we are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide them with this opportunity. We even have a race for siblings to take part in too, so it’s a fully inclusive gala.”

Working alongside the SportsAble team is Dave White, former Para Swimming co-ordinator for Swim England. Dave has extensive experience in para swimming, from talent spotting to organising galas.

Dave explains, “It is so important to be able to provide young disabled swimmers, who are not competitive, with an opportunity to compete. There is a lot of support for children who are on the competition circuit, but very little opportunity for those children who aren’t. I am delighted that I can work with SportsAble and St Andrew’s to host this Gala.”

The SportsAble Gala is primarily aimed at children over the age of six, with a physical, visual or intellectual impairment, from anywhere in the south of England.  Swimmers can use any flotation devices they need, and they are also allowed a volunteer in the water for encouragement.

Young swimmers can choose to compete in all, or any, of the four swimming strokes over 25 metres. There is also a race for able-bodied siblings to enter. Medals will be awarded for the first three places and commemorative certificates for all participating swimmers.

Sharon concludes, “The SportsAble Swimming Team is extremely proud to be able to offer this event in our region and hope that it is the first one of many. We would also like to extend our thanks to St Andrews school for sharing their great facility. “

To register a swimmer for the event, please email Dave White at swimprojects@virginmedia.com.

For more information about SportsAble visit www.sportsable.co.uk or call 01628 627690.

If you have a case study which highlights how you've positively engaged with your local area, please get in touch with aburgess@sportandrecreation.org.uk.