Last Friday the disability section of Waltham Forest Hockey Club, Forest Flyerz, ran a drop-in hockey session at Disability Sports Coach’s (DSC) amazing Summer Festival 2016. Grassroots initiatives like this really give everyone a chance to be active and try new sports – which is what our #TryYourKitOn and be active this summer campaign is all about.
I have a particular interest in the DSC as in my spare time I run Forest Flyerz. DSC provides sporting opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the UK. It provides coaching, training, events, and community clubs to mainstream schools, special schools, clubs, charities and other professional organisations and the Summer Festival is so inspiring as it gives so many people a chance to have a go at sport.
Festival every year and this time around 300 young people came along to a leisure centre in West London to try out over 16 different activities ranging from tennis, cricket and football to fencing, dancing and martial arts. Some were already engaged with DSC groups but others just saw an email or flyer and came along.
For me, the day encapsulated many of the current priorities for sport and recreation, such as giving everyone the opportunity to be active as well as the vital role of quality coaches in ensuring these opportunities as immersive as possible so that participants want to continue playing after the event. It also demonstrated the importance of accessible local facilities as this leisure centre had indoor and outdoor space that people could move around and access freely.
In addition, there was a strong sense of social value with people coming together within a community, some giving their time to volunteer for free. The volunteer who helped me had come straight off a night shift and spent the whole day enthusiastically giving others the chance to try hockey for the first time. There were also Paralympians, such as swimmer Kate Grey, who had come along to join in and be role models.
To find out more about the Disability Sports Coach Summer Festival, click here or to learn more about #TryYourKitOn visit our website.
The campaign hopes to get people active this summer by people sharing their experiences and enjoyment of sport and recreation. You can take part by letting us know what you are up and by sharing your photos of you being active or trying a new sport by tweeting and using #TryYourKitOn hashtag.