WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, welcomed the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, to their ‘Feel Inspired Junior Sports Camp’ on Thursday 6 February 2020 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
The Minister watched 60 disabled children enjoy a fantastic, fun and family friendly day of sport and activity.
Children attending were aged 12 - 18 years old and learnt new skills and met new friends, which will have a direct impact by improving their self-confidence, positivity and developing self-reliance.
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson said: “With this year’s Paralympic Games fast approaching, it’s been a pleasure to meet the young people and apprentices benefiting from this inclusive and innovative programme at the birthplace of the Paralympic movement in the UK.
“It is through programmes like this, which are inspiring the next generation of Paralympians, that young disabled people can pursue their dreams without barriers. This aspiration will be at the heart of our national strategy for disabled people and will build on vital work that is already under way.”
Disabled children are much less likely to be active than their non-disabled peers and our aim is to bridge the gap between mainstream school PE lessons and the availability of accessible sporting activities for those who do not necessarily have these opportunities in the wider community.
There will be a wide variety of sports on offer including archery, boccia, cricket, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.
“We are delighted that the Minister for Disabled People was our honoured guest at our Junior Sports Camp. He met the young people participating, had a tour of the Stadium - the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement - and tried out some of the sports on offer for himself,” said- Rob Wilson , Chair of Trustees of WheelPower. “We also briefed him on our future plans for the Stadium.”
The Camps are designed to maximise enjoyment and achievement, with participants encouraged to try new sports at their own pace. We encourage the young disabled people to find a fun and inspirational way of staying healthy and getting fit in a safe and welcoming environment, which significantly boosts mental health and social interaction too.
WheelPower’s Sports Development Officer, Emily Weller comments: “At WheelPower we are passionate about sport and helping people to take part in sport and physical activity. Camps such as these provide a fantastic platform for children physically, socially and mentally to come together and enjoy themselves through sport.”
Both camps are free of charge and all activities are adapted to suit different abilities.
Jessica Green, one of the previous participants of the Camps, said, “It’s given me an amazing experience, I’ve met so many inspirational people, I feel healthier and happier and the Camps have given me a more positive outlook on what I could achieve in life as a disabled person.”