DISABILTY sport in Swindon as been given a boost with the introduction of new wheelchair basketball sessions, to be run by Swindon Council for the local community. Swindon Council’s Leisure Services Team will be running wheelchair basketball sessions at Dorcan Recreational Complex, which they hope, if proved popular, will lead to a new Swindon wheelchair basketball club.
The sessions started on Sunday, February 6, with more sessions planned for the upcoming weekends. They have been made possible thanks to external funding from the government-led programme, Aiming High, which has enabled the council to buy new equipment, including 10 new sports wheelchairs, basketballs and tripod hoops.
The first sessions will be free, however after there will be a £2 weekly charge for the first three months.
Wheelchair basketball is played using mainly the same rules and equipment as regular basketball and is suitable for people with a wide range of disabilities. Wheelchair basketball can also be played by able-bodied people who just want to try out a new activity and meet some new friends.
Wheelchair basketball is the most popular wheelchair sport in the UK and is recognised as being a excellent method for developing fitness, co-ordination and teamwork whilst offering a opportunity to meet new people. Swindon Council Cabinet member for leisure and corporate service Fionuala Foley said: “Wheelchair basketball is great because it can be played with disabilities or those without and the emphasis is very much on having fun as well as fitness.
“Hopefully the sessions will prove to be really popular because it would be fantastic if a new club could be formed as it would enhance disability sport in the borough.”
I also spoke with Ben Humphrey, ability sport development officer, who plays a major part in the running of these sessions and had this to say: “The turnout to the session of the 6th was brilliant and it exceeded all expectations.
“We had a very good turnout of both disabled and able-bodied people and would love to see more people involved.
“Everyone had such a good time that by the end of it, no one wanted to leave.”
Mr Humphrey said he would like to give a massive thank you to Aiming High and Sports Unlimited for their help in the sessions.
He said: “Funding is a massive aspect for us and we couldn't be more grateful for it.”
Sessions will be run weekly at Dorcan Recreational Complex from 4pm to 5pm by qualified coaches and for further information or to get involved contact Ben Humphrey on 01793 617782 or bhumphrey @swindon.
By James Lentschner, 14, Bradon Forest School