3rd Mar, 2021

British Wheelchair Basketball launches new programme to double participation

Liam Moakes 28th Jan, 2021

BRITISH Wheelchair Basketball – the governing body for the sport in the UK – has today launched its ground-breaking ‘Inspire a Generation’ programme in a bid to double participation over the next four years.

The new project, driven by British Wheelchair Basketball and supported by £1.5m of funding from Sport England, is a hugely exciting development for the sport, with an ambition to engage an inactive population through inclusive activity and transition participants into longer-term active lifestyles.

The initiative is vital in helping support disabled participants – many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – find or return to physical activity.

Action from the Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships at Worcester. Pictures: Will Johnston/British Wheelchair Basketball.

British Wheelchair Basketball is recruiting Community Activators and Local Community Partners to deliver the Inspire a Generation programme. These individuals will receive the necessary support and virtual training to offer fun and enjoyable opportunities for people to participate in wheelchair basketball.

The six-week Inspire a Generation taster sessions will then begin in the summer (or when it is safe to do so) in communities across the country.

Lisa Pearce, Chief Executive at British Wheelchair Basketball, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be launching the Inspire a Generation programme.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to grow participation and, thanks to substantial investment of £1.525m from the National Lottery and Sport England, the first time in nearly ten years significant funding has been made to support participation growth in wheelchair basketball.

“There are a potential 70,000 new people waiting to play our sport and through Inspire a Generation we have the ability to introduce them to wheelchair basketball and embed sustained active lifestyles, whilst improving confidence and self-esteem.”

Great Britain Women’s wheelchair basketball player, Sophie Carrigill, added: “This is a very exciting moment for wheelchair basketball and a positive move to encourage more people to play the game.

“Wheelchair basketball is an inclusive sport – anyone can play, irrespective of age, gender and ability. The programme is a fantastic introduction to our sport. My life is so much better because I discovered wheelchair basketball and I hope others can experience that through Inspire a Generation.”

British Wheelchair Basketball has worked closely with Sport England to develop the initiative. Mike Diaper OBE, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People and Tackling Inactivity, said: “With thanks to the National Lottery for their continued funding and support, we are immensely proud to be working with British Wheelchair Basketball to support the Inspire a Generation programme.

“In aiming to double participation of those playing wheelchair basketball alongside creating an accessible and inclusive environment to take part in grassroots sport, the Inspire a Generation programme is a significant step forward in helping more people gain the benefits of being active.

“Aligning with Sport England’s new ten-year strategy – Uniting the Movement – which was announced earlier this week, programmes such as Inspire a Generation will be pivotal in tacking inequalities and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to be active. I look forward to seeing the positive impact the programme will have.”

The Inspire a Generation programme will also be supported by a number of national partners, including StreetGames, UK Coaching and Whizz Kidz.

Hannah Crane, Director of People & Partnerships at StreetGames, said: “StreetGames knows that variety of activity and inclusive, fun sessions are key to getting and keeping young people active.

“Working with British Wheelchair Basketball on this project will continue to grow the variety of activity trusted community groups offer and the positive experiences young people have of sport on their doorstep.”

UK Coaching Director of Coaching Emma Atkins added: “We are really excited to be supporting British Wheelchair Basketball to reach out and involve more people as community activators, leaders and coaches across the sport.

“Having been involved in a wheelchair basketball coaching role, I know it is a fantastically inclusive environment to develop yourself as a coach and support a range of disabled and non-disabled people into positive physical activity habits.

“If you have thought about supporting community sport as an activator or coach, why not give this a try and use the lockdown period to learn some new skills and get ready to support people to get active when we can? It’s great fun and you don’t have to be a wheelchair basketballer to get involved as everyone is welcome.”

To find out more about the programme or to become a Community Activator, visit www.inspireageneration.com.

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