Elliott Baker (11) is a member of SportsAble Junior, the charity’s sports section designed specifically for children under 18 with physical and sensorial disabilities. Since joining the club in 2018, Elliott has found a passion for swimming and archery. With the support of his family, he regularly travels 30 minutes from home in Watlington to Maidenhead, to attend the weekly sports sessions.
It was Elliott’s dad, Peter, who was first told about SportsAble through a colleague. After months of searching for suitable sports clubs, the family were delighted to hear about the specialist multi-sports offering. Even though SportsAble is 25 miles away from the family home, Elliott’s family could not find any local clubs offering a variety of exclusive disability sporting opportunities locally.
Before joining SportsAble, Elliott had enjoyed playing at a local wheelchair football club. Unfortunately, the Club had to close due to lack of funding. Elliott also really enjoys skiing and the whole family travel to Hemel Hempstead’s snow zone. Unfortunately, the high cost of this is prohibitive and means it is not possible to attend regularly.
At school, Elliott’s teachers are very supportive but understandably, a lack of disability sports experience and funding means that his sporting opportunities are limited. Games such as Rugby and Dodgeball cannot accommodate a wheelchair and often Elliott has to watch from the side lines.
Since discovering SportsAble the family have embraced the Club multi-sports offering and have enjoyed a family game of Wheelchair Basketball where Dad, sister Ella (15) and Elliott all played together.
“SportsAble is such a positive experience for Elliott,” explains his mum Caroline. “As soon as we walked through the door, we felt welcomed. Experienced coaches deliver the sports sessions, and it is really inspiring for Elliott to see other people with disabilities, of all ages, enjoying sports. At SportsAble Elliott doesn’t feel the odd one out and that is a nurturing environment for him.
“At school, Elliott can now join in with his other friends when they chat at lunch and break times about what they are achieving outside of school. Elliot loves telling his friends about how well he is doing in swimming and archery, it really has given him a boost of confidence.”
In addition to specialist coaches that can deliver tailored sports sessions, SportsAble understands all the barriers that disabled people face when it comes to participating in sport. In addition to the sports sessions being accessible, inclusive and suitable, there is a cost implication. According to the Disabled Living Foundation, the annual cost of bringing up a disabled child is three times greater than bringing up a non-disabled child, and the average income of families with disabled children is 23.5% below the UK mean income.
Through fundraising and grant applications, SportsAble works hard to keep its membership fees to just £75 per annum, which is equivalent to £6.25 per month. This compares to the average health club which can cost on average around £45 per month, making it unaffordable for some disabled people.
If you would like to help SportsAble by donating your time, talents or fundraising, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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