Mind The Gap

There has been a lot of talk in the press and general media recently about the importance of an active nation and you may have read the recent report on Stockton-on Tees, a town with England’s biggest gap in healthy and unhealthy life expectancy, according to Public Health England. Whilst this is an alarming truth, and there is a great deal of emphasis on the gap between the rich and poor people in England, we should not lose sight of the fact that there is a lot to be said for life choices. If you choose to smoke, drink and not exercise, then there is a consequence to that decision and it may well lead to heart problems, diabetes and emphysema, to name but a few.

If, on the other hand, you are one of the one in five people in the UK with a disability, then ongoing health problems are less likely to be down to your life choices and more likely due to a lack of choices.  Disabled people are very aware that there is limited access to affordable, accessible and appropriate facilities and that is a major barrier to them leading an Active Life.

This year is the 70th Anniversary of the Paralympic Games, so the importance of disabled people being given the chance to get active and enjoy all the major benefits of doing so, is further highlighted, as are the needs of ensuring they have appropriate, accessible and affordable facilities to do so.

SportsAble is a multi-disability, multi-sport centre which offers its members a vital lifeline for living an active life. Its wide range of activities enables them to enjoy all the physical, mental and emotional benefits of being physically active. Through huge fundraising efforts, we can offer our members access to all the sports sessions for just £6.25 per month, that’s £75 annually.

Although we are fundamentally a grass roots sports club, inevitably some of our members have discovered an inner sporting talent and gone on to enjoy incredible success. We have had Paralympic representation at every Games since the charity was formed in 1975. We even have some athletes currently training for Tokyo 2020 which we are hugely proud of. Some of these athletes wouldn’t have even tried sport if SportsAble had not been able to give them accessible, appropriate and affordable options.

We also operate several outreach programmes such as our new amputee wheelchair basketball sessions which we run in partnership with Wexham Park Hospital. These sessions are designed to introduce newly disabled people into a healthier lifestyle, showing them that an active life is still possible after a major life-changing operation.

In the future we aim to reach more polarised groups of individuals, such as those with obesity issues and even an ambitious programme targeted at people newly diagnosed with cancer. Such groups of people are not currently engaging with inclusive facilities due to many other factors, however, they should not be left out of the Active Nation mandate. Most of our outreach programmes cost around £15-£20 per person which includes use of our equipment, transport and our trained staff – all in all we offer a great value proposition.

SportsAble also runs after school clubs and this year we have partnered with CATS Y.P.P (Children on the AuTistic Spectrum (CATS) Young Persons Project), which is run by two amazing ladies, Debbie Slater and Kath White, to deliver quality Sport during the summer holidays. Both ladies are absolutely delighted that SportsAble has such accessible and appropriate facilities for their young people.

With more volunteers and more financial help we could do so much more.

If you think you could help us help more please get in contact.