Today is International Day of People with Disabilities and the Guernsey Sports Commission is using the day to help promote and celebrate accessible sport.
‘Inclusion in Sport is one of our eight key workstreams outlined in our Action Plan,’ explained the Commission’s Operations Director Graham Chester.
‘We believe that everyone in Guernsey should have the opportunity and support to participate, compete and fulfil their potential no matter what their background, age or level of ability in a safe and supportive environment.’
The Commission wants to encourage all sports to be more inclusive and help improve access to a wider range of accessible sport.
‘But before we can start helping sports organisations to be more inclusive, we need a shared understanding of what we mean by inclusion and some of the words we use around inclusion,’ said Graham.
To mark International Day of People with Disabilities the Commission has produced a simple leaflet explaining some of the terms used and encouraging sports to think about how they can make inclusion happen.
‘We will be placing copies in schools and giving them to our member sports to help encourage us all to think more carefully about how we can break down any barriers and promote participation.’
‘We also want to promote pathways to performance sport for people with impairments,’ said Casey Osborough, the Commission’s Inclusion Lead.
‘As part of this we are looking at setting up a Boccia Club run by people with impairments for people with impairments.’
Boccia is a target ball sport similar to bowls or petanque that can be played by people with a wide range of disabilities.
‘We are exploring ways of accessing appropriate coaching qualifications for those involved and want to try to take the sport to the highest level of performance we can,’ said Casey.
‘We may have to delay our plans with the Sir John Loveridge Sports Hall out of action for several months, but we are determined to make this happen and are looking for whatever support we can find to make the club a reality.’
Boccia will be one of the sports on offer at a special celebration of accessible sport the Commission is organising in conjunction with Guernsey Mobility Let’s Go on 8th December.
’Boccia is a real community sport but it’s also a Para Sport played at the highest level and is one of only two Paralympic sports, along with goalball, that have no counterpart in the Olympic program,’ said Casey.
‘There’s no reason why Guernsey couldn’t be competing at an international level in Boccia.’
‘We have a huge opportunity to grow para-sport and disability sport in Guernsey both in terms of participation and high performance and we are looking forward to continuing to work with all sports, sponsors and other organisations to make sure we make this happen,’ said Casey.
Anyone interested in attending the celebration of accessible sport should contact Paul Wheatley on firstname.lastname@example.org