As a relatively new resident of the wonderful borough of Warrington, Cheshire, I’ve been dismayed at the lack of competitive sporting facilities specifically for disabled members of our society, particularly those with physical disabilities or limb impairment and on low incomes. Participation in sport can be quite expensive. More so for disabled members of society reliant on ever dwindling state benefits, rising living costs and on low a incomes. Sporting lessons, club memberships and necessary equipment are the primary reasons which prevent participation, together with a fear of losing essential benefits such as PIPs, DLA and ESA, make becoming involved in a sporting activity prohibitive. NOT the fact that they are in a wheelchair, missing limbs or in rehabilitation from injury, trauma or life changing events and often suffering from psychological stresses…. It amazes me how anyone in any if these circumstances can even find the will and motivation to consider a sport in the first place.
There are countless examples of recent studies which prove beyond any doubt that inclusion in a sport such as Golf, tennis or team sports such as basketball or walking football, aids recovery times, increases fitness, raises social skills and generally improves health and wellbeing. Benefits also address concerns over mindfulness, loneliness, isolation from society, mental health and depression issues of all individuals who take part. This isn’t a search for the next paralympian or World Champion sporting icon, it’s about including Jo or Joanne Public into their untapped inner strength and allow the freedom of inclusion to a world of positive therapy in sport.My aim is to raise awareness of this problem to the organisations in charge, who seem to have overlooked a very important section of our community and improve the quality and self value of fellow peers who already face challenges and obstacles every day of their lives.
As a Double Amputee, self confessed ‘Lousy’ sportsman, I hope it shows how a positive mental attitude, a willingness to adapt and learn can pay dividends one hundred fold, and how staying fit and healthy can reduce stress, improve health, mindfulness and wellbeing and even lessen future NHS medical intervention. ,
Win – Win allround.