Vi-Ability provides inclusive sport and educational opportunities for all.
As part of increasing our social value in the community we have teamed up with local clubs and day centres to deliver inclusive sport and recreational activities for those with special educational needs. The local clubs we are currently working with to deliver these activities are Conwy Borough FC, Haverfordwest County AFC and Solva FC as part of Conwy Council and Pembrokeshire’s Care in the Community programmes respectively.
Whilst the programme is in its early stages in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, it has been running in Conwy, North Wales for over a year. The aim is to offer sports related programmes that assist individuals with special needs the opportunity to learn new skills and grow as individuals through means that they have never experienced before.
The group engages in sports sessions such as walking football, kickball, basketball, rugby, Boccia and they will be trying tennis and volleyball in the summer. The programme is bringing sports based activities to the participants that they have never engaged in before and they are learning skills such as: passing the ball, ball skills, shooting, catching, communication, the meaning of team work, understanding and as well as being good listeners.
In addition to sports sessions, the group are also doing completing elements of our BTEC award, which has been constructed so it is tailored to the individuals' needs. The group are learning new skills such as writing, making poster presentations, engaging in group activities, and learning how football clubs operate with the ultimate aim to support individuals to gain an understanding of community engagement activities. This involves them planning and organising their own volunteer-led tournament as part of their community engagement activity.
An opportunity also arose for those over the age of 50 to play the game they love without having to worry about physical fitness or keeping up with a younger opposition. It is an opportunity to socialise, play football and keep fit and healthy while other health benefits area also achieved. Walking football is good for both physical and mental health as well as providing opportunities for people to make new friends and for those that never tried to play the sport in their younger days to now engage in it.
We anticipate seeing an increased number of people engaging in the activity, which will allow us to potentially play against the likes of Swansea City, Merthyr, Cardiff city and possibly further afield. This opportunity is open to both men and women over the age of 50.
Jo Price, Senior education officer on how the programme helps these individuals:
“It's a fantastic opportunity to get people active in the community, not only those that have had the chance to play sport in their younger days, but also an opportunity for people to interact with others they've never met as well as providing them a chance to dust those boots that were once hung up and get back in to playing the magical game that is football... at a slower, more controlled pace. The smiles on people's faces when they're out on the field really does bring joy my heart seeing them enjoying themselves and being active."
Participant Barbara says:
"Vi-Ability have been fantastic, it gets me outdoors and learning new things. I only got to play hockey in school which was a long time ago, it's a great sport (walking football) - I love it"
If you are interested in joining our programme please contact Jo Price on 0771 842 6095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more.