Young People from across the OnSide network came together for a day of Paralympic-themed fun and games as part of the second annual Inter Youth Zone CADS event.
They took part in a wide range of activities from table cricket to wheelchair dancing and from football to drumming. Most importantly though, there were smiles etched across the faces of all those who took part as they picked up their well-deserved medals during the closing ceremony.
CADS (Children’s Able and Disabled Sport) is run as part of the A Level Playing Field project – a partnership between OnSide, our Youth Zones and the Seashell Trust to support more than 1,200 disabled young people, aged between eight and 25. A Level Playing Field has been made possible through the generous financial support of £1,173,451 from the Big Lottery Fund and £154,000 from the St James’s Place Foundation.
The project was originally inspired from the London 2012 Paralympics games, to capture the spirit of the games and include and integrate disabled young people into the offer locally. It was apt that four years later, after the Paralympic games in Rio, the network came together at Blackburn Youth Zone for a day of inclusive sport and to showcase that #everyyoungpersoncan.
The young people were split into different teams and were given Paralympic nations to represent. The range of activities undertaken also included art and a special form of indoor sailing. There was even a special visit from Team GB Paralympic silver medalist Tom Hamer who took part in a question and answer session.
The day was led by Blackburn Youth Zone with A Level Playing Field project co-ordinator Stephen Pearson, who was delighted with the enthusiasm shown by the young people, which led to the event being a huge success.
He said: “The spirit, determination and energy displayed by the young people blew me away from the outset with young people mixing with other young people from different Youth Zones to take part in 6 activities across the day. It works because we remove the competition, adapt the games to suit abilities and limit the size of the groups with the right mix of support.
“Young People made the day, making friends for life and trying out new sports on the day with their peers. The spirit and achievement of young people with Youth Zone teams coming together for a day like this inspires the network in creating ‘A Level Playing Fields’ for all.”
A Level Playing Field was launched back in January 2014 to address issues of limited facilities or services close to home for families with disabled children. The Seashell Trust is a charity specialising in the needs of children and young people with the most complex communication difficulties and their award-winning Children’s Able and Disabled Sport (CADS) event gave young people with a disability their time in the spotlight and highlighted the fact that ALL young people can!