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A Level Playing Field

6th November 2013 by OnSide


OnSide has been awarded £1,173,451 from the Big Lottery Fund and £154,000 from the St James’s Place Foundation to help kick start a new project which will help young people with significant disabilities get involved in regular sport alongside their able bodied peers.

The project, a partnership between OnSide Youth Zones and Seashell Trust, aims to support over 1,200 disabled young people aged 8-25 yr olds and provide highly specialist training to over 180 volunteers at our youth zones in Wigan, Bolton, Carlisle, Oldham, Manchester and Wigan.

Seashell Trust, a charity specialising in the needs of children and young people with the most complex communication difficulties, will help deliver training for volunteers and youth zone staff based on its award-winning Children’s Able and Disabled Sport (CADS) programme.

Mark Geraghty, Chief Executive of Seashell Trust, said: “We are delighted to be partnering OnSide Youth Zones in the delivery of this inspiring project.  We know the social and health benefit associated with regular activity for young people with more complex needs.  The fact that this will give many hundreds more disabled young people such opportunities is very exciting.”

One of the key focuses for this project is to get disabled young people involved in activities such as football, badminton, basketball, climbing, dancing and creative activities.  We hope that the young people will find encouragement, inspiration and positive drive through the support that our youth zones offer. The parents and carers of the young people will also be able to meet other families and build new friendships.

Nat Sloane, Chairman of Big Lottery Fund England, said: “This project is set to make an enormous impact in terms of raising motivation, confidence and sporting and personal ambitions among young disabled people, who will be encouraged to be the best they can be. By creating an even playing field for activities across a range of abilities, OnSide Youth Zones will show how sport is for everyone to enjoy.”

“With the huge success of the 2012 Paralympics still a recent memory, it is vital that projects such as this are supported to encourage talent, motivation and participation in sport.”

Our hope is that this wonderful new program will brighten the futures of many young people and provide them with  the independence and key life skills they need.