As some of you may know, one of our key requests for the John Orwell Sports Centre refurbishment was the provision of step free pitch access and space in the covered spectator seating for wheelchairs.
There is a reason for this. Inclusive sport is in our DNA here at Wapping and we are committed to removing all barriers to our sport.
Many of the barriers that people with disabilities face are not as a consequence of their disabilities, but as a consequence of the way society is structured. Put simply, a lack of forethought to how someone with disabilities might interact with your set up can create barriers that don't need to exist. This could be a ramp to the pitch, it could be coaches being sufficiently deaf aware to face the players that need it, it could be any number of things. If you find this topic interesting, you can read more about social disability here.
Adapting our offering to suit is really no different in principle to the increasingly tailored offering our players without disabilities have come to expect.
We already have a number of players with disabilities in Wapping HC, but the intent behind the Wapping Flyerz is really to create a focus for our coaches to develop skills, and a safe environment for people to get their hockey where they won't always immediately be ready for the main club. These Flyerz coaches will then be able to offer our other coaches with inclusion advice as needed and we hope over the longer term to create a centre of excellence for inclusive sport.
For a few reasons, although we haven't age restricted the Flyerz, we have set Wapping Flyerz up as a section of Wapping Kidds HC rather than as Wapping HC:
1. some of the equipment needs for people with reduced muscle strength and children overlap;
2. some of the participants may class as vulnerable adults and using the existing structure of Wapping Kidds HC adds efficiencies around DBS clearance and so on; and
3. initially we propose using the same time slot as for Kidds for ease of admin and cost.
As a result, you will find Wapping Flyerz with a similar set up to Wapping Kidds HC:
Where: John Orwell Sports Centre
When: Saturday mornings 10-11.30 (9.45 am registration)
Cost: £2 per session (first 2 sessions free for each participant)
Please register your interest by emailing Lara Finbow at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @WappingFlyerz
If you interested in assisting as a volunteer, please contact Lara Finbow at the address above.
Providing inclusive sport means putting words into action, and I could not be more grateful to the many people who have been involved in helping set this up. Some of you may know that hockey was the first sport the doctors and injured servicemen played at Stoke Mandeville, and I am simply delighted to see Wapping embrace the gifts of the Olympic Legacy to deliver a meaningful Paralympic Legacy.
Thank you all
Updated 11:42 - 19 Feb 2016 by Stuart Burnside
Wapping HC Chair