For over forty years, the North Kesteven Disability Sports Club has delivered multi-sports activities to Lincolnshire people, delivering a variety of taster sessions in different sports. Their biggest passion and primary activity has become wheelchair basketball with them working in partnership with Nottinghamshire Club ‘Jaguars’. Inclusive to all, no one is turned away from the sport, and it has often been a great way for family and friends to understand how their loved ones may feel being in a wheelchair.
Ian Brown, Chairman of the North Kesteven Disability Sports Club sums up the passion the club have for the sport and the inclusivity they often promote:
“Wheelchair basketball is a sport that all ages, abilities, disabilities, and non-disabled can play at the same time. Some weeks I was the only one out of 10 or so who had a disability. I have done a lot of sports and activities, and nothing comes close – once you play your hooked.”
Following the Pandemic, the club saw a reduction in their participant numbers. Determined to re-engage people in the county, they used a grant from Sport England’s Together Fund to complete an outreach programme to promote the sport and re-introduce it to people. Their goal was to engage 35 participants to participate in a monthly session held at Market Rasen Leisure Centre on Friday evenings. At the sessions they would learn basic chair skills, basketball drills followed by competitive scrummages and even be given their own kit to wear.
Working with the Leisure Centre, Active Lincolnshire, respective clubs, social prescribers, and the carers’ network, they promoted the sessions far and wide across the county, with Market Rasen being a central point for people meeting up.
Throughout the six sessions provided by the funding, they had 29 participants attend, and now that the sessions are continuing, they have engaged a further three with the hope that more will get involved over time.
Angus Drew, Chair and Coach of NKDSC told us, “The desired outcome of this project was engagement in the wider community to enable more accessible activity for those living with a disability or long-term health condition. We delivered sessions of wheelchair basketball over a six-month period in Market Rasen and thanks to the funding, were able to offer bespoke playing kit to each participant, running sessions with qualified grade two wheelchair basketball coaches and providing sports wheelchairs; we were able to make a difference and reach people living in more northern areas of Lincolnshire. Participants and their families were helped to feel included, welcomed and able to take part in an activity which would not usually be available to them. This not only gives people physical activity, but a mental health boost through engagement with others who may be in a similar situation. There has been a great social emphasis in this project, and all participants have felt comfortable in the environment that has been created. We have even managed to (potentially) recruit some new players into the ‘Inspire A Generation’ (IAG) league which is run by the wheelchair basketball national governing body.”
Each participant, after attending a couple of the sessions receives their official kit that they can play in which gives them a real sense of being a part of a team. Friendship groups have been formed within the group, and participants have reported feeling less isolated thanks to the bonds they have built.
Simon West, one of the participants, told us,
“These sessions have given me not only an extra opportunity to take part in a great activity, but also enabled me to meet new people. The facilities are welcoming, clean and ideal for playing wheelchair basketball and the club have provided really nice playing kit which comprises of a reversible playing vest and a t-shirt too. Sessions have been delivered by some really good coaches and I have learnt some new skills. For someone living with a permanent disability, this activity gives not only a physical boost, but a mental one too. I would recommend this to anyone looking at wanting to get back into a sport or activity, or looking to start something new.’’
Would you like to give it a go? The sessions are continuing in Market Rasen with their monthly sessions on the last Friday of the month 7.30-9pm at Market Rasen Leisure Centre. North Kesteven Disability Sports Club also meet on Monday evenings for Wheelchair Basketball on Monday evenings 6-8pm at OneNK, in North Hykeham.
There is a limited supply of sports wheelchairs, and we recommend contacting Angus Drew prior to attendance: firstname.lastname@example.org