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  • 30 September 2015 00:00
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All Inclusive Wheelchair Rugby

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Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Community Programme, backed by National Lottery funding Sport England, and the Mayor of London, Sport Activation Fund, is using the power of major rugby events to take Wheelchair Rugby into communities across England. With the excitement of the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015 building, more people are recognising that wheelchair rugby is serious contender as a life changing sport.

Over the past six months partnerships between Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) and local community sport groups have opened up wheelchair rugby opportunities for young people by introducing the sport into their activity programmes. The GBWR Community Programme focuses on young people and adults with physical and mental impairments, to bring previously inactive disabled people into sport.

RWC15 Fan Zone hosts Milton Keynes were keen partners. The Pop Up Wheelchair Rugby in the shopping mall Centre MK attracted new participants to start playing the sport regularly.

Mark Street says
‘This has been fantastic, I’ve been looking for a physical sport to get involved in and this hits the spot for me. I’d definitely go to the Stantonbury sessions on Sunday mornings.’

Close liaison with GBWR’s Regional Development Team ensures that the Pop Up participants are hooked into new and established wheelchair rugby clubs. Recently created Brighton Buccaneers have blasted onto the scene through this exciting approach. Since April 2015 they have established a regular training session at Brighton University and have grown from 4 to 9 members in 6 months. 

Diana Man, founder member of the Buccaneer’s says
‘With the help of GBWR and Albion in the Community, Bob and I have created a positive club environment. Being part of the demonstration during the RWC15 Trophy Tour was amazing and helped raise our local profile. We are trying to attract more women into the club. Wheelchair rugby has been life changing for me, it’s such an exciting and social sport I’d really encourage disabled women and girls to give it a go.’’

As the grass roots programme reaches a milestone with the BT Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival on 11th October 2015 at the iconic Copper Box Arena, GBWR can celebrate that the programme has already attracted over 250 young people, over 100 adults, amassed over 1,500 volunteer hours, seen the inception of 1 new wheelchair rugby club and created new partnerships with 10 organisations. 

David Pond GBWR CEO says
"Like our partner Sport England, we want to encourage young disabled people to continue playing sport when they leave school and to give opportunities for those who have never played wheelchair rugby to get in a chair and have fun. With the crucial support from our partners BT over the next three years a sustainable programme of youth development looks secure.

The fact that we have been able to attract 6 youth teams and 4 teams from the Help For Heroes Personnel Recovery Centres ,for the first ever  BT Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival, has been hugely boosted by the British public’s love of major events. The Festival kick starts the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015, to be held in the same 2012 legacy venue, with the top wheelchair rugby nations competing."

Come to the events and see the energy for yourself!

Contact
For further information about GBWRs Community Programme contact Julie Bunnage julie.bunnage@gbwr.org.uk

For further information on the BT Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival, 11th October 2015  go to http://wwrcommunity.org.uk/    The event is FREE. Just turn up!

For further information and tickets for the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge WWRC15 go to

About GB Wheelchair Rugby
GB Wheelchair Rugby is a registered charity (No1130038) and the National Governing Body for Wheelchair Rugby in Great Britain. It receives funding from UK Sport and the Lottery to support its elite programme and team for the Paralympic Games, and from Sport England to assist in providing sporting opportunities for disabled people. It is supported by the Rugby Football Union which provides for its head office at Rugby House, Twickenham. www.gbwr.org.uk

BT and disability sport
BT was the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  BT backed London’s initial bid in 2004, while its support for the British Paralympic Association (BPA) dates back to 1989 when BT became the BPA’s first commercial partner.  BT was the first London 2012 partner to extend its support for the British Paralympic team to 2016. BT became the Official Principal Partner of GB Wheelchair Rugby, as well as the Official Communications Partner in April 2015. 

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