British Wheelchair Basketball has joined forces with four leading organisations in a bid to double participation in the sport through its new Inspire a Generation programme.
The programme, announced on January 28 and supported by £1.5million ($2.1million/€1.7million) of funding from Sport England, has been designed to support disabled participants - many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic - find or return to physical activity.
Leading charities StreetGames, WheelPower, Whizz-Kidz and UK Coaching will be central to the recruitment of community activators for the new scheme and the delivery of Inspire a Generation wheelchair basketball taster sessions in communities across England.
The governing body for the sport in the United Kingdom is continuing to seek local and national delivery partners to support the successful development of its Inspire a Generation initiative.
"It’s a really exciting time for us as a sport and I’m delighted to be joining forces with StreetGames, WheelPower, Whizz-Kidz and UK Coaching," said Lisa Pearce, British Wheelchair Basketball’s chief executive.
"Utilising their experience and expertise will allow us to collectively deliver a fun and engaging introduction to wheelchair basketball.
"We’ve developed a brand-new approach for the sport at a local community level, and I am excited for the programme to get underway in the summer.
"We are really keen to collaborate with new sporting and community partners through this initiative and encourage them to reach out to find out how we can work together.
"Never has there been a more important time to actively look after the physical health of our nation, working as a team with national and local delivery partners I am absolutely certain that we can successfully achieve this ambition."
Hannah Crane, director of people and partnerships at StreetGames, added: "The Inspire a Generation programme is a hugely exciting opportunity which will give young people the chance to play wheelchair basketball in their local communities.
"We are excited to work with British Wheelchair Basketball to recruit community activators and deliver accessible and positive experiences for young people to find and return to physical activity."
We are delighted to be working with @BritWheelBBall and our fellow partners @StreetGames @WhizzKidz @_UKCoaching on the delivery of the Inspire a Generation programme. Exciting times ahead 🏀— WheelPower (@wheelpower) February 18, 2021
Get involved 👉https://t.co/yRq7ma36Ud
🏀#InspireAGeneration #BWB #WheelchairSport pic.twitter.com/YyrDycWQGb
Martin McElhatton, chief executive at WheelPower, said the organisation was "delighted to be working with British Wheelchair Basketball on the delivery of the Inspire a Generation programme".
"It’s been a very challenging year for disabled people but we know that playing sport can enrich lives and we look forward to supporting this exciting programme and linking it to our work with newly paralysed men and women and young disabled people," added McElhatton.
Jo Fashan, associate director for young people’s services at Whizz-Kidz, echoed those thoughts.
"Our aim is to ensure young disabled people have the opportunity to live fun, enjoyable lives and there are so many benefits to being active, both physically and mentally," said Fashan,
"We look forward to rolling out the Inspire a Generation sessions within communities."
UK Coaching was the other partner announced.
Its director of coaching, Emma Atkins, said: "Coaches play a positive role in bringing people and communities together through sport and physical activity.
"As the nation rebuilds, they will be crucial in ensuring their participants are able to return to activity and feel confident in doing so."
To find out more about the Inspire a Generation programme, or to become a partner, click here.