The funding comes at an important time for the department, who are working hard to secure opportunities for all sporting activities for when the current restrictions on sporting activities are lifted.
Birmingham is England's second city, but it doesn't have a wheelchair rugby club; the nearest clubs are in Gloucester, Leicester, Northampton and Coventry. Through our initial research and conversations we are aware that dozens of people across the city would love the chance to try out the sport and get involved in a club, and we want to make this opportunity available to them. With the support of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR), we ran successful taster sessions for adults each Sunday in February. We also launched schools sessions in Birmingham in the beginning of March to introduce the sport to the younger generation.
Our project is much needed to ensure that Birmingham (and especially it's disabled residents with a physical impairment) have a wheelchair rugby club and regular activities to attend. We have received fantastic support from Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) who are eager for us to bring sustainable Wheelchair Rugby provision to the City. We are also grateful for the Support of the University College Birmingham (UCB), who have been collaborating with us on facilities and ideas for long term involvement in the project. We are delighted with the funding from Sport England and it allows us to plan for the future.
Paul Arnold, Regional Development Officer at Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, commented, "It is a crazy situation that in the country's second biggest city that we don't have a club to allow disabled people to play Wheelchair Rugby. The Bournville RFC Community team have been really supportive in developing a Wheelchair Rugby opportunity in Birmingham and this funding from Sport England will really help make this sustainable. We are really looking forward to having a regular training session taking place in the city and more disabled people being able to access this exciting sport".
Our project will support a regular wheelchair rugby club throughout one year. We are initially aimimg to help 30 people to take up a regular sporting habit and become much more physically active. This opportunity is for those aged 12 years over and with a physical impairment, although anybody interested in taking part is encouraged to find out if the opportunity could be for them.
By giving players access to high quality coaching, we will encourage players to keep coming back time after time, thus improving health, fitness, and developing a resilient sporting habit.
Matt Price, whose organisation Community Group manage Bournville RFC's community operations, commented, "This is great news for Bournville Rugby Community and the club as a whole, especially in these challenging times. We all need positive news and this grant from Sport England is exactly that. Thank you Sport England!".
Also commenting on the successful bid, Managing Director of Avery Fields Sports and Events, Phil Maynard, said “It’s a great opportunity for us to grow another dimension to our community provision. Forging links with other activities and providers gives us the chance to add value in areas of need”.
There is no project start date at present. There will be further updates when there is authorisation from the government regarding sporting activities resuming in England. You can, however, register your interest in supporting/participating in the project by emailing email@example.com - we would love to hear from you!
If you are a business or an individual who would like to sponsor or volunteer on this project, all enquiries are very welcome.