MORE disabled people across Flintshire are set to become physically active and play sport thanks to a new partnership.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Disability Sport Wales have joined forces in a move which sees health and sport professionals work closely together to double the number of disabled people who are physically active in North Wales by the end of 2016.
It is also hoped five performance level athletes will be found, potentially going on to represent Wales at future sporting events.
The project is the first of its kind in Wales and is funded through a Sport Wales Calls4Action grant.
It is hoped that through educating health workers about physical activity opportunities, the project will see disabled people in the area being able to lead an improved and healthier lifestyle, reaping the benefits of becoming more active.
Health care professionals at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are receiving training to enable them to signpost their patients so they can get the right support to get active.
Catherine Chin, health disability sport officer for the health board, said: “More than 250 clinicians have already attended the sessions.
“There are a wide range of physical activity and sport opportunities for disabled people across North Wales already – whether an individual has a physical, intellectual, or sensory impairment, there is something for everybody.
“Through Disability Sport Wales’ insport project the number of inclusive opportunities are continuing to grow”.
The project will help disabled people to become more active, like nine-year-old Ana Blease, who recently represented Wales under-15s in wheelchair basketball.
Ana said: “We have just come back from Stoke Mandeville where the team were placed sixth – the best Wales under-15s have ever done, and because I am only nine I could be playing in the junior championship for the next 10 years. It’s really fun and I’ve made loads of new friends.
“I’m proud of what I have achieved. It’s great to learn new things while having loads of fun with my friends.”
Aled Sion Davies, Paralympian and World Record Holder, Team Wales’ Commonwealth Games 2014 Captain and silver medallist, is also in support of the partnership.
He said: “It’s great to see Disability Sport Wales working in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to promote physical activity and sport to patients with impairments, or those who have newly acquired disabilities.
“By up-skilling their workforce this will ensure that any patient within the health board will be identified and given appropriate information in relation to getting active again.
“In my younger childhood days there was no such information available and only by luck did I find out about opportunities to take part in sport.
“I urge everyone to get behind this campaign and hopefully they will not only get every disabled person hooked on sport for life, they might find a few Paralympians as well.”
To find out more about the partnership visit www.wales.nhs.uk/ dsw or to find a club near you visit www.disabilitysportwales.com