A series of free taster sessions are being held throughout September to raise the profile of the county’s new Special Olympics network.
The scheme, which covers the whole of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, provides a pathway for people with learning disabilities to take part in a range of activities – and potentially play in regional or national competitions.
Jessica Lightwood, from the Inclusively Fit project at county sports partnership Energize, is co-ordinating the programme in conjunction with a committee of local volunteers.
She said: “Throughout the whole of September, there will be a wide range of free activities on offer, from judo and BMX to netball, gymnastics, and much more.
“It’s a chance to have a bite-sized look at a particular activity, and to give it a go with no charge, and no commitment.
“But if people do discover that they like what they try, they will then be able to get involved in a programme of weekly sessions starting in October, running on most days of the week, including weekends.”
Among the clubs which have already signed up to take part in the programme are Park Wrekin Gymnastics, Telford Netball Club, Shropshire Stag Mixed Ability Rugby, Wrekin Riders BMX Club, Autonomy FC, Wrekin Star Judo Club and Perry RDA.
Elite Dance Studio, Shrewsbury Town in the Community, Telford Sailability Club, and All Ability Swimming are also involved, and there are plans to add roller derby and boccia to the programme later in the year.
The first taster session is with Wrekin Riders BMX club, in Dawley, from 10am to noon on September 1.
The full calendar of activities can be accessed via Facebook at www.facebook.com/telfordshropsspecialolympics, or through the Energize website http://www.energizestw.org.uk/so
Jessica said: “The Special Olympics network has been set up to help people be more active, as well as giving them the chance to meet new friends and become more involved in their community.
“There is a gap at the moment for many across the county who have a learning or intellectual disability and don’t get the opportunity to experience the joy of competitions and meet new people through their chosen activity.
“We can draw down funding from Special Olympics GB to set up new activities, and upskill coaches and volunteers to grow the number of opportunities over the coming months.”
For more information, contact Jessica Lightwood on 01743 297191, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.