SportsAble, a registered charity delivering a range of sports to people with a disability, has secured a generous grant from the Santander Foundation to deliver wheelchair basketball sessions to amputee outpatients from Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, managed by the Frimley Health Foundation Trust.
Earlier this year, a successful pilot scheme was forced to come to an abrupt end due to changes to the environment where the sessions were delivered at Wexham Park Hospital, leaving the group without a suitable venue. Now, thanks to Santander, the project can continue for a full 12 months.
Nicola Bobyk, Senior Occupational Therapist at Wexham Park Hospital, says: “It was a real shame that the sessions could not continue because the activity was having a hugely positive effect on the patients involved. We found that the wheelchair basketball sessions really lifted the mood of those involved and helped instil a sense of achievement and self-fulfilment, emotions many may not have experienced since their amputation.
“Thanks to the funds made available by The Santander Foundation, SportsAble can now finance transport, coaching and specialist equipment to enable our current and past patients to be guests of SportsAble and visit their facility in Maidenhead. Here they will receive specialist sports coaching from the SportsAble Sports Development Team and will have a chance to interact with other SportsAble members, creating a social as well as a physical experience. ”
SportsAble has been serving the community for more than 40 years, providing a wide range of sports to individuals with physical and sensorial disabilities, drawing in members from across the Thames Valley. The charity runs its facility as a club, promoting a supportive and inclusive community where individuals with a disability and their families can visit, enjoy a variety of physical activities, socialise and feel completely at ease.
Speaking about the partnership, Kerl Haslam, CEO at SportsAble says: “Delivering the sessions at Wexham Park as part of the pilot worked well, but I think the positive effects we will see now that patients will visit us at our club in Maidenhead will be even greater. Taking patients out of a clinical environment and giving them an opportunity to socialise, have some fun and generally enjoy themselves in a safe, non-judgemental, supportive community environment promotes a sense of wellbeing and hope for the future.
“I will personally be involved in the delivery of these sessions and I am excited to see what this project can achieve in terms of social, physical, mental, economic and community outcomes. This is a prime example of how a small grant can make it possible to join together health care and physical activity providers to deliver the Government’s Sporting Futures Strategy.
“We hope to get much closer to Sport England over the coming months to explore other ways we can help to deliver central Government’s objectives for a healthier nation at a local level. Individuals with a disability deserve the same sporting opportunities as those enjoyed by people without a disability, yet this community group is largely disengaged. Through projects like this one with the Frimley Health Foundation Trust we are able to reach a much wider segment of the community and get more people, more active, more often.