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Bristol Bears builds on inclusion with the help of Activity Alliance

A partnership between Activity Alliance and Premiership Rugby has so far seen five Inclusive Activity Programme (IAP) workshops delivered. One of the organisations that have benefitted from the IAP programme is Bristol Bears Community Foundation. 

Bristol Bears Sensory Rugby Festival

Tim Mathias, Inclusion and Accessibility Manager at Premiership Rugby, arranged the workshops as a training opportunity for coaches and volunteers through their Project Rugby initiative. Several of Bristol Bears Community Foundation coaches took part in the three-hour workshop. The workshop focussed around improving their skills and confidence to adapt activities and exercises for disabled people in the local community.

Bristol Bears Community Foundation put their learning into practice at their first ever Sensory Rugby Festival on Friday 25th October. The festival provided meaningful access to individuals who may have not had the opportunity to take part in the sport before. Sensory Rugby and a variety of ball games were delivered by Bristol Bears Community Foundation coaches to disabled participants from across the city.

Kris Tavender, Spectrum Programme Manager at Bristol Bears Community Foundation, told us how IAP has been beneficial to his coaches:

“The Inclusive Activity Programme has supported our coaches to be more open about how participants are engaged in the Sensory Rugby Festival. The training has given our coaches some really simple tools to use in sessions. It has also challenged them to think about how they support every participant’s progress at a level appropriate to them.
“Overall, the Inclusive Activity Programme is the most inclusive tool I have come across. It really makes you think about your own coaching and how to make it more accessible. The principles from the training aren’t just for mixed ability groups, they are great for delivering to large groups too.”

Activity Alliance has five Engagement Advisors who work across nine regions over England, their role is to enable more organisations to engage disabled people effectively. Our south west engagement advisor, Helen, played a valuable role in supporting Bristol Bears Community Foundation to take up the Inclusive Activity Programme.

Engagement Advisor, Helen said:

“We all know how important collaboration is in supporting disabled people to be active. This festival was a valuable opportunity for local schools, representatives from the council and Active Partnerships, to come together and champion a truly inclusive day of activity opportunities. The festival was a great example of how important sport and activity is for disabled people and their supporters.
“The work that Kris and the team at Bristol Bears Community Foundation are doing is really significant in enabling more disabled people to access physical activity across the city. If you’re looking for guidance or more information on engaging disabled people to be active across the South West, then please get in touch!”

Tim Mathias, Inclusion and Accessibility Manager at Premiership Rugby, tells us why being a part of the Inclusive Activity Programme has been so important to the national body:

“The relationship with Activity Alliance and being part of the Inclusive Activity Programme has ensured that that community coaches at our clubs are confident and equipped to cater for all, and help us to broaden our welcome and invite to participate regardless of background or ability.”

The Inclusive Activity Programme is a great low-cost development opportunity for individuals and organisations. It involves a practical workshop delivered by an inclusion expert and ongoing online learning opportunities. Activity Alliance delivers the programme in partnership with UK Coaching.

Find out more about Inclusive Activity Programme:
Calling all clubs and coaches – are you interested in attending an Inclusive Activity Programme workshop or arranging a bespoke opportunity for your organisation?
Get in touch with our team today. Email programmes@activityalliance.org.uk or call 01509 227753.

For guidance or more information on engaging more disabled people to be active in sport and physical activity across the South West, please email our Engagement Advisor Helen, or call 01509 227750.