While our Paralympic athletes are inspiring the next generation of potential Paralympians, they are also fantastic role models for any disabled person (whatever age!) who just wants to enjoy a sport that they are interested in.
We’ve put together some information on some of the great sporting opportunities available to disabled people in Scotland.
Speaking with a former ukactive Director who said that “Sport in its most organic form is one of the most authentic things you can do in this world. For any disabled person seeking a level playing field, sport can be the answer. If you’re feeling low, it can make you happy. If you’re seeking a challenge, it can certainly provide that!”
“There is also the most important aspect of sport and that is the health benefits, though it should never be forgotten that sport is also fun!”
So for anyone inspired to try a new sport, a great place to start is to check out the Scottish Disability Sport website. They are the Scottish governing and co-coordinating body of all sports for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability. You’ll find their website is packed with regional and national sporting events and activities.
You can also contact your regional disability sports branch of Scottish Disability Sport to find out what sports are available in your area. If there is a particular sport that you want to get involved in (anything from archery, athletics and bowls to wheelchair rugby), you can get in touch with the sports specific contact.
Deloitte Parasport have a great website which can help you to identify which sport is right for you and a useful Sport Finder tool to find out where you can play it. Deloitte Parasport was created by the British Paralympic Association (BPA) who recognised that more could be done to provide information to disabled people who wanted to take up sport, either at a recreational or competitive level. There are currently over 3000 sports clubs across the UK registered on their website.
Speaking to Brian Murray, manager and player of Scotland’s first amputee football team about his experiences Brian said, “I missed out on so much sport when I was growing up but since I have started playing amputee football I have regained my self-esteem and my fitness levels have massively improved and of course I love being part of a team again. You have to train and work hard but playing the sport I loved as a child is a dream come true”.
And if the more traditional sports aren’t your thing, think out of the box! There are many other opportunities you can try. A great example is disabled karting run by Karting with a Conscience at The Experience in Glasgow where individuals with limited mobility, learning difficulties, or other additional requirements can experience the adrenaline filled world of electric Go-karting.
A parent watching her son go-kart said,” I can’t put into words how it felt to watch my son have easily one of the best experiences of his life.”
Bobby Boyd, a support worker at Karting with a Conscience said, “In many cases people come here never experiencing the thrills of Karting and leave having had a great time”.
“Many return time and again with some lifting the expectation of others by making that transition from being driven around the track in one of our passenger karts to driving independently”.
To give you an idea of the some of the sports on offer, we’ve put together a small selection of sports organisations and clubs from our Scottish Disability Directory, as well as a separate section on sports funding. We’ve listed both national organisations and a range of local sports clubs across Scotland. There are many more and you can search our directory for a more comprehensive list or call our helpline on 0300 323 9961. Sports listed range from individual to team sports ….from fast paced to those of a more leisurely nature. There really is a sport for everyone!
Scottish Archery. Number of local clubs including those for people with a disability are listed on their website.
basketballscotland. National governing body for basketball in Scotland. For more information on wheelchair basketball see http://www.basketballscotland.co.uk/wheelchair-basketball/
Disabled Curlers Scotland. Organisation of disabled curlers who play all over Scotland. Local clubs listed on their website.
Cycling UK. Provide information inclusive cycling such as the Edinburgh ABC (All-ability Bike Centre).
Aerobility. Flying lessons for all regardless of disability. Aerobility has an operating base at Prestwick in Ayrshire.
Amputee Football. New to Scotland this year. Contact Brian Murray on email@example.com or telephone 07443 464821.
Karting with a Conscience. Individuals with limited mobility, learning difficulties, or other additional requirements can experience Go-karting. All sessions are tailored to individual needs.
Forth and Tay Disabled Ramblers. Rambling association for disabled people and their friends in Forth and Tay.
Highland Disabled Ramblers. Rambling association for disabled people and their friends in Highland.
Caledonia Crusher Wheelchair Rugby – Glasgow
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Ltd. National wheelchair rugby organisation. Website has useful information on the sport though most clubs are based in England.
Sailability Scotland. Works with sailing clubs, centres and sailing schools throughout Scotland to improve and develop opportunities for the integration and support of people with disabilities into the sport of sailing and its associated pursuits. Website has details of local sailing clubs. See the list of local clubs.
Sport for people who are blind or partially sighted
British Blind Sport. Provide sport and recreation for blind and partially sighted people.
Disability Snowsport UK. Provide opportunities for disabled people to enjoy winter sports. See the list of local clubs.
Scottish Visually Impaired Skiers – Edinburgh. Provide ski guides and coaching for members with a visual impairment.
West of Scotland Wheelchair Club. Open to anyone with a physical disability who would enjoy playing Wheelchair Sport. They have a number of players who have represented Great Britain at both senior and junior levels, in Wheelchair Basketball including at the Paralympics.
Dundee Dragons. Range of wheelchairs sports including rugby, basketball and racquet sports for people in the local area.
Yogability. Provide free yoga classes to children and adults with special needs as well as their carers and their families in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire and Scotland.
It would be amiss not to mention the importance of funding to enable local sports clubs to be able to grow and reach out to disabled people in their communities as well as individuals aiming to compete competitively on the world stage.
For individual’s looking for funding for specialist equipment or to be able to train competitively, Disability Grants have a useful webpage on Grants for Sport. There are separate sections for Individuals and Clubs and Groups.
All that’s left to say is – we hope you find the just the right sport for you!