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Ten years of disability sport – Winchester’s Paralympic Personal Bests

Ten years of disability sport – Winchester’s Paralympic Personal Bests

On Thursday 25 August, Winchester City Council, in partnership with Everyone Active, Winchester Go LD and the University of Winchester, hosted their annual Paralympic Personal Bests event – 10 years on from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Simplyhealth and Connect to Support Hampshire both sponsored the event, and Santander also a key partner, provided a team of 16 volunteers.

First organised in 2012 to celebrate the triumph of the London Paralympic Games, the event provides children and adults with learning and physical disabilities the chance to take part in a day full of sporting activities and encourages ongoing participation in sport and physical activity on a more regular basis.

With exclusive access to some of the facilities within the Winchester Sport & Leisure Park and the University of Winchester Sports Stadium, participants from across Hampshire took part in swimming, squash, rugby, circuits, athletics, football, and cricket.

The event has grown significantly over the past decade with 30 participants taking part in 2012, to 150 attendees and 50 volunteers joining in at this year’s 10th anniversary event.

The event continues to be a huge success, achieved via partnership working between teams at Winchester City Council, Everyone Active, Winchester Go LD and the University of Winchester as well as the volunteers and sports coaches from rugby, squash, Hampshire Cricket, Hampshire Football Association, and coaches from Winchester and District Athletics Club.

Winchester City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community and Housing, Cllr Paula Ferguson, said:

“The Disability Sports Festival continues to grow in popularity every year and it is wonderful to see so many fantastic athletes competing again this year. Winchester City Council is committed to developing disability sports participation as part of our programme to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities across the district, and the festival is a great example of this.

“I’d like to thank all staff and volunteers who organised this celebration and congratulate everyone who participated.”

Cabinet Member for Business and Culture, Cllr Lucille Thompson said:

“It is fantastic to see so many large-scale events take place at the Winchester Sport and Leisure Park, and the link with the University’s sports facilities adjacent to the site, provides an amazing venue to host disability sport.”

Chloe Davanna, Active Communities Manager at Everyone Active, said:

“It’s fabulous to be able to host the 10-year anniversary of this event. To see over 120 participants getting involved, learning new skills, and challenging each other was inspirational. We work hard to provide more opportunities for those with additional needs to take part in physical activity and hope this event will encourage children and adults to get involved in more sports and activities in the future.”

CEO Winchester Go LD, Betty Chadwick said:

“Regular physical exercise is such an important way for us all to look after our physical and mental health. We are delighted that the Paralympic Personal Best event provides the introductions and motivation for people with learning disabilities to take part in regular sporting groups.”

Sam Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) at the University of Winchester, said:

“What an honour it has been to host this fantastic community sports event at the Winchester Sports Stadium and see so many people try out a new sport for the first time. The University’s sports facilities really are for the community and open to all, so it has been wonderful to see them being used by so many people for the first time. We look forward to working with Everyone Active and Winchester City Council on more community events like this in the future.”

For further information about disability sport in Winchester please contact Calum Drummond, Health Improvement Manager on cdrummond@winchester.gov.uk

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