Active Devon strives to ensure sporting opportunities for people across the county are inclusive and are certainly experiencing massive interest from young people with disabilities at their forthcoming Devon Winter Ability School Games event on 25 January 25 at the Plymouth Life Centre.

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Over 400 children from across the whole of Devon will meet to compete in a range of sports and activities representing a number of School Games areas – East Devon, St Luke’s, Plymouth and Dartmoor School Sports Partnerships, West Devon and Torbay Sport Partnership.

This is by far the largest Ability Games event to date and organisers have been delighted by the take up from the pupils.

Annabel Allen, School Games Coordinator at Active Devon said: “The School Games programme has been running since last year. We have already held five competitions involving over 5,000 young people, two of those events were Ability School Games events. Both were very successful and have increased participant numbers each time.”

Children will be competing at rowing, football and tennis and will represent schools from across the whole county. They will also have the opportunity to try a range of sports such as table cricket, tri-golf, badminton, indoor athletics and bowls.

A cultural competition is also taking place on the day for young Poets to write a Paralympic-inspired poem.

The games aim to celebrate youth sport and the work that goes on to encourage our youngsters to be more active. They also provide an important level of challenges for children competing below county standard as well as fostering good links and co-operation between schools, clubs and the different areas of Devon.

A survey carried out by the Sport and Recreation Alliance to capture the opinion of sports clubs in the aftermath of the Olympic anc Paralympic Games says that nine in 10 clubs reported no change in the number of people with disabilities joining their club.

The results came from the Alliance’s snapshot legacy survey, which gathered the responses of 475 respondents and was weighted to represent the 150,000 sports clubs across the UK.

However, the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) responded, highlighting the great initial success of the Paralympic Games to generate massive interest.

As the EFDS point out in their response “eight out of ten disabled people said that they were ‘considering’ taking part in sport.” The British Paralympic Association (BPA) response was similar “There has been a 200 per cent increase in enquiries,” highlighting the need for sports clubs, venues and activity providers to be open and accessible to all.

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