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Students take the lead in inclusive activity sports

Students from York St John University have undertaken a training programme to teach inclusive sports to young people and adults with disabilities in the region.

The training initiative is a result of a fruitful partnership between York St John and the Sport & Active Leisure Team at City of York Council. So far more than 38 students on courses from across the University have been trained to run disabled sports activities at York St John Inclusive Activity Club (YSJIAC). In addition to receiving a nationally recognised qualification, participating students receive a CRB check through City of York Council and the opportunity to acquire skills that will benefit them in their future career.

YSJIAC was launched by two former York St John students in November 2009 and provides a social environment in which local residents with learning or physical disabilities can play multi-sports activities, such as Boccia, New Age Kurling, Tri-golf and table tennis. Goalball, the Paralympic sport designed for people with a visual impairment, is a new sport being launched by the club on Saturday afternoons. Two teams of three blindfolded players attempt to score in the opposition’s goal by throwing a ball with bells inside. Players defend their own goal using their bodies much like a football goalkeeper.

Dean Armstrong, Development Officer for Community Sport and Knowledge Exchange at York St John University, describes the benefits of the training:

"With an increase in demand for qualified and experienced inclusive activity coaches in the run-up to the 2012 Paralympic games, it’s great that our students have this opportunity to equip themselves with skills that will ultimately aid in their employability after university. We’re delighted that some of our qualified students have already been offered the opportunity to act as Goalball officials at the 2012 Games."

He added:

"As part of the University’s mission to become a recognised centre for inclusive sport opportunities, our partnership with YSJIAC is highly valued, and the chance for us to develop future leaders of sport, exercise and well-being is entirely welcomed."

Simon Kumar, a former sports student at York St John, set up YSJIAC with fellow student Rob Tyas. Simon and Rob are now Disability Sport and Physical Activity Officers at City of York Council and are responsible for encouraging people with disabilities to become physically active within the city.

Simon said:

"It is fantastic that the club has now doubled in size, providing even more sporting and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities."

All YSJIAC sessions take place on a Saturday in the Foss Sports Hall at York St John University. Multi-sports sessions for persons with a learning or physical disability aged 14 or over take place from 10.15am – 11.45am. Goalball sessions for persons aged 12 or over with a visual impairment take place from 12.15pm – 13.15pm.

Picture shows: Simon Kumar, Disability Sport and Physical Activity Officer at City of York Council and former York St John student, with inclusive sports equipment

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk


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