The first ever ParalympicsGB festival of sport has proven popular, with 400 people signed up in the two weeks since the launch of the event.
So far, 175 people have registered to attend the event in December, with a further 225 registered to express interest in attending one of the 2013 festivals. Given that each person registering for themselves, on behalf of their children or on behalf of a school group, it is expected that the number of attendees could be even greater.
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA, is pleased with the level of interest.
“It’s great to see so many people contacting us to sign up or to express interest in future events”, he said.
“Before London, we ran a number of Paralympic Potential Days, and these would have around 50 or 60 people coming in the door. For our event in December we are looking at two or maybe even three times this many on each day of the event.
“We are confident that not only are we reaching out to a lot of people who have been inspired by London 2012, but that we will be able to put on a high-quality experience for every person who comes along.”
The BPA also today confirmed that the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) will be a partner of the inaugural Sports Fest, which will be held at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on Monday December 3 and Tuesday December 4, although it is expected that the other Home Nation Disability Sport Organisations will partner the BPA in delivering similar sports festivals in the other Home Nations next year.
The ParalympicsGB Sports Fest will also have a presence from Parasport, the disability sport signposting website run by the BPA and Deloitte, and will provide more information to anyone interested in opportunities for coaching disability sport or volunteering at sports clubs.
Hollingsworth outlined the importance of working collaboratively to deliver the Sport Fest.
“The ambition of the London 2012 Games has always been to inspire a new generation of people to take up sport. We believe that British athletes delivered incredibly inspirational performances on the field of play and now we want to encourage anyone who would like to get into sport, be it as a participant, coach or volunteer to do so.
“It is important that we work closely with our partners in sport, such as the EFDS, to provide the best possible information and opportunities for every single person who will come through the doors of the Sports Fest.”
Barry Horne, Chief Executive of English Federation of Disability Sport, said:
“After the London Games, our research told us that everyone believes Paralympians are inspirational role models and significantly that disabled people are considering doing more sport now. Not every disabled person can or will want to be a Paralympian or even reach elite standard. For many, just being active is enough. That is why EFDS are keen to ensure all opportunities are inclusive for people with every impairment and at a level they wish to take part at.
“This Sports Fest will provide another great opportunity to try different sports and find out more information on what is available out there. We look forward to supporting the day and increasing the number of disabled people who can be active for life”.
Anyone interested in attending can register via the ParalympicsGB website: www.paralympics.org.uk/sportsfest