Sports scheme offers vital outlet for disabled people

NadeekaA new project which will offer vital sports opportunities for disabled people in Sutton is getting underway after a successful pilot scheme.

Sportsability provides people with profound and multiple learning disabilities the chance to take part in a range of activities specially adapted to suit their needs during tailor-made sessions at the Phoenix Centre in Wallington every Friday.

The pilot, which finished earlier this year, showed that not only were the exercise classes beneficial in health terms to participants, but they also enjoyed the chance to socialise.

Tony Braiotta, 48, of The Ridgway in Sutton is one of the people who has benefited from the pilot project and is looking forward to the sessions becoming a regular part of his life.

Fhilippi Lapa, a senior support worker who has taken Tony to a number of the sessions, said: “Tony likes sport and he has really enjoyed the days at the leisure centre.

“The staff are enthusiastic with great ideas and the relationships they build up with the clients are excellent.”

And Pauline Wood, Assistant Manager at The Ridgway, added: “The sessions are also an excellent opportunity for Tony to meet up with old friends and make some new ones.”

The interactive classes involve a range of adapted sports and sensory activities including parachute games, adapted football and other ball games, boccia-adapted bowling, curling and hoops.

The sessions are specially designed to promote physical activity, movement and enjoyment. Participants often have very little independent movement so instructors are trained to devise activities that allow them and their carers to derive the maximum possible benefit from every minute.

The success of the initial project is partly down to the successful partnership formed of the Sutton Clinical Health Team for People with Learning Disabilities; SLM, which provided the venue; Sutton MENCAP, which initially contributed staff and equipment on loan to trial and Sutton’s Support and Inclusion Team.

Cllr Colin Stears, Chair of Sutton Council’s Adult Social Services and Health Committee, said: “This is a very exciting project which will provide real benefits. It also points the way forward for building successful partnerships to provide services for residents with a range of needs across the borough.”

Sessions run from 11.15am-12.15pm every Friday at the Phoenix Centre, Mollison Drive, Wallington

Price: £3.50

To book a place call 020 8770 6006

For further information call 020 8770 4146 or email

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