MK Community Foundation have funded two sports wheelchairs that have been awarded to Sports Traider as part of an initiative called ‘Wheelpower’; a pilot scheme that aims to be rolled out to sports clubs in Milton Keynes, to diversify sports and increase the involvement of disabled players.
Sports Traider is a youth-focused charity that aims to offer young people, whatever their background, ability or disability, the support and the kit they need in order to participate in and discover new sports they can be involved in.
The wheelchairs were used at a Wheelchair Tennis Open Day on October 23rd, hosted by Stony Stratford Tennis Club, to excite the interest in wheelchair tennis and increase the popularity of the sport within the local community. The open day was attended by around 25 people, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Milton Keynes, and everyone was invited to try the chairs. People experienced in playing wheelchair tennis were able to demonstrate their skills, and coaches in the sport were able to offer advice to people who were new to the game on how to steer and hold their rackets. The event offered an important opportunity for disabled and able-bodied players to play alongside and against one another.
The club acquiring these sports wheelchairs means that wheelchair tennis has become more accessible to a larger number of people, as the other nearest club that offers the sport is a considerable distance away. The increase in reach means that even more young people can pursue the sport seriously in Milton Keynes and it helps to put the city on the map with an ever increasingly prominent sport, in which the UK are currently Paralympic number one.
Natalie Jordan, Philanthropy Manager at MK Community Foundation attended the open day and said that: “It was wonderful to see the sports wheelchairs in action, and it was great that they were being used by kids with and without disabilities, so they had a chance to understand how they worked and the great amount of strength and skill needed to use them."