Lothian Disability Sport continue to aim to provide participation opportunities for individuals with a physical, learning or sensory impairment and the School Calendar of Events provides the platform for many athletes / players to begin their sporting pathway in a host of sports.
Lothian Disability Sport works closely with Active Schools Coordinators and Sports Development Officers across all four local authorities to facilitate the Schools Programme and this partnership is imperative to continue the development of the events within the calendar. In addition to the local authorities, the calendar works in partnership with an array of organisations and Scottish Governing Bodies to help deliver events in football, boccia, swimming, badminton and athletics, both sportshall and track& field.
The fourteen Regional events has seen 765 young people access the School Programme throughout the 2015/2016 academic year and engaged over 40 schools from across the Edinburgh and the Lothians, showing how well established the calendar is throughout the region. In addition to these opportunities, Lothian has had representation at seven Scottish Disability Sport National Junior Events, with 99 young people given the opportunity to participate against their peers from across the country.
Some highlights of the 2015/2016 calendar include the Paralympic Experience Event, the inaugural table tennis event and the rise in number of swimmers accessing the Regional School Swim Qualifier. The Paralympic Experience Event is the flagship opportunity in the calendar that targets young people from the mainstream environment with a physical or sensory impairment only, aiming to engage young people who have found access to sport limited. This event relies heavily on the partnership work between LDS, SDS and Active Schools Coordinators in all local authorities – requiring a significant amount of work to ensure the event is reaching the targeted young people. The event continues to rise with record number of sign ups achieved again this year (64) and also continues to offer a direct pathway into club sport as local coaches and volunteers deliver on the day and provide a direct link – 59% young people accessing further disability sport opportunities from the 2014 / 2015 event. The table tennis event was introduced to this year’s calendar and was led by local club Murrayfield Table Tennis Club and supported by Edinburgh Active Schools & Sports Development and senior pupils from Royal HS, reinforcing the importance of partnership work to establish and develop an event.
The School Calendar for 2016/2017 will continue to offer competitive and participation opportunities in a wide range of sports. The forthcoming year will see the introduction of Triathlon event within the calendar with developments ongoing with local clubs and sports governing body.