03 September 2008>
Sporting opportunities for children and young people with disabilities is on the rise in Caerphilly county borough.
There are now 32 clubs accessible to disabled people operating in the area, and the number of people taking up memberships with these clubs has increased by 11.5% over the last year.
Following the recent Olympic Games in China, the Paralympics will take place in Beijing from the 6th-17th September, and to celebrate the success of Disability Sport in the area, Caerphilly County Borough Council is launching its first Disability Rugby Club at St Cenydd Leisure Centre on the 15th September. This will be the second club of its kind in Wales.
Also during the Paralympics, Pont Dragons Football Club of Pontllanfraith, another local disability sports club, is launching an adult team following its success with children and young people.
Paul Taylor, Disability Sports Officer for Caerphilly County Borough Council, has been co-ordinating sporting activities for children and young people with disabilities for the last four years. Since taking up post in 2004, the number of people involved in the authority's Disability Sports Programme has more than doubled.
One of the items on Paul's activity agenda is the Holiday Activity Programme, which Sports Development organises in partnership with Caerphilly Children's Centre. A wide range of activities is offered through the programme, including horse riding at Rockwood Riding School, bike riding, canoeing, fishing and wheelchair basketball.
Carolyn Jones, from Caerphilly Children's Centre, works with Paul to co-ordinate the programme. She said, ""By working in partnership with Sports Development we experience joint working at its best. Caerphilly Children's Information and Planning Service, 'CH.I.P.S' benefits enormously from this partnership as it gives the children and young people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of sports and leisure activities."
Another popular disability sport event organised by Caerphilly County Borough Council is the annual Disability Six Nations Festival, which takes place in the grounds of Trinity Fields Special School. The third festival went ahead in March and due to Wales' grand slam win and the continued support of Welsh Captain, Ospreys player Ryan Jones, the event was the biggest and most successful to date.
Leader of council, Cllr Lindsay Whittle said, "I am delighted to see that disabled people of all ages have the opportunity to participate in sports in the county borough. Sporting and leisure activities should be inclusive to everyone regardless of their abilities. It is the taking part that counts and participation will lead not only to enjoyment, but to further self-fulfilment."
Cllr Phil Bevan, Cabinet member for Education and Leisure said, "In the last 12 months, the number of sporting opportunities provided by Disability Sport Wales has rocketed and Caerphilly County Borough Council has contributed significantly to this major increase by providing lots of activities for children and young people with disabilities."
In the coming months Sports Development is linking with Caerphilly Adventure Group to provide more outdoor activities for disabled children and young people.
The team is also working with the Youth Offending Team to get young offenders the chance to get trained as coaches.
For further information on disability sports opportunities in the county borough, please call Paul Taylor on 01443 863225.
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