Great Britain’s women’s historic Olympic gold at Rio 2016 has inspired a new generation and forever changed the sport of hockey in the UK. Access Sport’s Ignite Programme has been working closely with the Flyerz community to develop disability inclusive hockey clubs since 2011, an initiative that has been backed by the men’s and women’s GB hockey teams, by our leading Flyerz ambassadors Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE, and by the wider hockey family. Hockey is a unique sport, which is brilliantly adaptable to cater for individuals with a wide range of disabilities.

From a zero baseline, Access Sport has supported 15 Flyerz clubs across England with the majority based in London/South East with a keen interest to develop more clubs across England. 2017 saw the first London Flyerz School Games, as well as three Flyerz Festivals and its only July!

The Flyerz Festivals, hosted by Forest Flyerz, Braintree Flyerz and the national Flyerz Festival as part of the Hockey World League 2017, has seen players of varied ages and abilities come together to play inclusive hockey, including Great Britain’s very own Andy Halliday! The festivals see young disabled people with varied impairments play using adapted equipment and rules.

              

Access Sport’s London Flyerz School Games invited 70 students from SEND schools to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Olympic Park. The day was split between two competitive tournaments; the Experts and the Pros, with Stormont House School winning both competitions! We also welcomed a group of young leaders from Leyton Sixth Form who volunteered and helped out assisting the young disabled people on the day.

In 2017, Flyerz clubs have been delivering outreach to SEN schools and disability groups introducing young disabled people to inclusive hockey and welcoming them to the Flyerz community. We are excited to announce that Bowdon HC (Manchester), Tunbridge Wells HC, Cambridge City HC and Oxford Hawks HC have recently become part of the Flyerz community and all have plans for further Flyerz development in the future!

            

Midland Mencap have been travelling to London regularly as part of their training for the European ParaHockey Championships in Amsterdam. The Midland Mencap team have played friendly matches against Forest Flyerz, East London Flyerz, St Albans Flyerz and Braintree Flyerz, all in preparation for their upcoming championships. Midland Mencap are hoping to add another medal to their Bronze from the 2015 European Paralympic Hockey Internationals. Everyone from the Flyerz community and the Access Sport team wish Midland Mencap the best of luck and hope you have a fantastic time in Amsterdam!

We cannot wait to see the Flyerz community grow across England and welcome any hockey clubs to contact us to find out how you can offer inclusive hockey to the young disabled people in your area! Access Sport are planning to run a series of Flyerz workshops across the country, to find out more or for any further information about Flyerz hockey please contact ignite@accesssport.co.uk.