"The best thing is just to be included and it’s nice to come to a place where everyone has some kind of disabilities and you don’t have to feel like I’m going to look odd or anything"

On 22 July, Access Sport’s Youth Board organised an inclusive sports festival at the Sports Club Thamesmead for disabled young people and their families. Organised in partnership with Peabody, this fun-filled event empowered residents from the local area to come down and try different pan-disability inclusive sports.

With eight different community sports clubs in attendance and a range of sports, including archery, dodgeball, yoga, meditation and Zumba, the day was a great success.

Festivals like this one are key in attracting disabled and disadvantaged young people to engage in sport and physical activity. By connecting these young people with inclusive community clubs, we are opening the door to the transformational benefits of sport.

Planning this event was a great opportunity for the Youth Board to bring together their expertise and host an event where young disabled people could access a variety of community sports. From arranging for clubs to attend, to creating an ‘activities tick list’ for the children, the entire event was completely organised by our amazing Youth Board.

Katherine, a member of our Youth Board, said:
“Engaging young disabled people in sport is vital for their social and physical development, and facilitating an event where the necessary adjustments to meet their needs are met ensures that they have a positive experience and are more likely to keep engaging.”

The Youth Board’s lived experience of accessibility in community sport is invaluable to us. We are very grateful that they took the time to organise this fantastic event. By integrating the Youth Board into our everyday work, such as planning this festival, we are able to consistently translate their commitment and expertise into our ongoing efforts to make sport more inclusive and accessible for all.

Throughout the planning process, we were confident that the Youth Board were using their knowledge to make sure the participants' needs were considered and we are immensely proud of the showstopping event that they delivered.

A parent said:
“The best thing is just to be included and it’s nice to come to a place where everyone has some kind of disabilities and you don’t have to feel like ‘I’m going to look odd or anything.”

The Youth Board were distinctly aware that the participants at the festival would have a range of disabilities and needs. To best support these needs they wanted to have a variety of activities that would be attractive to a range of young people, this included a quiet/sensory area, a bubble machine and even an immersive reality van. The clubs at the festival were also from the local area as the Youth Board felt it was important that families got the opportunity to experience local clubs.

A parent said:
“Wow! 51 children and their families that’s fantastic! Thank you so much to you and your team for putting together such as great event—it  was great to see lots of new faces!”

You can take a closer look at the event with the photos from the day. Use the arrows to scroll through the images below or click here to visit the gallery to download an image.

 Thamesmead Festival 2023

Find out more about our Youth Board:
The Youth Board 2023