Providing inclusive BMX opportunities for young people with a disability, our Wingz programme strives to transform lives. Launching at Croydon BMX club earlier this summer, Croydon Wingz has seen 11 different participants attend, with over 90 attendances in total. But the statistics are just half of the story, and Croydon Wingz is looking to progress further, offering more opportunities to young people with disabilities. 

Led by Access Sport’s BMX coach Farran Afflick-Straker – and his bunch of merry volunteers – the Saturday morning sessions in Norbury Park have emphasized sport’s unique power to change and improve young people’s lives. But don’t just take our word for it, let Omar’s story speak for itself; let Omar encourage you to come along.

A 13 year-old boy requiring a hearing aid and with impaired vision in one eye, Omar has always struggled to partake in sporting opportunities… and he is not alone. Sport England’s ‘Active People Survey’ discovered that only 12.9% of those with a visual impairment take part in sport once a week, meaning that many children like Omar can feel left out and ignored. 

"He’s not a very ‘sporty’ person, he doesn’t enjoy sports like football where he was often intimidated by the older boys that were a lot bigger than him. He enjoys going out on his bike though, so when we heard about the BMX we came along but weren’t sure if he was going to like it.”

Omar has now been attending the sessions set up by Access Sport at Croydon BMX club since July 2018, and has flourished showing significant improvements in his riding and confidence levels, whilst impressing both his parents and coach. However, with little experience in regards to cycling - and having never been on a BMX bike before – Omar was initially very nervous and doubted his ability to take part. Despite this, Omar committed to the sessions regularly and his resilience continued to grow - despite a few falls - and it wasn’t long before he could confidently go over the first few jumps standing up. Fast forward a few months and Omar can now complete the whole track, something that he initially thought would be impossible.

Omar is a prime example of how Wingz can help young people not only get more active and involved in physical activity, but also improve personal development. Wingz is able to promote resilience, hard-work, ambition and confidence, with the opportunity to offer hope and enjoyment to young people. Omar refuses to let his impairment limit him and his opportunities, and it’s clear for everyone to see that Omar has definitely earned his ‘Wingz’. Who’s next?

Omar is a prime example of how successful our Wingz Programme can be, with his progress in cycling ability coinciding with his improved confidence. The Wingz concept is designed to be disability-inclusive, offering an opportunity for young disabled people to experience cycling. By refusing to let his impairment limit him, Omar has shown what it truly means to 'earn your Wingz'.  

Iestyn Withers, Club Development Manager (Ignite)