When they’re not in Tokyo winning Bronze medals, many of the players from the Team GB women’s hockey team are helping disabled people get into the sport.

Flyerz hockey is the grassroots disability inclusive hockey initiative in the UK, allowing anyone with a disability or long-term health condition to take part in hockey sessions. There are now more than 50 Flyerz sections across England, Wales and Scotland, providing inclusive hockey for disabled people.

Flyerz hockey is expanding across the UK, with thanks to support from many of the Team GB players including Lily Owsley and Hannah Martin who have attended Access Sport events, created challenge videos for Flyerz players during lockdown and led skills sessions at virtual Flyerz events.

Making hockey more inclusive is at the heart of the national sporting body, England Hockey with its latest campaign #PickUpAStick encouraging anybody wanting to try hockey, or get back into hockey to ‘pick up a stick’ and try a hockey session. It is also hosting the first ever conference focused on equality, diversity and inclusion in hockey. Titled ‘Change Starts Together – Connecting hockey to be more inclusive’, the conference will be held in September or October this year.

Hayley Barton, Delivery Director for Access Sport said: “Hockey is a sport that can be so easily adapted so that anyone can play. We are proud to be working with partners like England Hockey, Hockey Wales and Scottish Hockey who all share our vision of making sport more inclusive. It’s a sad fact that disabled people are half as likely to be active than non-disabled people and this has only been made worse by the pandemic. The continued support from Team GB stars has helped to raise the profile of Flyerz hockey within the hockey family. Our long-term ambition is to have 300+ Flyerz hockey opportunities across the UK.

Flyerz has had tremendous support for years from Access Sport ambassadors Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE and Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE, both who won Olympic Gold at Rio 2016. This, along with the input from the current team, is one of the key reasons the initiative has grown to where it is.”

Julian Barrell, acting CEO of Access Sport said: “The whole population has been affected by the pandemic, but disabled people or those with a long-term health condition have had it even harder. As we re-emerge from the pandemic, community sport clubs can be a lifeline for these individuals for years to come. It genuinely is a time to 'build back better' in order to tackle the inequalities that have only widened through the pandemic. We'll continue to work tirelessly to achieve this.”

Access Sport is now looking ahead to #FlyerzWeek 2021, which takes place in early September. This week will provide opportunities for new clubs to learn more about Flyerz and join an introductory disability inclusion workshop. The week will be capped off with the Flyerz Festival South on Sunday 5 September.