December 2010 All News
Disabled badminton players and your club
According to the latest Active People survey, 100,000 disabled people in England, who currently do not play badminton, want to take up the game.
This equates to a massive potential market for new members of your club! It is simple to include disabled players alongside non-disabled people at your club night. Ambulant disabled people, who can play without the use of a wheelchair, play with no law adjustments. In competition play, wheelchair users do not use the area in front of the service line but when playing at their club often use the whole court. One club which has recognised this and started tapping into this pool of players is Sutton Badminton Club in St Helens, Lancashire. Sutton, a BADMINTON England Premier Club has approximately 50 senior club members and 40 junior club members. The club operated with 6 courts at senior club for 2 hours and 4 courts at junior club for 4 hours.
Martin Beddis, a wheelchair user, contacted me expressing an interest in playing badminton and starting up a wheelchair club. I arranged a meeting between Martin and Sutton BC, at which it was agreed that Sutton would become an inclusive club. Martin now attends club night, along with another wheelchair user and two ambulant disabled players with cerebral palsy. Linda Eccleston, a club coach, has attended BADMINTON England’s disability badminton coaching course, which has given her the knowledge and confidence to deliver to physically and intellectually disabled players. The club is actively promoting itself to disabled people in a bid to grow its’ disabled membership.
Becoming an inclusive club has opened up the remaining two courts in the sports hall which could not previously be accessed by the senior club. The club, already a key part of St Helens Community Badminton Network and working closely with the local Sports Development Unit, received increased publicity in local press and through BADMINTON England partners. Most importantly, the club is committed to making badminton accessible to everyone. Members of the club happily include wheelchair users and ambulant disabled members in their games and offer advice and badminton experience. Linda Eccleston from Sutton Badminton Club said:
“We’re delighted to be involved in this project and would encourage other clubs to consider doing the same. There should be no boundaries in sport.”
In early 2011, BADMINTON England will be launching an Inclusive Club programme, which will offer support to clubs looking to broaden their offer to include disabled people. For more information on including disabled people in your club, please contact email@example.com or call 07725413876.
Tom Webster - Disability Manager