Celebrating National Boccia Day 2021 in Suffolk

There was a great atmosphere at Whitton Sports Centre in Ipswich earlier this week, as 36 participants, from across Suffolk, came together to take part in the ActivLives Boccia Festival, in celebration of National Boccia Day 2021. 

The event was supported by players from a variety of local disability organisations including Avenues East Ipswich and Stowmarket, Wots Up, Papworth Trust and Mid-Suffolk Axis.

The day also had star quality as Evie Edwards, recently returned from representing Paralympics GB in Tokyo, was on hand throughout the event to meet players and to present the awards.

A big ‘thank you’ must go to all of the great ActivLives volunteers who gave their time, skills and energy to make it all happen. Thank you also to Active Suffolk, SCC and IBC, for their support with this event.

If you would like to know more about Inclusive Boccia with ActivLives and Special Olympics Suffolk, call 01473 345350 or email mike@activlives.org.uk

Suffolk athletes support Disability Badminton Festival in Cambridge

A group of ActivLives/Special Olympics Suffolk Badminton players went over to Cambridge recently, to support the Disability Festival as part of the Badminton England ‘Big Hit’ initiative. Our group of 10 players, were brilliantly supported by family members and friends. The ‘Big Hit’ initiative is part of the Badminton England follow up to the successful Paralympics Badminton in Tokyo. ActivLives held a ‘Bring a Guest’ session, earlier in the same week, which was also part of the ‘Big Hit’. A big thank you to all who supported these events. If you would like to know more about Inclusive Badminton in Ipswich for players with a learning disability, please contact Mike at ActivLives on 07531 236442.

Badminton England initiative; The ‘Big Hit’

ActivLives and Special Olympics Suffolk are actively supporting the current Badminton England initiative, the ‘Big Hit’.

To celebrate the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Badminton England, in partnership with local clubs and coaches, are hosting a series of disability Para-Badminton Festivals.

The festivals provide an opportunity for all disabled people to get involved and try a new sport? Or if you have experienced badminton previously, it’s time to get back on court!

Delivered by experienced Disability Badminton Coaches, the Para Badminton Festivals can be enjoyed by all and promise to be lots of fun, involving skill-based activities and on-court games.

Disability Badminton | Badminton England

Mike McCarthy

ActivSport Manager

07531 236442

Hetty Bartlett goes for Paralympic glory

Hetty Bartlett

Fulfilling a dream she’s had since taking up athletics many years ago, Suffolk athlete Hetty Bartlett has been honoured with selection for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games which gets underway today. Making her debut for ParalympicsGB in the T38 Long Jump on 31st August will represent just reward for many hard years training for sprints and long jump. As a member of Orwell Panthers Athletics Club and Special Olympics Suffolk, she has won many national events over the years. In 2019 she won Gold in the 200m at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Now a member of the ParalympicsGB athletics squad the door has opened for her to compete with the best in the world in the T38 classification. All at Orwell Panthers Athletics Club and Special Olympics Suffolk wish her every success at the Games and for her future in Paralympic competition

Suffolk inclusive boccia sessions

Special Olympics Suffolk partners, ActivLives, continue to deliver inclusive boccia sessions for players with a learning disability, in partnership with local provider Avenues East. The sessions, which are held in Stowmarket and Ipswich, are being supported by Active Suffolk and Sport England through the Tackling Inequalities Fund.

Sacha Feeney-Howells, Avenues East Project Coordinator, said, ‘The people that access our daytime activity groups love playing boccia, they work as a team encouraging each other, they are clearly improving their skills and take pride in their achievements. Boccia is a super sport for all abilities and great fun to play! We look forward to more sessions and more partnerships with ActivLives’.

For more information, contact Mike McCarthy, ActivSport Manager, 07531 236442

SOS athletes star for ITFC

On Saturday May 1st 2021 The Ipswich Town community trust Disability football team hosted their first competitive/friendly match against Maldon Saints. The team had 3 SOS athletes feature for them; Edward Martin, Cameron Sherman and his brother Nathan. Playing alongside were Scott Johnson and Josh Wightman. All getting plenty of minutes on the pitch and putting in lots of effort during a tough game against a really good opposition.

Everyone involved enjoyed the match and look forward to the return fixture at Maldon in June. 

The community trust was relaunched 2 years ago and the disability provision has grown so much in a short space of time. For anyone interested and who may want to take part the team train every Thursday evening from 5pm at Portman Road.

Interested? Contact Leanne Smith, Community Engagement Co-ordinator, at leanne.smith@itfc.co.uk to find out more!

‘Boccia is back’ with ActivLives

You know that things are gradually getting back to how they were before Covid-19, when the boccia balls come out once again!

ActivLives have recently re-started their regular boccia sessions, with Avenues East, in Ipswich and Stowmarket. The sessions have been adapted to meet all of the current Covid-19 requirements including ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’. 

The group sessions are tailored specifically for players who have an intellectual disability, which is why they are able to get back to play, in-line with the ‘grassroots sport for athletes with a disability’ exemption, as part of the current Covid-19 guidelines. 

“Avenues East Daytime clubs have been lucky enough to have Boccia and Kurling sessions, led by ActivLives, for quite a few years now. It really is a highlight of our month. The progression in everyone, as a result of these sessions, is phenomenal and the fun and camaraderie is priceless”,said Louise Powell, Avenues East Project Coordinator.

If you would like to know more about playing boccia with ActivLives, call Mike on 07531 236442 or email mike@activlives.org.uk

ActivLives Inclusive Badminton group

The ActivLives Inclusive Badminton group, based in Ipswich, is now back playing weekly as part of the gradual return to activity for their ActivSport programme. The session, which is targeted at adults who have a learning disability, is able to return indoors as part of the current Sport England and Badminton England Covid-19 guidelines for disability groups.

Almost all of our players have felt able to return to play, it is absolutely brilliant to see them back, said Mike McCarthy, ActivSport Project Manager. We have obviously had to make some changes to how we run the session as result of Covid-19, including operating smaller groups to help ensure that social distancing requirements can be complied with.

If you are interested in getting involved with this group, contact Mike on 07531 236442. Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, participation in these sessions must be pre-booked.

Boccia and Badminton continue in Ipswich with ActivLives

Well, what a year 2020 has been! Although for much of the year all Special Olympics training and competition has had to be put on hold as a result of Covid-19, some of our local affiliated clubs and groups have been able to continue to play in a Covid-19 compliant manner. 

Despite the many restrictions that have been placed upon participating in sport and physical activity in recent months, ‘disability sport’ has had an exemption from these at various times throughout the year.

Two sports that have managed to continue, in some shape or form, have been boccia and badminton. ActivLives, one of our key delivery partners in Ipswich, has continued to provide sessions specifically for participants with an intellectual disability. 

“During the summer months we were able to play boccia and badminton outdoors in local parks in Ipswich, which was a great way of us all getting back to group activity after the first lockdown ended in July”, said Mike McCarthy, from ActivLives. “During the autumn we were able to play both sports indoors, apart from during the second lockdown period in November. Obviously, we had to ensure that we were meeting all of the UK Government Covid-19 Guidelines, as well as those of Boccia England and Badminton England. The response of the players, and their families, over the last few months has been absolutely brilliant. Everyone has adapted to the restrictions and guidelines that we have had to put into place in order to return to play safely – the positive attitude to returning from players, families and volunteers, has been a real inspiration for all of us”.

Who knows what 2021 will bring. Whatever happens next, we do know that we have a lot of very committed athletes in Suffolk, who are ready and waiting to get back to play, just as soon as they can!