RUGBY CHARITY LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN TO HELP MORE YOUNG PEOPLE PLAY WHEELCHAIR RUGBY
Today, with just weeks to the Paralympics, Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, launches its wheelchair rugby campaign – Supporting Tomorrow’s Superstars.
Wooden Spoon aims to raise enough money to buy a rugby wheelchair for every wheelchair rugby club in the UK and Ireland, to encourage more people to get into the sport.
The Government states that there are currently over 10 million disabled people in the UK – 770,000 of these are children. Only 18% of people with a disability are taking part in sport compared 39% of non disabled people.
However, wheelchair rugby offers people with a disability the opportunity to play full contact sport, no matter what their age, ability or gender.
Charlie Hetherington, 22, a wheelchair rugby player for Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby Club said: “One of the things I love about wheelchair rugby is it’s so inclusive. Anybody can get involved. It doesn’t matter what gender you are or what background you are from. As long as you have a disability which affects the arms and legs, anyone can play.
“It has given me and so many of my team mates a new lease of life, after experiencing devastating changes in circumstances after being affected by a disability following an accident or through illness.
“In addition to improving my strength, fitness, balance and wellbeing, it has given me my rugby family. I have so much fun and have formed great friendships with people who really understand my situation.”
The Disabled Living Foundation estimates that it costs three times as much to raise a disabled child as it does to raise a child without disabilities. Many of the families Wooden Spoon have spoken to have cited costs as a major barrier for getting children and young people with a disability into sport.
Steve Brown, Former GB Wheelchair Rugby Captain said: “Investing in children and young people is not about giving them something to do at the weekend. It gives them confidence that flourishes into every part of their life.”
Jai Purewal, Director of Rugby & Community Investment at Wooden Spoon said: “Our vision at Wooden Spoon is that every child and young person, no matter what their background has access to the same opportunities – through the power of rugby.
“This life-changing campaign will provide young people with disabilities better opportunities to play wheelchair rugby and help positively transform their lives.”
Wooden Spoon aims to raise £95,000 which will enable the charity to buy and distribute 19 wheelchairs to clubs across the UK & Ireland. Zurich is the first corporate supporter to get behind the campaign.
Tim Atkin, Executive Vice President & Head of Customer, Distribution & Market Management at Zurich Global Corporate in Europe, Middle East & Africa said: “Throughout my career as a soldier and in the City rugby has always been a major part of my life as a player, administrator, coach and volunteer. I know from first hand experience the powerful bonds and friendships that are made through rugby, which transcend all walks of life and last a lifetime. The fabulous work which is being undertaken by Wooden Spoon in support of Wheelchair Rugby allows people who have suffered severe injuries to rebuild their confidence and personal fitness through access to the great world of rugby, to forge new friendships, to push personal boundaries and to have tremendous fun. I am delighted that Zurich is supporting Wooden Spoon and Wheel Chair rugby”.
Wooden Spoon is encouraging people across the rugby community to get involved. There are opportunities to sponsor the campaign, buy a wheelchair or make a general donation. Find out more here.