A new initiative has been launched to increase sporting opportunities for disabled people.
Cramlington paralympian and triple gold medallist Stephen Miller has teamed up with Gateshead College to launch SMILE Through Sport.
The college sports ambassador and his wife Rachel attended the college’s sports’ ability group to provide expert advice and training to encourage and inspire members to see the benefits of sport and what can be achieved by taking part in games and activities.
SMILE Through Sport aims to create increased awareness, opportunity and enjoyment in disability and is the first initiative of its type in the region providing one-to-one mentoring, coaching, training and inspirational speeches for people of all ages and levels of disability and learning.
Stephen, who has cerebral palsy, said: “The aim of SMILE Through Sport is to raise awareness and the profile of disability sport, as well as creating opportunities and to inspire people who maybe thought they couldn’t get into sport to get out there.”
Stephen began his career in sport after being inspired by watching Linford Christie win gold in the 100 metres in the 1992 Olympics, when he was just 12-years-old.
Since then, he has won three gold medals in five Paralympics alongside a haul of medals from World and European championships.
For more information on SMILE Through Sport contact Stephen or Rachel Miller on (0191) 477 4553.
Lewis Pendleton, head of sport at Gateshead College sport academy, said: “We’re working with Stephen and the Smile Through Sport initiative to improve the Sports’ Ability Group for people with disabilities, creating a pathway of opportunities for those who either wish to develop sport as a hobby or aspire to achieve sporting excellence.
“We welcome both college and non-college students, and we aim to increase participation in sport for disabled people.
“We also want to be recognised as a regional centre for disability sport. We’re working with SMILE Through Sport to create a participation and development programme that will open up more sporting opportunities for people with both mental and physical disabilities.”