Oarsome fun for disabled people

Disabled people take to the water in a free paddlesport taster session.
Disabled people take to the water in a free paddlesport taster session.

Disabled people have had oarsome fun after taking to the water in a series of free paddlesport taster sessions.

Ability2Play, the disability inclusion programme run by Active Northumberland, invited more than 150 people with a range of special physical and educational needs to experience the thrill of paddlesports, such as canoeing and kayaking.

Sessions were held at locations, including the QE2 lake in Ashington, Wansbeck riverside, and Druridge Bay with fully qualified coaches hand from Morpeth Paddle Sport Club, Coquet Canoe Club, Wansbeck Paddle Sport Club and Blyth Kayak Club.

Luis Perales, event organiser and outdoor activities officer for Active Northumberland, said: “In terms of the numbers we have seen this summer, I think the project has been a resounding success.

“The wonderful thing about paddlesports is that everyone can participate on equal terms, with the right kind of equipment and support.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to work in partnership and pull in resources from clubs around Northumberland, to offer people with a range of disabilities the chance to get have a go and offer a pathway into a sport we all love. It’s been a fantastic achievement by all.”

One parent, who attended all three events with her disabled son, said: “The Ability2Play programme is just fantastic.

“It gives my disabled son a chance to socialise and take part in activities he wouldn’t be able to access in a mainstream setting.”

“The staff and volunteers involved with GetActiveSE are brilliant with the kids, some of whom can have quite challenging behaviour. It’s refreshing to be able to bring your child out for the day somewhere where they are understood and feel comfortable.”

For more information about the Ability2Play project and how to get involved, contact Ronnie Scheu at rscheu@activenorthumberland.org.uk