YMCA Getting Young Disabled People Active

Nottinghamshire YMCA’s OnSide programme provides a variety of sports sessions and youth groups to encourage physical activity in young disabled people.

Participation in sport by young adults with a disability has increased to 17.7% in recent years, however, it is still far below the average, 34.6%, for the population as a whole.

The YMCA OnSide sessions have been designed to address the barriers for young disabled people such as; no one to play with due to a misconception that sport must be heavily adapted to accommodate disabilities, and feeling intimidated by the level of expectation of standard. There are three weekly sports sessions and a youth group.

The multi sport sessions on Mondays focus on one sport for six weeks before moving on to another. This allows the participants to gain a good knowledge of the skills involved with the sport in preparation for their opportunity to gain a Community Sports Leadership award. This specialist training to support disability sport will enable the young people to gain a qualification which will allow them to become a ‘buddy’ in future programmes.

On Tuesdays the sessions are football focused. Another multi-sports session will begin on Sunday 17th November in Aspley Youth and Community Centre. The sport sessions are made up of one hour of sport followed by 30 minutes of socializing time where the young people can interact with each other and the staff, making requests and suggestions for the following week’s session.

The OnSide sports sessions are not exclusively for disabled people, many bring their family or friends along for support. For example, Caine doesn’t have a disability, but he attends the Monday sessions with his two sisters as it allows him to spend time with them with added freedom as his sisters are provided with a buddy. Ability Nottingham provides dedicated Inclusion Support Buddies for some participants to help them with their skills and coordination in the sessions.

A mix of abilities in the sessions also helps Nottinghamshire YMCA demonstrate inclusivity, the sports do not have to be adapted as much as expected to accommodate for people with any category of disability.

Amy Oakes, Sports Programme Manager at Nottinghamshire YMCA said:

‘There is a wide range of ages and disabilities at the sessions each week and it’s inspiring to watch them work together as a team and enjoy playing sport. When it comes to them taking their sports leadership qualification, we’re going to discover some fantastic buddies for young people!’

YMCA OnSide also includes a disability youth group in Bilborough. Currently the youth club provides a space for young people with a range of disabilities to socialise, do arts & crafts, play pool and table tennis. The OnSide programme will increase the number of opportunities available to the young people who attend the youth club by introducing them to new sports and integrating the YMCA’s other youth provisions such as digital media.

OnSide timetable:

Monday at Oakfield school – multi-sports – 6.30 – 7.30pm £1 for Oakfield school pupils, £2 for others

Tuesday at Aspley YMCA – football – 6.00 – 7.30pm £1 for Oakfield school pupils, £2 for others

Wednesday at Bilborough Library & Community Centre – youth group session £1

Sunday at Aspley YMCA – multi-sports – 10.00am-12.00noon – sessions £2

To join the OnSide sessions or for more information contact Amy Oakes 0115 9785809 / amy.oakes@nottsymca.org