The Flyerz hockey magazine

Illustrations produced by researcher Dr Lesley Sharpe.

Loughborough review highlights opportunities created by disability-inclusive sport

A study examining the Flyerz hockey programme has revealed how taking an actively inclusive approach to sport can result in widespread benefit for players and their communities.

Flyerz hockey was developed as part of Access Sport’s successful Disability Inclusion Programme and creates opportunities for participants, coaches, volunteers and their clubs, as well as parents and carers of participants.

The research was conducted by colleagues in the University’s School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences (Dr Carolynne Mason, Dr Janine Coates, and Dr Lesley Sharpe) using online interviews with delivery staff and volunteers, and with parents of participants in the programme.

Findings included a recorded positive increase in wellbeing, improved perceptions of disability, increased confidence and social skills, and higher levels of participation in sport and physical activity.

In the final stages of the study, Dr Sharpe also spoke with the young participants in-person about their experiences.

The data shaped the creation of a comic shared with all Flyerz stakeholders in an accessible and exciting format.

The comic includes a QR code that provides a direct link to find out more about Flyerz, enabling the research to be used as a promotional tool that shares positive experiences and opportunities with potential participants, clubs, funders, and partners.

Flyerz hockey insert

Illustrations produced by researcher Dr Lesley Sharpe.

Dr Carolynne Mason explained:

“We have followed the progress of the Flyerz programme since 2019. It has been a privilege to meet the coaches and volunteers who have made this innovative programme a success. 

“Hearing the stories of the families who engage with Flyerz reinforces the importance of providing accessible sport for families who otherwise typically have very few opportunities to reap the benefits of taking part in sport on a regular basis.”

Through its Changing Sports programme, Access Sport works in partnership with existing community sports clubs and national governing bodies (NGBs) to demonstrate that inclusive club sport is achievable, fun, rewarding, and essential.

Adam Bone, Changing Sports manager at Access Sport added:

“It’s been great working with the team at Loughborough to demonstrate the impact of Flyerz and to highlight some amazing stories from across the Flyerz family.

“We know that disabled people desperately want to do more physical activity, but they must be given greater opportunities to be active and to be part of sporting communities – we hope to use this dynamic and engaging research to involve new players and clubs in our existing programmes, and to push for greater collaboration with NGBs and other partners in order to make inclusion the norm, not the exception.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 22/53

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.


Access Sport is a charity aiming to level the playing field, so that everyone regardless of ability or background can take part in sport and physical activity. Access Sport puts inclusion at the heart of community sport, through its own work and working in cross-sector partnerships with others at local, regional and national level. To find out more, visit: