Para Sport at Loughborough University: Executive Committee Update

Since the launch of the Para Sport strategy in December 2019, Loughborough University has been developing ways to increase the number of Para sports on offer at the University.

Two members of the PHC have taken on roles in 2021 which reflect the University’s Para sport vision. James Haley and Adam Dickinson, both current PhD students, have assumed the roles of Media and Communications officer for the Para sport Executive Committee and Club Development Officer for the AU wheelchair basketball team respectively.

As a new team, the Para sport Executive Committee have been building close connections through social media with Boccia UK, WheelPower, University Sport, AU Clubs, and many others to increase the Para sports offer at the University at all levels of participation and competition. These additional connections have assisted in providing other platforms to signpost students to events that the Para sport Executive Team have held, such as the Inclusive Badminton Festival, Sport Senate Forum and Challenge the Execs Boccia event. All these opportunities have been based at the University and have provided the Executive Team with a platform to network and offer a range of fun, free and exciting sporting activities to all students. The collective aim of the committee is to continue being a point of contact for all student matters surrounding Para sport and to encourage regular participation in the range of Para sports on offer at the University.

One of the Para sports on offer at the University is wheelchair basketball. The club was established in October 2020 but due to the impact of COVID-19, this is the first year that they have been able to enter the BUCS league. As a new club, the committee members had initial concerns over being able to recruit enough players to enter the BUCS league. However, due to the presence of the committee members at the Freshers Sports Bazaar, these fears quickly subsided with over fifty students attending the club’s taster sessions and My Lifestyle events. There are now three wheelchair basketball sessions per week, two specifically for the development and performance players and a My Lifestyle event on Wednesday’s, which is open to all students. The team has played its first round of fixtures, winning against Worcester University, and losing against Nottingham Trent University. The next round of fixtures will be at home in New Victory Hall, Holywell, on Sunday 30th January 2022. Spectators are welcome at these fixtures so please come along and cheer on your new wheelchair basketball team.

James said, “Since June 2021, I have had the privilege of being the Media and Communications Officer for the new Para sport Executive Team here at Loughborough University. I have been responsible for designing, distributing, and boosting the social media presence of Para sport on a range of social media channels through tweets, posts, and regular updates. My aim over the upcoming year is to grow the social media channels and to provide daily updates of the opportunities available to participate or volunteer within the University’s Para sport community.”

Adam said, “I was welcomed onto the AU wheelchair basketball committee as the Club Development Officer in October 2021. This role is in the spirit of my PhD which evaluates British Wheelchair Basketball’s ‘Inspire a Generation’ programme, this is aimed at increasing participation in the sport. Having been involved in wheelchair basketball as both a player and a coach since 2013, I am excited to join the committee as the Club Development Officer and hope to being my previous experience to help the team develop over the coming year.”

For further information you are guided to Loughborough Para sport webpages here

Image 1 Credit: Matthew Leonard (Sports Volunteering Officer – Loughborough University)
Image 2 Credit: Nik Diaper