Ability Using Sport

Active Essex

Ensuring that sport and physical activity is accessible to all is something that we at Active Essex are passionate about. There should be no barrier to participating in physical activities, and we love to see more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities evolving in our county.

Ability Using Sport are a Colchester and Maldon based group, that see exercise and physical activity as a vital tool in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people of all abilities in Essex. The group specialise in offering a variety of sporting opportunities for young people with learning difficulties, autism, physical disabilities and mental health issues. Kevin Smith from Ability Using Sport said: “The aim is to get as many children and young adults involved in physical activities. The groups that we are involved with are in disability, and so we want to make our sessions easy to find.”

Like all successful clubs, AUS have worked hard over time – listening to the feedback from their communities and club-goers to make sure that they can offer the best opportunities possible. With some help and information from Active Essex, and working with people in the community, the club worked out which physical activities would suit their participants best, along with any accessibility requirements they would need to consider.

Following on from taster sessions, the team have learned more new ways to adapt their offering to ensure accessibility. Noticing that distance and weather could be a barrier to attendance, Kevin said: “We try to vary activities to different days and to some different venues, so that there is choice in our programmes. We have also moved our multi-sports to an indoor venue, so we could offer regular activities without barriers, like weather, affecting the sessions.”

Offering fun sporting opportunities for young people aged 5-25 is no mean feat. The age range of attendees was a surprise to Kevin and the team, but they relished the challenge in ensuring that activities are suitable for all. Kevin said: “I think we were surprised with the age range within our group. To accommodate this, we have split the sessions up to offer different activities for all participants, so they can engage in fully inclusive sports.”

The club, based at Stanway School in Colchester, have so far been pleased with the results and impact their group has had on regular attendees. Kevin said: “The impact of our sessions has been positive. It is a good way to meet new people, to meet up and work as team, and to communicate with each other.”

We at Active Essex are delighted to see groups like Ability Using Sport creating fun, accessible opportunities to get active – helping to build the confidence of young people in our community. We are extremely pleased to hear that the sessions have so far seen success, and are adapting and growing to support more children and young people in Colchester and Maldon.

If you are interested in finding out more about Ability Using Sport, check out their Facebook page for details. You can also find activities and groups local to you, suitable to your needs, abilities and lifestyle by checking out our Find Your Active Campaign on our website.