On Thursday 8 December, 57 disabled people aged from 5 to 70 attended the WheelPower Wheelchair Sports Festival at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire. The event was organised by WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport and it provided all those who took part with the opportunity to try a variety of sports including Boccia, Tennis, Wheelchair Basketball, Archery, and Athletics. 

The event was WheelPower’s third wheelchair sports festival of the year, taking place at the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. These life changing events bring together disabled members of the community, local coaches, and volunteers to enjoy sport, have fun and meet new people. For many this is their first introduction to wheelchair sport and an insight into the opportunities available in their local area. Throughout the day the coaches delivered a series of taster sessions and activities to all of the physically disabled children and adults who attended, all whilst being supported by a wonderful group of volunteers.

Hear from some of those who took part and what they enjoyed most about their day of wheelchair sport with WheelPower:

"Its been a really good day and I would absolutely recommend the WheelPower Sports Festival. I really liked the archery and it was something I’d never done before. Maybe I could be the next Robin Hood! Thank you so much, its been such a great experience to meet new people and try new things." Jasmin, 19 from Buckinghamshire

"I may have come to it late but I realise that I need to keep moving and it’s been a real surprise today. It’s the first day I’ve been able to try my sports wheelchair chair, so even going around the building and learning how it moves has been great. I’ve loved everything about the Sports Festival and everyone’s been so friendly and relaxed. Once you come along to an event like this and tried it you will come back again and again. Thank you WheelPower." Anne, 70 from Lee on Solent.

Young athlete playing table tennis at the sports festival

"I love sport and have really enjoyed the experience (... and even got to miss school so that was good!) I’ve not played wheelchair tennis for about 4 years and very much enjoyed playing it again, as well as the archery which I'd never done before in a chair. It's been good to meet more relatable people and make new friends, and meet really good players of different sports. I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in different types of sports and don’t know how to play it in a disability kind of way. These WheelPower events show what is possible and it’s been very fun." George, 14 from Berkshire

"I’ve been to WheelPower events before and after my mum saw this session she asked me if I wanted to come and I said yes straight away. Sport and exercise is always quite fun and I enjoyed Archery the best today. Coming to the WheelPower Festival is a good way to meet people and enjoy sports with others." Ruth, 19 from Chesham, Bucks

Team of boccia players

“WheelPower put on a wonderful event for my children Sebby and Lottie to explore wheelchair sports. They got to try archery, boccia and javelin for the first time, as well as having a go at basketball and tennis, and even got to have a dance in wheelchairs too! It was great to see volunteera and coaches giving up their time to show disabled people what can be achieved and the opportunities out there to participate in sports with friends. It was fantastic that Lottie could also experience playing in the wheelchair as well. They both had a great time, thank you WheelPower.” Parent

"I wanted my son George to experience some more wheelchair sports, meet children who are like him and have a fun day that was a break from school. He loves playing sport (table tennis and wheelchair basketball) and he’s a very sociable person. This is what sports about, the connection and the social side, and not just health benefits. Playing sport and being here today has given him a real sense of achievement and will help with his self confidence. I’ve also had a nice time chatting to the other parents as there are not many like us. The volunteers have been amazing too. Thank you WheelPower for a great day." Melanie (Parent) from Berkshire

Team of WheelPower volunteers

"Volunteering today has been very good and so eye opening. This is the first time I’ve been involved in disability sports, and it makes me really humble to see how much resilience people have and how much positivity people get some playing sports and taking part. I’ve always wanted to do something that’s closer to actual people needing help and my day to day job is very far from that. I feel like I’m making more of difference in the world (in a small capacity) and this is what I’m looking for. I’ve had a great time, met lots of amazing people and will definitely be back again in 2023." Francis from Amersham

"It was genuinely a fantastic day, very humbling and eye opening to say the least. I'm really looking forward to supporting more sports events next year, hopefully with some more members of my team. Thank you WheelPower for putting on a fabulous day." Shelley

"The Buckinghamshire Sports Festival was a great event for our member coaches, who loved the opportunity to volunteer. They gained some valuable experience working with people outside their own group, and we would love to be involved again next year. Well done on such a marvellous day all round." Local Talkback Volunteers

Thank you to our amazing Volunteers

Volunteer with WheelPower

Thank you to our friends at Wheelz In Motion Dance

Wheelz in Motion team in action

"We had a fantastic time demonstrating our wheelchair dance skills at the WheelPower Sports Festival with over 60 participants of all ages! How wonderful to get everyone to join in with us to Fairground Attraction’s super tune ‘Perfect’. It was our first public performance, and we are so pleased with how everything has come together" Wheelz in Motion Dance

Read the Press Release

Check out the full album of photos on Flickr

Flickr Photo Album

If you have any questions regarding upcoming events please contact the WheelPower Sports team sport@wheelpower.org.uk or give us a call on 01296 395995