On Wednesday 31 January 54 local disabled people took part in the Yorkshire WheelPower Sports Festival at the Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield. The free event was organised by the national charity for wheelchair sport, WheelPower, and gave those who attended the opportunity to try a number of sports from Para Ice Hockey to Wheelchair Tennis.

This annual event is supported by the Sheffield City Trust and Move More Sheffield. It was first held in 2023 and this year saw increased participant numbers and even more sports to try! Local coaches and volunteers were on hand to guide the attendees who ranged from 6 to 90 years of age, proving that age is no barrier to the enjoyment of sport.

Sheffield has WheelPower!

The sports available in 2024 included Wheelchair Rugby League with the Sheffield Eagles, Boccia with the Sheffield Smashers, Wheelchair Tennis, Table Tennis and finally, Para Ice Hockey with the Sheffield Steelkings. Who said, “We had the privilege of introducing Para Ice Hockey to lots of new people at the Yorkshire WheelPower Sports Festival. For many it was the first time and our team did a brilliant job showing off the club and the sport. We hope to see many of those we met today in a sledge again soon and look forward to doing more events like this in the future. Great job everybody.”.

One of those in who came along for the day was 16 year old Evie from Sheffield who is a full time wheelchair user with multiple complex disabilities. It was her first time at a WheelPower event and she said, “I loved it! It was so much fun and all the staff/volunteers were so lovely and inclusive. Thank you to WheelPower for the opportunity.”

Ashley travelled up to Sheffield from Leicestershire and was buzzing about the day when he returned home. “It was truly an amazing day and honestly the best experience I’ve had in a long time! Being able to understand para sport better and having the ability to participate was amazing! I made some amazing connections and I’ve come away feeling refreshed and motivated to try out some para sports in the future! Everyone starts somewhere right. Massive thanks to all of the staff and volunteers for making this day possible.”

The event was organised by Stoke Mandeville based WheelPower whose sports festivals visit various locations around the country every year. They introduce the many benefits of sport to new audiences, people of all ages and provide a starting place for many athletes who will go on to join local clubs and continue their interest in sport going forward.

Conor Harris, the WheelPower Sport Events and Development Officer said, “We absolutely loved coming back to Yorkshire and it was great seeing the Concord sports hall full of excitement with such a wide range of ages and abilities taking part. The event was full of happy faces and people willing to have a go at everything which made for a really great atmosphere. Being back in Sheffield for the second year was a fantastic experience and it was great to welcome so many new people to the event. In time I look forward to hearing from some of those who took part, and how this day was just the start of their journey into disability sport. Thank you again to the team in Sheffield Trust for supporting another successful event and we hope to see you again in 2025!”

"It was my first time at a WheelPower event in Sheffield. Living only 15 mins from venue and being a 60 year old woman this was by far the best event I've been too. I really enjoyed the day and it was very well organised. I got stuck in in the rugby, it was the best game and such a laugh! The festival really gave me a lift and I hope to see you next year." Julie from Sheffield

Flickr Photo Album

The WheelPower Sports Festivals take place throughout the year and are open to schools, local groups and individuals. Next up is … Wiltshire (22 February) Merseyside (14 March) and later in the year, Glasgow, London and Buckinghamshire. 

WheelPower Sports Events

For more information about the Sports Festivals email sport@wheelpower.org.uk or call the WheelPower Sports team on 01296 395995