Over 50 young people took part in the first Active Essex PowerHouse Games as part of a programme of inclusive sports festivals aimed at secondary school pupils.
The events are being delivered in collaboration with charity, Power2Inspire, at schools across Essex to raise awareness of inclusive sport and encourage mainstream and Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools to work together.
The goal is to increase participation in disability sport, raise standards and sporting aspirations and to create and strengthen positive relationships between schools. The games are challenging assumptions around ability and disability and providing all pupils with the chance to take part in high quality, accessible sporting experiences.
Gary Sullivan OBE, Chair of Active Essex, said: “Working in collaboration with Power2Inspire has been extremely valuable; not only are we able to promote these fantastic events and offer pupils the chance to try something new, we’ve got a real opportunity to highlight the importance of ensuring sport and physical activity is accessible to all young people.
“Our first PowerHouse Games event at Treetops School in Thurrock saw pupils welcome children from Grays Convent High School and it was great to see both schools taking a united approach to engaging children in the benefits of sport.
“With the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming up, the PowerHouse events are also a great chance to show pupils some of the different sports that will be represented in Rio.”
The PowerHouse Games promote a strong message of inclusion and integration and pupils are given the opportunity to take part in adapted sports, including Boccia, sitting volleyball and visually impaired football.
A further 15 events and 30 assembly roadshows will take place across Essex during the 100-day countdown to the Olympic and Paralympic Games which started yesterday.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Sport and Physical Activity, said: “Bringing together SEN and mainstream schools in this way is a great approach to breaking down barriers and ensuring sport and physical activity is accessible to all children.
“The PowerHouse Games also highlight the importance of being, and staying, active and it’s extremely positive that both schools that took part in the first event have expressed an interest in continuing their partnership.
“I’m pleased all the children that took part enjoyed themselves and I hope they’ve been inspired to continue some of the activities in the future.”
John Willis, CEO and founder of Power2inspire, said: “We feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to work with Active Essex in this way and are enjoying rolling out the PowerHouse Games to Essex schools.
“Taking part in sport is one of the most empowering things we can do in life and we believe that everybody should have the same chance to participate, no matter who they are or their level of ability; let’s make sport inclusive for everyone.”