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Inclusive Adventure 2016

​It’s been a great first year for The Outdoor Partnership’s new project - ‘Inclusive Adventure’. The project is all about inspiring more disabled people of all ages from Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd to get active in the outdoors. 

We challenged 383 disabled people, their family and friends to give an outdoor adventure activity a go. Activities included sailing, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), rowing, indoor climbing and cycling. These were a mixture of one off introductory sessions and development sessions. 

We were fortunate that a number of outdoor activity clubs in the area were already catering for disabled people, but a number of the clubs felt that they would like to do more with the support of additional awareness courses and training in adaptive equipment.   

Since the Outdoor Partnership embarked on offering specific disability courses e.g. UK Disability Inclusion Training (Coaches & Volunteers), Climbing for all disability awareness in rock climbing and BCU foundation and intermediate Paddle ability courses, we have supported 65 club volunteers through these courses.  

Disability Sport Wales (DSW) has been key partners in developing the project. A number of outdoor activity clubs have been working hard to gain DSW club insport accreditation showing their commitment to inclusive provision. It’s impressive to see Conwy Sea Rowers hold the insport Silver accreditation and is working to achieve Gold, the highest standard.    

The Outdoor Partnership has been chosen by DSW to pilot the insport accreditation to include third sector organisations. With the help of Norman Greenhouse our DSW representative we will hope to gain Ribbon standard, the first stage of the accreditation early next year, fingers crossed!     

The Outdoor Partnership was approached by Gwynedd Disability Sport Wales officer with his vision of creating Gwynedd Accessible Cycling Hub. Two years of discussions had already taken place with other key partners and we’re happy to announce that now after three years the Gwynedd Accessible Cycling Hub was launched on the 10th November 2016. The Gwynedd Accessible Cycling Hub has opened up cycling possibilities for a number of disabled young people and adults in Gwynedd, this made possible by partnership working between key partners including Derwen and Beics Menai. We are excited to explore in the New Year how the Hub can be utilised by physiotherapists and occupational therapists who were an integral part of choosing the appropriate bikes for the Hub.   

Amlwch Canoe Club has been a great support to this project. They have celebrated receiving the DSW insport Bronze accreditation. They organised an open evening which saw a number of disabled young people participating, giving canoeing and kayaking a try at Holyhead Harbour. It was an evening that was successful due to the club volunteers and the support from Anglesey Disability Sport Wales Officer. It was such a success that the chairperson for the club, Phil Edwards thought he’d still be there at midnight as no one seemed particularly interested in getting off the water. In the New Year we hope to work with other paddle sport clubs in the area to replicate the success of Amlwch Canoe Club. 

Others that have been getting on the water are Anheddau Outdoors, Antur Waunfawr and Cymell. These three charitable organisations work with adults with learning difficulties and/or mental health. It’s been fantastic to see the feedback from the sessions they have attended. 

‘It’s been a great help in bringing together individuals, who would never normally take part in such activities, and help develop high levels of self-confidence and a huge help in the self-discovery for the vulnerable people that our charity supports’. 

Anheddau Outdoors has been providing hill walking and climbing sessions for many years but have always struggled to provide paddle sports. It’s been fantastic to be able to assist Anheddau Outdoors to get to a stage where they are close to being able to provide paddle sport. Over the past year we have provided a number of development sessions for their service users and it’s great to see the difference it makes to the individuals. The focus of the sessions was also to train two of Anheddau Outdoors staff to become qualified coaches, a process that involves a lot of dedication. They trained to get their skills up to a high level of competency, attended a 2* proficiency award, Foundation safety and rescue course, Level 1 paddlesport coach training and assessment, 3* proficiency award and a Level 2 paddle sport coach training and assessment to be completed in the new year.    

The Beacon Climbing Centre is a brilliant resource in North Wales and provides climbing for all ages. We wanted to work with the centre to try and encourage more disabled people to access this resource. Development sessions were organised for disabled young people (sight impairment, hearing impairment and learning difficulties) to experience climbing. The sessions also introduced parent to climbing and the skills of spotting and belaying which meant after six sessions the parents were competent to be able to return to the centre with their children unassisted by an instructor. 

‘I thought the sessions were beneficial for my son because it helped increase his confidence in his abilities and it also helped with his motor skills which he has issues with’

We were fortunate in been able to purchase adaptive climbing equipment which opened up climbing for individuals who have lower limb impairments. The equipment enabled individuals to hoist themselves off the ground parallel to the climbing wall while sitting in a parachute harness. If individuals have limited upper body strength the instructor is able to hoist the individual for them to experience ascending off the ground. The Beacon Climbing Centre will be the guardians of the equipment and will be available to individuals, families, charities and centres to use with one of the Beacon Climbing Centre’s instructors or we can provide training on the use of the equipment. The same equipment has also been purchased for the Gogarth Climbing Wall and Harlech climbing wall.

These climbing sessions has opened up a conversation on how we can extend invites to the SEN schools of Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd to join the annual 5x60 Secondary School Bouldering Competitions in February and March 2017. This could also open up the possibilities of extending the invites to the annual mountain bike competition and kayaking competitions.    

Inclusive Adventure project would not have been successful without the funding from Big Lottery Fund, CAE, Children in Need, Morrisons Foundation, People’s Postcode Trust, Sport Wales and the WCVA.

If you’d like to know more about the Inclusive Adventure project please contact the Outdoor Partnership on 01690720167