Sport is path to respect

From left, Richie Maclaren, Jasmine Harmer, Hannah Malyon, Katie-Jane Kemp and Susan Charles
From left, Richie Maclaren, Jasmine Harmer, Hannah Malyon, Katie-Jane Kemp and Susan Charles
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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More than 150 Portsmouth pupils got a taste of disability sports including wheelchair basketball thanks to a team effort by a football club and a construction company.

The event, held at City of Portsmouth Girls’ School in Fratton, marked the successful roll-out of Respectability – a scheme pioneered by Portsmouth Football Club’s Respect Programme with a £25,000 grant secured by Warings.

Respectability focuses on giving severely disabled children a chance to take part in sporting activities supported by disengaged able-bodied children who are taking steps for a better future.

With the Paralympics games around the corner, the event at City Girls helped youngsters get a better awareness of what it is like to have a disability.

Taster sessions last week included a range of sports adapted for disabled players including wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, wheelchair football and goalball.

Some pupils were blindfolded while playing basketball and others used a wheelchair to play football.

Charlotte Bishop, project co-ordinator, said: ‘We want to get as many young people from across the city as possible to think about what it’s like to be disabled through the engagement of sport.

‘Without the support of Warings and its volunteers pupils simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain such first-hand experience.

‘The session is proving extremely popular with pupils and we’re keen for more schools to get involved.

‘The pupils all had good fun and really got stuck into things. It gave them an exciting new approach to their sports lessons.’

Bev Scammell, deputy head at City Girls, said the event was a real ‘eye-opener’ for her pupils.

She said: ‘The girls themselves said they were able to empathise with a disabled child and I really believe this has deepened their appreciation and understanding of what it would be like to live with a disability.’