Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU) recently announced that it had been officially recognised as an associate member of the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS).
The EFDS aims to promote active lifestyles through sport and physical activity for disabled people in England.
With this announcement, NUSU became the first Student Union in the country to be awarded the title of associate member.
The news comes as reward for work within the Union towards providing more opportunities for disabled people to get involved with sport.
In September this year the Student Union launched Inclusive Newcastle, a disability sports program designed to give everyone an equal opportunity to access sport.
The scheme provides a wide range of sporting services which hope to remove any barriers that disabled people may face when wanting to participate in sport and physical activity.
“We’re delighted to become the first Students’ Union in the country to gain this accreditation and look forward to working closely with EFDS to maximise the potential of Inclusive Newcastle, ensuring all of our students have a fair sporting chance whilst at Newcastle University,” explained Liam Isaac, Coordinator of Inclusive Newcastle.
“This is an exciting time for us and we can’t wait to continue.”
Inclusive Newcastle is aimed at students of all abilities and includes the delivery of para-sports as well simply providing a support network for students requiring assistance or reassurance.
The program works closely with local clubs and organisations and provides transport to the Percy Hedley Sports Academy.
The Academy runs a number of para-sports such as Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Handball, Boccia, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Rugby and Powerchair Football.
In October this year, Inclusive Newcastle also delivered its first on-campus para-sport.
Polybat, an adapted form of Table Tennis with a lowered table and no net, sees players of all abilities seated at either end of the table.
"We're Delighted to become the first students' union in the country to gain this accreditation."
The game proved very popular with a number of students and there are plans in place to create a Polybat league within the University’s Hall Sport structure.
The University’s work towards maximising opportunities for disabled people to get involved with sport comes after the EFDS’s Lifestyle Report in 2013, which found that seven in ten disabled people wanted to increase their physical activity.
Barry Horne, EFDS’s Chief Executive said, “Our vision ‘disabled people are active for life’ is a powerful proposition, but for that vision to be realised, it will take a variety of influential organisations aspiring for the same goal.”
Our ongoing recruitment of Associate Members will benefit all of our strategies and build a bigger platform for change.
That is why we’re proud to welcome Newcastle University Students’ Union as a new Associate Member and look forward to working with them over the coming years.”