In the UK, Choice promotes diversity and inclusion via innovative and collaborative projects with corporates, social enterprises and community organisations.
To date we have delivered several development projects in the UK, from equality and rights based projects, through to disability sports programmes.
Our disability strategic focus is currently in the Inclusion of Disabled people in Employment, Arts and Sports (IDEAS). At present we are focusing on delivering projects around disability sports and social inclusion. We also believe that sports can be an effective tool for promoting diversity and inclusion in the UK.
Current UK projects
As part of its disability sports and fitness programme, Choice promotes Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Tennis, Boccia and inclusive fitness.
We are also promoting Wheelchair Tennis with the support of the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust in East London. We aim to develop further projects and deliver activities to continue promoting adaptive sports and inclusive fitness in the UK.
Disability Sports and Social Inclusion
London and Gravesend
We support the delivery of Wheelchair Basketball training at East Ham Leisure Centre, London, as well as the development of a ‘satellite club’ in Gravesend, Kent.
We initiated the ‘London Defenders’ Wheelchair Basketball club in East London. This is a registered club with the Great British Wheelchair Basketball Association (GBWBA). We are working on with the capacity development of this new club.
In Leicester, in partnership with the Peepul Enterprise we are promoting multi-sports and inclusive fitness for disabled people.
We deliver local sports workshops and related activities to engage with the local community and other stakeholders. We aim to develop this project further in a sustainable way to:
- Promote inclusive disability sports and fitness sessions
- Train disabled people as fitness instructors, in partnership with Instructability
- Develop best practice guidance and support the inclusion of BAME disabled people in sports and fitness
- Provide guidance and support to existing sports and fitness clubs in order that they can reach more disabled people from ethnic minority backgrounds
Wheelchair Tennis Awareness Sessions
We promote Wheelchair Tennis in East London and Leicester and are keen to develop longer term projects to continue and roll out sessions on a larger scale.
At present we support the Bromley Tennis Centre in delivering Wheelchair Tennis awareness sessions for Level 2 Tennis Coaches. This course informs of the specific impairment groups (Wheelchair, Visually Impaired, Deaf and Learning Disabilities), and the implications for working with these impairment groups individually as well as in integrated sessions, and how to deliver sessions accordingly. Practical elements of the training include participation in a ‘disability simulation’ allowing coaches to experience the challenges faced by disabled people, followed by an opportunity to coach individuals with impairment.
UK - Overseas Linked
We promote diversity and inclusion in the UK and overseas and in doing so, we develop collaborative opportunities, creating links between our UK and overseas activities where relevant.
Our UK-overseas linked activities to date have mainly focused on India, encouraging UK corporates, NGOs and the government sector, diaspora Indians in the UK, and individuals with a general interest, all to get involved.
Our past UK-overseas linked activities include:
- Seminars on promoting CSR, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and in India, hosted by Penningtons LLP in London
- Roundtable discussion on CSR, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and in India, hosted by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- ‘Food for Thoughts’ fundraising event hosted by Taste of India Indian restaurant
These activities were very successful and directly supported our projects in India. They had a positive impact on all stakeholders involved including; diaspora Indian communities in the UK, CSR diversity and inclusion practitioners, and the general public.
Further to our successes, we aim to continuously develop and deliver projects that create a platform for collaboration between the UK and overseas. We aim to continue making a positive impact on diverse communities including disabled people, providing more opportunities for international collaboration and a platform for social innovation.
We are currently developing plans for our future projects which include disability sports coach development e programmes, exchange programmes, and networking events for which we are continuously exploring partners and sponsors.
Choice’s strategy for international development is focused on the Inclusion of disabled people in Employment, Arts and sports (IDEAS) and our current international focus is on disability development in India.
Prior to initiating our project in India we conducted thorough research and organised many conferences and seminars in disability equality, disability sports and social inclusion. We used these methods to identify the needs of disabled people in India, to engage with local organisations, local leaders and other stakeholders. We also used these opportunities to identify our best interventions, in line with our strategic focus on IDEAS.
We identified gaps in leadership development and sports development for disabled people in India. We engaged with many disabled people who were keen to progress into leadership roles but lacked the skills, experience and opportunities. We initially explored launching our innovative Leadership Empowerment Accessibility and Development (LEAD) project in India, whilst simultaneously introducing disability sports via Wheelchair Basketball and Boccia. The LEAD concept stemmed from Scope UK’s Fast Track programme which supported disabled people into leadership roles in the UK and we were keen to implement a similar initiative in India. However, we did not gain a great deal of interest from corporates and other local organisations to partner with, hence realised it was possibly early stages for this concept. Meanwhile, there was positive interest and support for disability sports development in India, hence we progressed with our disability sports projects and initiated our first disability sports development workshops in 2013, specifically Wheelchair Basketball and Boccia in South India, in partnership with a local NGO, Yes We Too Can (YWTC).
We delivered coach development and community sports leadership workshops whilst initiating the first Wheelchair Basketball club in India, the ‘Chennai Eagles’ in 2013. We also delivered sports development workshops across five states in India, introducing the sport across the country and empowering disabled people to develop their confidence and discover their potential.
With this success, Choice facilitated the inception of the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India , as well as to gain recognition by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation. Choice, in partnership with ICRC, supported the WBFI to deliver the first national tournament for Wheelchair Basketball in India in Dec 2014, which has successfully taken shape and is now in its third year.
Choice also introduced Boccia in partnership with YWTC and EKTHA, local NGOs. We conducted workshops in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Visakhapatnam. There is a lot of interest from disabled people and NGOs in India, however, there is still a huge need for further capacity development to promote and ensure sustainable development of the sport in India.
Inclusive Fitness and Disability Multi-Sports Development – India
From our experience of working with disabled people in India and research into their unmet needs, we found that disabled people in India face multiple barriers to inclusion mainly due to a lack of resources, infrastructure, and a dismissive culture compounded by negative attitudes.
Through our work we realised that sports is a great tool for inclusion, developing confidence and self-esteem, as well as an opportunity for leadership development for disabled people. We found that Wheelchair Basketball and Boccia are two incredible sports, underdeveloped in India but with great potential. We also realised training more disabled people in sports would solve the visible lack of disabled sports leaders and create role models for aspiring disabled sportspersons in India.
We are now in the process of analysing and evaluating the outcomes from our activities to date, identifying further gaps and the need for future interventions, with the aim of launching further innovative projects in India and adopting these to other developing countries too.
We are currently exploring partners, funders and sponsors for the following projects in India:
- Capacity development of wheelchair basketball clubs and state associations
- Boccia Sports development
- Wheelchair Tennis development
- Inclusive Fitness
- LEAD India Click here for more details