Access All Areas: On Disability And Sport

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We made a video with Triple A Disability Group about the inspiring disabled leaders of sport in Bristol.

Football, for example, is a beautiful game.

I am a part of a group for disabled young people called Triple A (Access All Areas). We came together just over a year ago to raise awareness of disability among non-disabled young people. We have come to the realisation that unless you are raised with someone who has disabilities, you may have difficulty realising what it means to be disabled. If you are disabled there may also be a lack of understanding of your needs, and you may have trouble getting involved in mainstream society; particularly in activities such as sports.

Football, for example, is a beautiful game. But advertising promotions turn sports stars into air brushed models, sporting gods and goddesses and this becomes the bench mark that millions of young boys and girls aspire to become. But where are the role models for the young people with disabilities?

Media coverage of disability sport is limited to the every-four-year-spectacle of the Paralympics; but what about the ordinary everyday sports that the average person can relate to. You may be led to believe that disabled people don’t play football, at any level, due to the lack of media coverage on disabled football. But they do play football and are very passionate about what they do. They are just overlooked by the media. You really need to know where to look to find even a glimmer of these fantastic teams and clubs.

I am lucky enough to volunteer at Wednesday Friendship Club…

I am lucky enough to volunteer at Wednesday Friendship Club, a club for young people with learning and physical disabilities, based at Southmead Youth Centre. There is a young man there called Ben Martin, he loves football. Ben’s love of the game, his passion, and drive has taken him to the top of his football sporting rank and even representing his country. I doubt if you have ever heard of him, but he is a local hero at the Wednesday group. Ben is profoundly deaf and the England team he played for is the England Deaf Team. Maybe that is why you haven’t heard of him, because there is no common knowledge that there is a deaf football league let alone a national team. There is a massive disability Football league with 700 teams playing in leagues up and down the country.

We decided to make a short film to celebrate Ben’s achievements and to show other disabled young people the opportunities that are available to them; because it doesn’t matter if you are deaf, blind, with or without the use of your limbs, or have a learning difficulty if you love football there is a team waiting for you. So come on get your boots on and get out there, because just like Ben if you work hard and believe you get to the top, you will. The same passion that runs through many famous athletes, runs through Ben. If he made it, why can’t you?

Disability sports activities are huge in Bristol.

Here is some links to some clubs and organisations throughout the city.

Bristol Deaf Football Club

UK Deaf Sport  

England Deaf Football

Disability Football Directory  

Bristol Rovers Community Trust  

Bristol & South Glos Union of Disability Sports 

Also, check out some of these disability groups in Bristol

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We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.

In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important. 

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