Focusing on ability at Tweedbank festival

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Children from 10 schools across the Scottish Borders enjoyed an action-packed and sunshine-filled day of sport at Tweedbank Leisure Complex.

Taking part in the annual Borders Sport and Leisure Disability Sports Festival, sponsored by Scottish Building Society, the youngsters were provided with the opportunity to try out six different sporting activities: football, rugby, tennis, athletics, boccia and hockey.

Alan Oliver, Borders Sport and Leisure’s disability sport development officer, said: “The weather helped to make the event even more successful.

“The children really entered into the spirit of the festival, putting in their best effort, and it was great to have so many local clubs, coaches and volunteers along to help teach and inspire them.”

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, added: “We want to make sport and activity accessible to as many people as possible and the sponsorship we receive for this event from Scottish Building Society means we can attract experienced coaches and provide the specialised equipment so everyone can participate in some capacity. It was brilliant to see how much enjoyment the children got from taking part and to witness them demonstrating what they are really capable of.

“This festival provides a springboard for the children to discover some of the disability sports on offer in the Borders.

“We are fortunate to have some great clubs that are committed to making participating in sport as accessible as possible to those with disabilities and I hope this festival will lead to many of the children joining a local club.”

A showcase for disability sport, the festival has played a key role in previous years in helping to identify young sporting talent, including Patrick Wilson from Peebles, who is now a member of the GB Boccia team.

Alex Moffat, area manager, Scottish Building Society, added: “We were delighted to once again sponsor this local disability sports festival. It was a fantastic experience for all involved.”

As part of their disability sport plan 2014-2017, Border Sport and Leisure are devoted to ensuring that children, adults and athletes of all ages and abilities, with a physical, sensory and learning disability, have equivalent opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity in a vibrant environment throughout the Borders.

They are committed to ensuring that all individuals have the preference to participate recreationally or, for those with aspiration, to compete locally, regionally or internationally, focusing on ability rather than disability.

Contact aoliver@bslt.org for more information.