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Disabled children to get sporting boost

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Disabled children in Worcestershire are set to benefit from the recruitment of two specialist disability sports development officers.

The two University of Worcester graduates have been employed by The Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire, thanks to funding from the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme - a national government initiative for disabled children.

The main aim of the initiative is to increase the number and frequency of opportunities on offer to children with a disability as well as increasing the variety and range of sports and activities available.

Sophie Clarke-Hackston has recently completed an MSc in Sports Management at the University of Worcester, with her previous roles including a Playground to Podium Co-ordinator for the Sports Partnership, a Sport Unlimited Co-ordinator for Worcester City Council and both instructor and assistant manager at Top Barn Activity Centre. A keen sportswomen, Sophie was also Women’s Captain and Secretary for the University’s rowing club while studying for her Masters and was instrumental in setting up Swansea University’s Rowing Club where she studied her first degree. Importantly, Sophie also has experience with disabled children, having worked in a disabled summer camp in Canada.

Adam McEvoy, who graduated from the University of Worcester in June with a BSc in Sports Studies, is also a Level 1 qualified disabled football coach. Adam’s other successes with disabled sports people include volunteering for West Bromwich Albion’s football club, coaching their blind football team.

Stephen Brewster, Director of The Partnership, said: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome Sophie and Adam to our team. They are both committed and energetic sports professionals and will help us in driving forward the expansion of both new and existing mainstream and specialist recreational provision for disabled children, young people and their families in Worcestershire.”

It is the first time the Sports Partnership has employed dedicated disability sports officers.

Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC) is the government's transformation programme for disabled children's services in England. The programme is jointly led by the Department for Education – previously the Department for Children, Schools & Families - and the Department of Health. The programme focuses on developing short breaks, accessible childcare, transition support and parent forums. The government is investing substantial new money to ensure disabled children and young people have a far better chance of fulfilling their potential. Until now services for disabled children have sometimes been insufficient to enable families with disabled children to enjoy aspects of life other families take for granted.

At the forefront of increasing participation in sport and active recreation in the two counties, The Sports Partnership Herefordshire & Worcestershire is an alliance of the seven local authorities and two primary care trusts (PCTs) of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Sport England, the University of Worcester, National Governing Bodies of sport (NGB`s) and other key organisations.