A project that has got at least 1,500 inactive people in Wales moving has picked up a brand new award for its work.
Today Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) has been named the inaugural Getting Wales Active winner for the Wales Sport Awards 2018.
The project, running across Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), is managed by Disability Sport Wales, thanks to Spirit of 2012 funding.
With the benefits of physical activity on mental health dominating the news agenda, GOGA sees disabled and non-disabled people take part in sporting opportunities together.
Michelle Daltry, Partnership Manager at Disability Sport Wales explained: “We have been delighted to work in partnership to explore new and innovative ways of engaging disabled and non-disabled people who, prior to GOGA, have been considered as inactive.
“It has been inspiring to see the growth of these programmes and the journeys that the children, families, coaches and volunteers have been through.”
In RCT the focus is on getting disabled people and families of all backgrounds active together by enjoying children’s rugby, walking football and autism-friendly swimming for families.
One of the children who plays in the inclusive rugby sessions, Daniel Jacob Roberts, aged 11 explained: “I have autism. I love playing rugby and I have even made some new friends.”
In Pembrokeshire, the programme takes advantage of the beautiful coastline with a focus on disability access and the Welsh outdoors.
In Wrexham, the very popular ‘Ladies Night’ helps get local women running, playing tennis, golf and more.
Sharon Ritchie, 55, who took part in Ladies Golf said: “Sport has never been something I have ever engaged in due to me not feeling comfortable enough or even capable of being able to do it.
“I am now regularly playing golf within an accessible environment by an inclusive coach whilst participating in something I enjoy.
“Golf has changed my own life and the other ladies, it has increased my confidence, self-esteem and made me believe in myself.
“I now have a hobby that I love and that I can share with my family and newly made friends.”
Debbie Lye, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012 added: “To date, more than 13,000 people have benefited from GOGA funding across 18 locations in the UK, including Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taff in Wales.
“We’re so proud that the wonderful work of our Disability Sport Wales partnership has been recognised with this award.
“GOGA participants don’t just boost their physical wellbeing, their mental health also improves in a sociable environment where they have fun and make new friends – there are wins all round.”
Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have an exceptional standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.
“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”