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Islington takes on Paralympic legacy with new disability sports initiative

Islington is keeping alive London’s Paralympic legacy with a huge disability sports project – offering activities from badminton to Zumba – entitled ‘All in Islington’.
 
Some 200 disabled residents were consulted about the initiative, which offers a rich range of activities, such as:
 
• Cycling;
• Football, including a league for players with mental health issues and learning disabilities;
• Swimming lessons for people with learning disabilities or a physical disability, and a wheelchair to be bought for Archway leisure centre;
• Taster sessions for badminton, dancing, Pilates, yoga and Zumba;
• Training for disabled people to become a sports coach; and
• Disability training for leisure centre staff, fitness coaches and sports coaches.
 
The project – funded by Islington Council, Sport England, and GLL – was officially launched on Thursday 6 August in the Royal Oak Suite of the Emirates Stadium, N7. The Deputy Mayor and Deputy Leader of Islington Council attended.  
 
At the launch, hosted by Arsenal in the Community, guests were able to try out specially adapted bikes that will be used for cycling sessions for disabled people. The event marked the start of a new regular cycling session for disabled people. The sessions, run by Pedal Power, take places weekly between 10.00am and 13.00pm on Thursdays on the Podium outside the Arsenal Emirates ground.
 
Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Janet Burgess, said: “The Paralympics saw the whole country come together in celebration of disability and sport. The council is committed to supporting all of our residents to live healthy, independent lives and it’s vital that we keep that energy and momentum going in the years that pass.
 
“This fantastic new project – which adds to the wealth of sports and activities the borough already offers to disabled people – offer something for everyone.  It might even help create a future Paralympic champion from Islington.”
 
Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England’s Director of Insight, said: “I am delighted that we are supporting Islington All In with an investment of £165,000.  The project has worked hard to ask disabled people what sports they would like to play, and it is great to see such a broad range of activities being made available to help many more disabled people choose sport.”
 
The project has brought together a number of organisations including Access to Sports, Arsenal in the Community, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Centre 404, Disability Sports Coach, Elfrida Society, GLL, Interactive, Islington Football Development Partnership, London Sport, Mencap and Pedal Power.
 
Part of the project is to make Islington’s leisure centres more accessible to disabled people. Recently, Ironmonger Row Baths became one of just three centres in England to receive an “excellent” accreditation score, as part of the Inclusive Fitness Initiative.
 
Last year, half (49.9%) of the Islington population over the age of 14 participated in sport once a week. This is the fourth highest rate in England and the second highest in London.
 
The 2014/15 rate of 48.8% for people over the age 16 is the borough’s highest rate for sports participation among this age group since monitoring began in October 2005-2006, when Islington was then ranked 158th with 34%.
 
The event also marked the launch of the All in Islington website, which brings together all sport and activity on offer to disabled people in Islington. For more information please visit www.allinislington.org.uk.
AInIs launch - Aug 2015 - Deputy Mayor 1.jpg

Deputy Mayor of Islington, Cllr Kat Fletcher, tries out one of the specially adapted bikes that will be used for cycling sessions for disabled people.

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AInIs launch - Aug 2015 - Mr Troy Burry.jpg

Mr Troy Burry, who attends Daylight Day Centre, test drives one of the specially adapted bikes that will be used for cycling sessions for disabled people.

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