On average, a staggering one-in-four of the UK population has an impairment or health condition. With a large percentage of disabled people not actively participating in sports, yet demonstrating a desire to do more, we thought we’d highlight just how easy it is to offer gymnastics to all, and the steps you can take in your club.
The enjoyment and health benefits that gymnastics can offer every single one of us, regardless of ability are great. Embracing inclusivity opens up your club to host of new skills, talents, energy and enthusiasm from a large percentage of the Welsh population and increase membership levels as a result.
Disability Sport Wales has designed the Insport programmes, which Welsh Gymnastics are proud to support and embed in our practices. The programmes aid the development of inclusion and practices that will ensure that clubs are confident to provide opportunities for people with disabilities in a number of ways
The Insport accreditation offers four incremental standards to gymnastic clubs, against which a set of criteria must be met. To get your club recognised for your inclusive approach to gymnastics in the community, here’s a snapshot of what each of the accreditations require:
Ribbon is the foundation level accreditation and is entirely focused around a club’s willingness to become an all-inclusive gymnastics club, broadening your awareness, and the completion of the certain paperwork. Your marketing materials will need to be produced in an accessible format. If inclusive gymnastics is important to you as a coach, then gaining ‘Ribbon’ is incredibly easy for you to do and goes a very long way in terms of enhancing local opportunities to disables people in your area. You may already be delivering a large proportion of Ribbon, so why not take the steps now to get a nationally recognised accreditation?
The next rung on the ladder is bronze and requires the awareness of inclusivity to spread amongst all your existing staff, and any future new recruits - ensuring commitment and buy-in from all. Certain training requirements will have to be outlined and any upskilling required should have taken place. To receive bronze, you will have to deliver a proportion of your gymnastic classes in a local accessible venue, such as a leisure centre. On the marketing side, data collection has to take place. If you keep up-to-date records for all of your members, then you are probably ticking that box already.
Silver requires you to nominate a dedicated ‘Volunteer Coordinator’ and ensure all of your lead coaches and volunteers have received Disability Inclusion Training. Selection policies and procedures must be updated to reflect your adoption of inclusive gymnastics, and your club must also have an up-to-date website.
Safeguarding and first aid training plays a big part in the Gold accreditation, and your club must have a technical lead for disability and a trained Equity Officer. Club representation in a disability sport event, or an event that includes disabled gymnasts is essential. Regular communications with parents and gymnasts through newsletters or website announcements is required, and club nominations for local and national contribution to gymnastics are favoured.
We are proud to say that 36 of Welsh Gymnastics clubs are already on the journey to achieving Insport recognition and 4 clubs have already been successful in achieving gold accreditation for the work they are undertaking in championing inclusive sport
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all Welsh Gymnastic clubs were recognised for the great work that they are doing to ensure that gymnastics is accessible for all. As we have explored, the first step to a ribbon is simply your willingness to be open to offer gymnastics for all. It really couldn’t be simpler, and Welsh Gymnastics can offer you lots of help and support.