England Athletics’ vision is for athletics to be an inclusive sport where everyone belongs and can flourish, regardless of ability or background.
Blackheath and Bromley AC are advocates of this, having set up Street to Stadium as part of their inclusion initiatives, a project linked with local schools to encourage Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) students to try athletics and get involved in the club.
We caught up with the club to find out more.
How did Street to Stadium start?
“We were looking at the classification process for athletes and were then able to link with some local schools. That was the trigger point for us to get the academy up and running.”
This project is rooted in collaboration between the club and local community and they have credited the success of this project to the commitment to ensure all the students have the opportunity to enjoy athletics.
“The club members have come together and put a lot of effort into making sure that the academy has been running well and that the transition from the academy to the club has run equally well. It’s been a very enjoyable programme for everybody involved.”
How has the programme benefitted the club?
“It's made the club far more inclusive. We have built this fantastic facility and wanted to use it to bring the whole community and club closer together. So for us, it’s been a win win process.”
How do the students benefit?
Whilst athletics is at the core of the Street to Stadium programme, the benefits for the students involved extend far beyond the sporting realms. Nehemiah explained how the programme has helped him to improve his confidence:
“At the start I was not that confident in myself, but now I am slowly improving and now I feel like I can do anything. Anything I believe in to do. I plan to keep dreaming and dream big.”
Where do they want the programme to go in the future?
Blackheath and Bromley want to continue to expand the programme to give everyone the chance to experience athletics for the first time and provide a platform for them to continue improving to reach their personal goals.
“We just want to expand, and be far more inclusive. We're also looking at gaining the Special Olympics accreditation. So that's another focus. ”
What an incredible inclusive initiative to be part of – we want to congratulate everyone involved for being awarded London Community Project of the Year at the Regional Volunteer Awards.