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The First PowerHouseGames in Oxford

On Friday 26th April Oxford University held its very first PowerHouseGames! We are thrilled to have taken our inclusive sports to the famous Iffley Road Sports Complex, home of the first sub-4 minute mile.

A major thanks to Oxford SDG Impact Lab for supporting this project. Their mission and vision is, “to enable students to collaborate with partners to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, which include Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Partnerships to achieve these goals – all at the core of what we believe at Power2Inspire!

One of their programmes is the Oxford Sports Leadership Lab, which uses “sport as a platform to inspire, educate and further a greater sense of belonging locally and globally”. A partnership made to be!

Thanks to Ollie Cook, rowing champion, PowerHouseGames attendee, and fellow paddler on the 108 Challenge, who as a Programme Manager, brought it all together. Mishern Chetty, a Power2Inspire trustee and Said Business School alumnus, oiled the wheels of the partnership. Thanks to Edward, Alex (Impact Lab) and David (from Vincents) for making it happen and being so encouraging to our dreams of repeating the fun.

Why all the fuss?

Alex Laybourne (Power2Inspire CEO) stated it simply:

“The best first PowerHouseGames yet!”

With 26 students from Greyfriars School, a Catholic state school closest to the university, and 12 from John Watson School, a community special school, and 20 students from the Impact Lab and Vincents, twelve colourful teams competed through the morning in inclusive sports such as boccia, sitting volleyball and new age kurling.

Ollie Cook commented:

“There can’t be many occasions when you have former NFL players, Olympians, Paralympians and Blues athletes all coming together to try something new. And I certainly haven’t had as much fun being shown up on my lack of hand-eye coordination for ages!”

The teachers from John Watson were delighted. They remarked how relaxed they were – normally they have to keep very close eye/control on their charges, but so welcoming were the students and accommodating of the Greyfriars pupils that the teachers could watch and enjoy. Inclusion as it should be.

A number of the students observed the difference in the Greyfriars pupils with whom they had worked in the Michaelmas term – more confident, happier and very willing to include their fellows from John Watson. One lad, rather known for his self-absorption, was urging his teammates to pass to his John Watson teammate – “he’s open, he’s open!” even if he wasn’t – so keen was he to include him.

Thanks to Rosie Popa, Aussie Olympic gold medal winner, and Laurence Whiteley, British Paralympic gold medal winner, for presenting the medals – superstars everywhere I looked!

My final thanks go to Edith Cameron for the wonderful photos. Edith is so generous with her time and help – helping out massively at the start of last year’s 108 Challenge and volunteering here, I want to point you to her business, the Cotswold Canoe Hire Company. You will love going out on the River Thames from Lechlade – it is truly beautiful.

Mishern and Ollie finished the day plotting! We are all keen to repeat and grow the day. And with the support of the Impact Lab and of Vincents, I believe there is a real opportunity to study the impact for good on students of all ages and abilities these PowerHouseGames provide. The more PowerHouseGames we can put on, the more research material there is for Oxford to study!

Here’s to more Oxford PowerHouseGames.

What are PowerHouseGames?

PowerHouseGames are incredible sports days using adapted games and sports, with activities designed to be accessible and fun for everyone, old and young, with disabilities and none, sporty and not. Participants are encouraged to test their beliefs about ability and disability and what it is to be different, to learn to respect other people’s differences, and Power2Inspire works with them to challenge their assumptions of what they can and cannot do.

Inspired? Then Get Involved!

Would your university sports team, or school love to be involved in a PowerHouseGames? Could your company support our mission by volunteering at one of our PowerHouseGames? If so, then we would love to hear from you. We are also always looking out for people willing to fundraise for Power2Inspire through their own inspiring means. Or, you could volunteer individually at one of our events, or you could give to the ongoing work of Power2Inspire. There are SO MANY WAYS we can all help to ensure “no on else is left on the bench!” Click the button here to find out more.

John Willis

Founder & Chief Ambassador, Power2Inspire

Special thanks again to Edith Cameron of Edith Cameron Photography for her fantastic photography on the day. All photos used with permission