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A return to Warwick University

Securing our second PowerHouseGames at Warwick University was brilliant; hearing comments like, “This is now an annual fixture!” make me so happy.

I studied for a Masters at Warwick and through David Colliver, Paul Robbins, Kieron Carroll and Iain McKinney, we persuaded the university to take a PHG in February 2023. A year on and the students’ enthusiasm was even greater!

In addition to the students – we had about two per team – we had students from Leicester Grammar School and from Avon Park Special School. Four a side meant it was tiring, especially the sitting netball, but there were loads of smiles, clapping great shots, and laughter, ringing round the wonderful arena at the Sports and Wellness Hub.

One student reported how moved he was when one school student admitted this was his first ever school trip. Another commented that the SEN youngsters had integrated so well it was difficult to work out who was who, definitely with the t-shirts on.

Kieron Carroll, recently moved from Warwick Sport, said how important events like these are for the students to engage with the local community as they learn they are not just part of the university but part of the region.

Andrew Todd, Director of Regional Strategy and Partnerships, added that engaging with local schools allows the university and the students to showcase the facilities and the volunteering that goes on.

With this level of support alongside volunteers (we are always looking for help!) and interns, we are committed to returning next year with a corporate partner. If you are at a company, know an organisation that is seeking volunteering opportunities or wish to use your CSR engagement by getting down with the kids (sitting volleyball is floor based!), please get in touch. Every company that gets involved comes back for more!

Some delightful feedback from a parent of one of the Leicester Grammar School pupils:

 “Thank you so much for selecting this particular pupil to attend the PowerHouseGames yesterday. He thoroughly enjoyed every minute and couldn’t wait to tell me all about it! He had so much fun and really enjoyed being part of something so special with such lovely people. The whole experience was fantastic for him – in fact he wanted to go back this morning! I really appreciate all the effort put into yesterday that made it such a day to remember for him.”

Mark Hyndman, Director of Sports and Active Lifestyle at Warwick Sport, said:

“Working in partnership with Power2Inspire to host the PowerHouseGames at our accessible Sports and Wellness Hub at the University of Warwick provided an opportunity for inspiring individuals from local schools, our staff networks and student community to enjoy participation in sport in an inclusive and welcoming environment.

“Based on the principle of bringing people of all abilities together through sport, the event encourages active communities throughout our local area and beyond.”

I will leave it to Sam Powell from Avon Park to wrap up:

 “Bringing the less sporty children from an SEN school eliminates the ones who dominate and allows the others to enjoy it and builds their engagement. That then builds their confidence and develops other skills back in school. I have even taken some of these games back to school they are so good.”

A huge thank you to everyone who took part, and especially the students and other volunteers who gave their time to help put on such a fantastically successful inclusive sports event. Special thanks too to Jade Woodward and Georgina Pilling from Warwick Sport who helped lead the event on the day.

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