Students Support Tayside Parasport Festival

Scottish Disability Sport returned to Dundee and Angus College for the 10th anniversary of Tayside Parasport Festival on Wednesday 8th March.

The event was supported by 24 of our very own HNC Sports Coaching and Development students who encouraged and supported the pupils to participate throughout the day.

The Parasport Festival is designed to introduce pupils with a physical disability or visual or hearing loss to try new and exciting sports. It has been identified that these groups are significantly under-represented when it comes to participating in weekly sport or physical activity.

The morning session incorporated several different sports including football, Goalball, powerchair football, Judo, fencing and badminton for the pupils to enjoy along with boccia, wheelchair basketball, rugby, and athletics in the afternoon.

The second part of the Parasport Festival was held at Perth Leisure Pool on Saturday 11th March to incorporate water sports. It was heartwarming to see so many pupils, students, staff, parents and carers with a huge smile on their faces as the pupils tried out new sports and increased in confidence cheered on by our student volunteers.

Our HNC coaching students complete an inclusive sport unit as part of their course and within that they carry out a work placement and attend multiple events. The Parasport Festival is just one of many events that they will support. The students had various roles and responsibilities including assisting the coaching staff at the various sporting activities, motivating and encouraging participants, being positive role models, first aiders, team leaders, and helping with equipment.

Stacey McColl, lecturer of Sports and Fitness, said: “It really is all about the experience for our students to be involved in working with children with various disabilities. Every event that they are taking part in, they are working with children with physical disabilities and sensory disabilities, and it is really giving them that opportunity to have hands on experience working with children of various different ages and different disabilities.”

The students supporting the event thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with the pupils attending the event, encouraging and supporting them in their participation.

Harry McFarlane, HNC Sports Coaching and Development student, said: “I have had fun helping out the participants with sports like badminton, keeping the ball in the air for as long as possible and counting how many times they keep it in the air. I have enjoyed getting the experience and working with a diverse group of people with different support needs. It has been a really good experience for me, and it was good fun for them as well.”