Last Sunday Norwich CIC Able2B and Norwich School joined forces for a sports day with a difference. The "Discover Your Ability" event, held at Norwich Lower School playing fields, saw children and young adults with a disability and current Norwich School pupils work collaboratively in pairs to complete challenges with the support of Able2B staff and volunteers. On the day, pairs completed a run/walk around an 800m route around the Lower Cathedral Close and a cycle race using adapted and non-adapted bikes, along with other sports day activities.
The project began in March, where the first set of pupils taking part met their teammates for the first time. During May there were several training events for pairs to get to know each other and to devise strategies for completing the courses together. The aim for the day was to encourage the teams to think about how both the disabled and able-bodied among us can work together to reach our full potential.
Able2B was created by Rachael Hutchinson and Jon Thaxton in 2017, and started as a single class in a boxing gym, and offers fitness opportunities to enable every person with a disability to discover their ability and full potential in life. Improving society’s perception and understanding of disability and enabling true inclusivity is also a main part of the organisation's aims.
Norwich School has a long-standing commitment to working in the local community and was delighted to be approached by Able2B to host the event and involve pupils in what proved to be a truly inspiring day.
Upper 4 pupil Ella El-Naggar, who took part in the event said: "When I first started my Able 2 B challenge, I was quite apprehensive and didn’t know what I had signed up for. I was introduced to a girl named Ellie, who was going to be my partner for the event. We completed sessions where both Ellie and I were given challenges we had to undertake together. I didn’t know her at all to start with and thought we were very different people but as the sessions progressed I realised that we are very similar; we share the same interests at school and share a very similar sense of humour. As I have become greater friends with Ellie, I have come to realise that there is not much difference between us. Regardless of her disability, we have a lot in common and are very much alike."
The Discover Your Ability day was attended by the Lord May and Sheriff of Norwich and had almost 60 participants. The event was supported by Just4Children Charity, Jarrold Intersport, Irwin Mitchell, Dynorod and Busseys and UEA Sportspark. There are plans already to make the event an annual occurrence for the Norwich community.
Able2B cofounder Rachael Hutchinson said of the day "Today we have taken two groups of people who were both a bit apprehensive of each other and brought them together and overcome those perceptions to realise they are all the same with different strengths and weaknesses, disability or not. If I can change this perception for young adults, and employer/employee perceptions longer term by making this a growing annual event Able2B have achieved one of their aims".
Twins Daniel and Thomas from Blofield who took part in the day, were featured in the local press recently for their fantastic progress overcoming a neurological condition. Until now, the boys have been unable to walk but following a number of medical procedures, and the help of the Able2B boxing lessons, the boys are now able to walk short distances unaided.
On Sunday, Daniel walked the whole 800m route with the help of his partner whilst Thomas completed the whole walk with his frame, with all 60 children cheering him on once they had finished.