The Hockey Paper hears from Libby Nichols on ParaHockey’s aims in the UK
What is your role at Access Sport?
I work on our disability inclusion team as the project manager for Flyerz Hockey.
What is Flyerz hockey and who is it for?
Flyerz Hockey is for everyone. Flyerz is the name widely associated with grassroots disability inclusive hockey across the UK. It’s a pan-disability initiative and is for any individual with any range of ability, age and background. You’ll often find siblings and families playing in sessions as well!
What is the vision for Flyerz?
Thanks to funding and support from Spirit of 2012, our goal is to support at least 50 new hockey clubs across the UK become more inclusive and start Flyerz within the next three years. We are working with England Hockey, Hockey Wales, Scottish Hockey and existing Flyerz clubs to encourage more clubs to start Flyerz hockey.
And beyond the next three years?
Flyerz is a movement and much more than a three-year project. We are working closely with England Hockey, Hockey Wales, Sottish Hockey, EHF and FIH to create long-lasting change. We want to grow ParaHockey and fully embed Flyerz within every hockey club across the UK to ensure disability inclusion is the norm. We envision the project will positively impact the sport of hockey, truly making it a sport for all, where disabled and non-disabled participants play, socialise and volunteer together on equal terms.
How exactly can Access Sport support hockey clubs and start a Flyerz section?
Access Sport can provide clubs with the confidence and practical advice to start a Flyerz section. We can also offer funding and a variety of tools and resources for clubs in their journey to becoming inclusive, including our Flyerz handbook, delivering our Disability Inclusion Training for your volunteers and coaches, and much more!
What’s the biggest advice for clubs?
Current Flyerz clubs would say, ‘just do it’ and you won’t ever look back! Hockey has positively impacted so many people, and everyone should be given the chance to experience the power of this great sport. Plus, Flyerz is a lot of fun! All you need to do is go see a session for yourself and guaranteed, you’ll want to get involved.
What is it like having Kate and Helen as ambassadors?
Helen and Kate have been heavily involved in Flyerz since the beginning. With their infectious personalities, it’s hard not to want to be part of something they’re doing. The best thing about their involvement is how genuinely they believe in the mission. Not only are they incredibly influential in the hockey community, but what they stand for when it comes to inclusion on every level extends so far beyond the sport, so their reach is massive. They’re amazing role models and advocates for so many and we’re so grateful for all that they do.
What’s the best way for someone to get in touch?