On Friday 9th January 2009, Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister for Sport, officially launched the Bradford Disability Sports Academy - the first of its kind in the country!
This is not the first visit to Bradford College for MP Gerry Sutcliffe. Mr Sutcliffe is a former student of the College and in September 2008 he formally opened the new Trinity Green Campus. The new £20m campus houses the College’s Sport, Engineering and Construction curriculum areas, and is thought to be one of the most innovative and ambitious in the country.
Speaking at the event, MP Gerry said: “I think the Bradford Disability Sports Academy is an important step for people with disabilities in sport, but also an important step for Bradford to show the way.”
The Minister for Sport continued: “I’m proud of the College leading the way, in terms of setting up this facility to integrate people who have a disability, into our sporting world.”
Bradford College, in partnership with Bradford Disability Sports & Leisure, has introduced the Academy. This is a major breakthrough for disability sport and for people with disabilities in Bradford and the surrounding districts. The Academy is designed to offer young adults the opportunity to participate in quality sports and physical activity sessions in their local community away from the school environment.
The launch of the Academy was a proud moment for Pauline Montgomery, who set up Bradford Disability Sports & Leisure over 24 years ago. Pauline said: “When we started out all our members were 20 years old. Now our members have got older we wanted to encourage more young adults to participate in sport. The new Academy has increased the number of young people participating in sports, here at the College, in brilliant surroundings… it’s just wonderful!”
Representatives from the winning England Wheelchair Tag Rugby League World Cup Squad were also on hand to attend the launch of the Disability Sports Academy. The team had previously used the facilities for their last training session, before heading off to win the Inaugural Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in Sydney, Australia!
Healthy College Manager, Jane Marshall commenting on the new Academy said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s also a great opportunity for the people of Bradford to use these amazing facilities.”
Local schools were also delighted to attend the launch. They were treated to a demonstration by freelance coach Richard Taylor. Richard works with a variety of different organisations in and around Bradford. Richard gave the students a taster of the kind of sessions which will be on offer at the Academy. Richard said: “The launch of the Academy has been absolutely excellent. The children enjoyed it and it was a great opportunity for the Minister for Sport to see the people who are involved in developing the sport and seeing what actually happens at grass roots level.”
With pride, Ronnie Todd, Bradford College Sports Academy Project Manager said: "The College is delighted to be working as a partner with Bradford Disability Sports & Leisure who has done so much to support growth of sport in our city. It is with great pride that we launch one of the first further education disability sports academies in the country. It is our passionate hope that elite sport performers from our city and region will contribute to the success of the Special Olympics and Paralympics, world class events being held in our country."