Sale Sharks Foundation is teaming up with the Chester-based, national credit card provider MBNA, on a new disability and inclusion programme designed to encourage those living with disabilities into sport.
Tackle Together will include inclusive tag rugby sessions, wheelchair rugby and Down’s Syndrome rugby sessions and will reach over 1,000 young people. The Sale Sharks Foundation team will work with school sites and veteran hubs with young disabled people, as well as those with visual, audio and physical impairments to deliver the programme.
The Down’s Syndrome Rugby sessions will take place every month at Sharks’ Carrington training centre and will also include a chance for those taking part to play at halftime during a Premiership game at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Wheelchair Rugby sessions will take place in mainstream schools and are intended to educate children and raise awareness around disability within sport, offering pupils the opportunity to experience this for themselves.
Those taking part in each of the sessions will also receive complimentary tickets to a Sale Sharks game alongside family members.
Phil Ball, community inclusion manager at Sale Sharks Foundation, said: “We’re extremely proud to be launching our latest disability and inclusion programme, Tackle Together, as we know how these sessions really can change lives.
“It’s important to us that everyone has the opportunity to be part of the fantastic rugby community, and these sessions will allow those living with disabilities to learn the basics of rugby and make some great friends in the process.”
Victoria Dowd, sponsorships manager at MBNA, added: “The sessions have been designed so that we’re able to engage as many young people as possible, whether that’s through mainstream schools learning about disabilities in sport through to giving more access to specialised tag and touch rugby sessions, the Tackle Together programme is a special one and we’re proud to throw our support behind it.”
In a sign of the growing profile of inclusive sports, the BBC recently screened all the matches in the wheelchair Rugby League World Cup alongside the men’s and women’s events, while the 2022 Beijing Paralympics set a new record, reaching over two billion viewers worldwide, according to the IOC.