Inspire Peterborough have been awarded £20,000 by the Ministry of Defence, through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund for their project Supporting Disabled Ex-Forces (SDEF) which will operate throughout Peterborough. SDEF will offer opportunities for ex-forces personnel with disabilities and/or mental health conditions to take part in social activities, sport or leisure activities and offer participants opportunities to gain qualifications in fitness and volunteering/employment in order to support their peers.
The new project will aim to:-
- Reduce social isolation by establishing a befriender/buddy scheme to provide home visits and accompaniment to activities
- Provide accessible and affordable healthy living/sport and leisure venues and activities using the current Inclusive Sport Peterborough programme as the foundation and building on this in local communities
- Provide a pathway, through improved fitness and mental wellbeing, to help participants into volunteering, education and training, which for some may provide a conduit into meaningful employment.
The project, that launched on 1st April 2017 and will run until 31st March 2018, and will look to incorporate inclusive sports such as sledge hockey (disability/seated ice hockey. The local Team Peterborough Phantoms Sledge are 7 times national league champions. The team features several ex forces members with disabilities and matches for this year are as follows:
Peterborough Vs Cardiff Huskies Sunday 21st May 2017 16:15pm
Peterborough Vs Manchester Mayhem Saturday 10th June 2017 16:15pm
Peterborough Vs Kingston Kestrels Sunday 2nd July 2017 16:15pm
Peterborough Vs Sheffield Steelkings Saturday 15th July 2017 16:15pm
All matches are free to attend and further information can be found by visiting http://www.phantomssledgehockey.co.uk/
Stuart Perridge, an amputee and ex-RAF and Armed Forces, contacted Inspire Peterborough last year to find out what sporting opportunities were available in Peterborough. Stuart is now a member of Phantoms team starting his first sledge hockey season, with dreams of playing at the Invictus Games!
Councillor John Fox, who was a serving Royal Navy Radio Operator, said “We came up with the idea for Supporting Disabled Ex Forces after meeting Stuart. Here was a local guy, who had served his country, lost a leg in the service of his country but struggled to know where to turn for a little bit of help. Supporting Disabled Ex Forces will fit perfectly with the aims of the Armed Forces committee in Peterborough, but with an emphasis on helping those with disabilities or long term health conditions. We have the contacts to signpost disabled ex forces personnel on to sport and health and wellbeing providers as well as employers or education and training organisations. We know there are lots of Stuarts out there, we want to do what we can to help those that would like a bit of support”