After receiving a fantastic number of exceptional nominations for this year’s Sussex Sports Awards, we recently announced the eagerly awaited shortlist of finalists last week.
As we count down to the intimate awards ceremony on Thursday 25 November, we are sharing the stories of our finalists in each of this year’s five categories.
Meet our finalists for the Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Inclusion & Diversity Award
The Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Inclusion & Diversity Award recognises a project or organisation which has tackled inequalities through sport and physical activity. It will have removed barriers and improved participant’s experience of sport/physical activity. It will have championed, inspired or empowered underrepresented groups, resulting in sustained or increased engagement over the past 12 months.
Entirely run by volunteers, Cycall provide adapted cycles for disabled adults and children or anyone with a health issue which prevents them from accessing cycling.
Participants with severe learning disabilities, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, Autism, cancer, dementia and many other conditions take part.
Martine coordinates the project, and her husband and another volunteer support participants and their families to use the cycles. They have continued to fundraise to procure more adapted cycles so they can cater for more conditions. Cycall have a good relationship with Adur and Worthing Councils who have provided them with priority use of the dedicated disabled cycle track at Brooklands Park, Lancing.
Cycall have successfully managed to grow during the Covid-19 pandemic, offering free sessions Monday to Friday from April to September.
Cycall are a fantastic example of community volunteers showing leadership and achieving remarkable things. They have taken responsibility for supporting people with multiple barriers to take part in an activity they would otherwise be excluded from.
Defiant Sports are a not-for-profit in Eastbourne, providing sports for all, regardless of ability or disabilities. They strive to create inclusion for all in sport, constantly adapting sports or learning new accessible sports that they can deliver to their players.
This year saw Defiant Sports start to offer cricket sessions in partnership with Sussex Cricket and ECB. They also oganised the first ever pan-disability LTA tennis tournament. This saw people with learning disabilities, visual impairments, wheelchair users, and cerebral palsy all play against one another at a fair level.
This summer Defiant Sports also organised the Eastbourne Festival of Accessible Sport:
It was the first of its kind nationwide, aiming to create a festival experience centred around sport for those with disabilities. The event was free and all 500 tickets sold out, allowing masses of people to be introduced to sports they had never experienced, such as boccia, blind football, wheelchair boxing, disability archery, and more!
Despite a challenging year, Crawley Eagles Cricket Club set up the first women’s cricket team in Crawley, which is a diverse group but mostly made up of south Asian ladies. This has resulted in over 30 ladies playing cricket regularly. They have gone from strength to strength, entering a county wide women’s cricket league and taking part in a women’s cricket tournament at Lords Cricket Ground.
In the summer Crawley Eagles hosted a women’s cricket festival in Crawley in partnership with Sussex Cricket Foundation. Driven by Ish Jalal, Crawley Eagles have helped to remove barriers for the women in their community to take part in cricket and provided positive experiences of sport that has led to sustained participation and engagement.
In addition, they have trained up several ladies to become Level 1 cricket coaches, helping to address the imbalance of male to female coaches and inspire more women to become coaches. They also delivered a health project at the club to encourage and influence families to be more healthy and physically active. The club plays a vital role within the local community, using sport as a tool to improve lives and strengthen the community, helping to reduce inequalities and inspire more women and girls to take part in cricket.
The Sussex Sports Awards will take place on Thursday 25 November 2021, where our winners will be announced. See our full list of finalists here.
Thank you to our Sponsor for this award, Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP.