Young people tackle disability stigma

Participants from Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s ‘Can Do Sport’ programme have taken part in this year’s Bishopbriggs Triathlon to tackle the stigma facing disabled people.

I feel proud this is my biggest triathlon to date and I’m thinking if I train hard I might do the sprint one next year.

Darren, Can Do Sport participant

Young people with additional support needs came from Dumfries, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh to take part in a gruelling triathlon event, which saw them swim, cycle and run.

Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s ‘Can Do Sport’ programme harnesses the potential of sport to tackle inactivity amongst young people with additional support needs whilst improving their mental wellbeing, breaking down barriers to their participation in sport and making a real, positive difference to their lives. Can Do Sport participants shape the programme and drive positive change for disabled people in their local communities. 

The innovative programme is delivered thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund to enable more than a hundred young people with additional support needs to access sport related volunteering opportunities.

The Bishopbriggs Triathlon is an annual event outside Glasgow and the organisers, from Glasgow’s biggest triathlon club ‘Glasgow Triathlon Club’, worked with Leonard Cheshire in Scotland to make the event fully accessible for young people with various additional support needs.

One of disability charity Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s participants from the innovative ‘Can Do’ programme has reached the incredible of feat of completing the Bishopbriggs Triathlon, months after returning from a successful trip to the Special Olympics in Dubai.

A group of Can Doers in Leonard Cheshire running vests at the Bishopbriggs Triathlon,

Darren Carruthers, who partakes as a Can Doer, was given the opportunity to travel to Dubai with his family for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. Participating in three competitions, Darren managed to finish 5th in the 1500 metres, 4th in the 4x100 metre relay and an excellent bronze medal for the 3000 metres.

Darren was excited to show everyone an impressive time of under an hour at the Bishopbriggs Triathlon, who, along with his mother watching at the side, was also bursting with pride.

Darren, who is a Can Do Sport participant, said:

‘I had a good day at Bishopbriggs Triathlon. I feel proud this is my biggest triathlon to date and I’m thinking if I train hard I might do the sprint one next year. Thanks to taking part in Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s Can Do programme I’m far more self-confident. I’m really happy I was able to compete in this today!’

Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s James Allan, who manages the Can Do Sport programme, praised the triathlon participants:

‘We are so proud of our Can Do Sport participants who smashed it at the Bishopbriggs Triathlon. Disabled people face huge stigma but, as our youngsters have shown, we should never cap anyone’s ambition.

‘To complete the gruelling physical challenge of the Bishopbriggs Triathlon is a huge achievement in anyone’s book. Well done guys!’

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