In August 2022, Swansea University was proud to host the in sport Series: Para Sport Festival at Swansea Bay Sports Park. This was the first time Swansea Bay Sports Park played host to the festival, coordinated by Disability Sport Wales, and developed and delivered by a network of key stakeholders, including Welsh National Governing / British Governing Bodies of sport, Swansea Council, and local in sport clubs. The festival aimed to deliver high quality accessible opportunities for disabled children, young people, and adults.
“We were extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to host the Para Sport Festival at the Sports Park this year. To see so many sports on offer and the interest and excitement from those attending was fantastic. I’ve no doubt we will see many of those who took part pursuing activities and sports they were unaware of or unfamiliar with prior to the festival, finding new passions and lifelong hobbies.
Congratulations to all those involved at Disability Sport Wales and the NGBs for putting on such a great event! I would also like to express my thanks to DSW for considering us as a host – we would love the opportunity to continue supporting this event moving forward.” Andrew Griffiths, Sports Operations Manager, Swansea Bay Sports Park
The success of the festival hinged on getting people to get involved and take part in the sporting events which were open to participants of all skill levels and abilities. As the event took place at Swansea Bay Sports Park, the organisers had the benefit of utilising our Sports hall, outdoor pitches, running track and indoor athletics centre. In particular, the indoor athletics centre became a thriving activity hub, featuring a range of activities designed to make inclusive and para sport accessible to everyone.
“These events are really important, just to make sure that people know there is opportunity, and to connect up with the opportunity available locally so coming along with their families, with their friends, seeing what’s available from an inclusive perspective, getting to try a whole range of different sports, being inspired and then knowing that they can carry on, on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, with that activity locally to them. It is critical to inclusive sport.” Fiona Reed, CEO, Disability Sport Wales
Despite some hesitation following the Covid-19 pandemic, Disability Sport Wales saw the event as a big success in terms of turnout, organisation, and volunteer engagement. The Sport and Event teams worked with the organisers to fully understand their needs and presented solutions to ensure the event would be a success.
The Swansea weather was wonderful, creating an even more positive atmosphere and proving a huge bonus for the outdoor sports. Our team went above and beyond to ensure the smooth running of the event, with multiple team members on hand to deal with any last-minute queries or changes.
“In Swansea, this is the first go at sport for some participants, so they rely on the national government bodies or inclusive clubs that already exist or are already in Wales or Swansea particularly so that they can come in and deliver that event to showcase what is actually available, so every sport that’s here and every sport that has been delivered is available somewhere in Swansea for disabled people and it’s just making sure that they can make that connection so the organisation is about pulling those together, but relies on those sports to be able to do that, and it’s sponsored by the Welsh government and SPAR, Swansea University and Swansea Council.”
Tom Rogers, Partnership Manager, Disability Sport Wales
Our marketing team captured live updates, videos, and photos from the event, showcasing our fantastic location and state-of-the-art facilities as well as reiterating how proud we were to have hosted such a high-profile event.
The team worked with Disability Sport Wales who were also posting regularly on their social media channels and had a professional photographer on hand to take incredible imagery of the various activities.
“insport Series events can serve as a window-shopping experience; if someone makes it to an insport Series, it is like giving up to 20 insport Clubs and sessions a try in one day. It makes finding a new favourite sport easy and shows people that sports can be more accessible than they may have previously considered. Many participants say, “I didn’t think I could do that…” or “I’d never considered [a specific sport] before…”, believing that an opportunity wasn’t available to them, but insport Series events show them it can be.” Chris Fox, Digital Brand and Marketing Officer, Disability Sport Wales
The 2022 Para Sport Festival was a fantastic event that showcased the excellent range of Sports facilities we have here at the Sports Park. It was a pleasure to work with the Disability Sport Wales team and we look forward to welcoming them back to Swansea Bay Sports Park in the future.