Disability Hockey Flying Success

Forest Flyerz bday

Forest Flyerz was the first disability hockey club set up in England. On Tuesday 15 November, it celebrated its fifth birthday. Hannah Dobbin, Flyerz coordinator shares what Flyerz means to some of those involved and how the party went!

In 2011, I joined Waltham Forest Hockey Club in East London. I heard that Pani Theodorou wanted to start a disability section and I immediately wanted to get involved. From then on, I’ve been part of Forest Flyerz along with a committed group of volunteer coaches and equally dedicated players, parents and carers.

We celebrated our fifth birthday this week with a party! It was great to play some games and give out treats but it was also a chance to reflect on what Flyerz brings to the players, parents, carers and volunteers.

One parent said; “Thank you for Tuesday, Molly had a great time. Her best bits were the fun games and making posters. Molly loves Flyerz because everyone is equal and just enjoys playing hockey.

“From a parents perspective it's a happy time for my child where it's ok to be different. The helpers are enthusiastic kind and patient and it gives me a little break knowing she is in good hands”.

Mollie Forest Flyerz

Another parent shared how much she enjoyed Flyerz and the impact the club has on her child;

“Thank you for the wonderful party! The best part was the kids interacting and making the pictures. It’s great to see my son enjoying hockey. He enjoys the sessions which have increased his confidence”.

Flyerz also means so much to the volunteers who have been there since the start or have joined us over the years.

One of the dedicated volunteers beamed when talking about being involved with Flyerz;“I'm just so proud of us as we've come such a long way. We have learned so much from the young people we coach with regards to how much they can achieve - the sky really is the limit!  And we have proved ourselves endlessly resourceful, finding new ways for the Flyerz to access every aspect of the game. As a team with a huge variety of experiences and skills, working together we have made something very special. Go us!”

Another coach said the best bit about the party was “the smiles on the players faces”. Reflecting on Flyerz, he goes on to say “As a coach it allows me to help people to do things they wouldn't be able to do on their own. I like to think I can help people have some space away from their routines. I get to spend time with an impressive bunch of people. Talking to players, parents, careers & coaches gives different perspectives on life”.

This poster was made by one of our Flyerz and their mum who attended the birthday party which shows what Flyerz is all about.

Flyerz Poster

It’s amazing to think we started with a couple of players and we’re still going strong today. The dedication and commitment of our volunteers is essential and we’ve been wonderfully supported by Access Sport and its Ignite Programme. We’re also incredibly pleased that more and more Flyerz clubs are setting up and we look forward to playing more matches and events over the next year.

If you’re at a hockey club and want to set up your own Flyerz section please feel free to get in touch – flyerz@walthamforesthc.co.uk - as I’m always happy to share ideas! All you need is some enthusiasm, creativity and fun!

East London Hockey Club has just done exactly that. They set up their Flyerz section this season hosted at Mile End Leisure Centre. The sessions take place every Sunday 10am till 11.30am and they are absolutely free!

East London Flyerz

Adam Thomas from Access Sport helped East London set up their Flyerz section, alongside some Forest Flyerz volunteers.

“Access Sport truly believes that all sports should be inclusive to all who want to play regardless of disability, gender, age or ability. Hockey is a great example of this and the Flyerz movement is testament to that. Hockey clubs often have a family orientated feel to them which enables Flyerz sections to flourish.

“Access Sport is working tirelessly to support hockey clubs to introduce Flyerz sections with East London HC becoming the latest club to launch their Flyerz section. ELHC are now part of a growing movement with Flyerz clubs starting across the UK and we will continue to support their development, sustainability and growth.”

East London Flyerz advert

Many thanks to Hannah Dobbin for writing this blog piece for us. Plus a massive thank you to her and rest of you club volunteers giving people the opportunity to play hockey and Access Sport.

Find out more about Flyerz here.

Photos provided by Hannah Tappenden (Access Sport)