Flyerz Week: Winners are grinners

Para Hockey Euros 2017 Winners
Last summer it wasn’t just our International sides who medalled at the Euro Hockey Championships, Midland Medcap hockey team claimed gold in Euro Hockey’s Para Hockey tournament, through winning penalty strokes of course! 

Midland Mencap is a charity which works and campaigns for accessible and inclusive services. Working towards a better quality of life for everyone with experience of learning disabilities and additional needs. As part of this remit there are an amazing range of activities and sports that are inclusive and accessible for people to get involved with. 

‘Hockey is not the usual sport that springs to mind when we speak about sports / activities for people with a disability.’ The Birmingham based charity shares with us. ‘We are constantly proving that we are not afraid to try something new or take some risks!’ they continue. 

When the staff approached their manager about the idea of the team taking part in this European Championship tournament in Amsterdam they were welcomed with a very warm ‘Let’s go and do it!’ And so the planning began, constantly reminded themselves what are the players going to get out of this trip?

From training, playing home and away friendlies, fundraising, travelling abroad, having wider family welcomed into the team, meeting the England women’s team to then eventually winning was so much bigger than what Midland Mencap could have ever imagined! 

‘A few of our players had only been playing for a year where some had never been in a team before. Some of their parents had been told there children wouldn’t be very good at sport, or it wasn’t for them!’ Midland Mencap staff shared with us. 

‘What we saw when we trained was a group of players who just took such joy in playing and training that it motivated staff even more. Families coming to watch training was a huge factor in this journey happening for the team.’ 

The impact of Flyerz has been life changing for many of the team, it has improved their confidence and given them and their families’ a lifetime of memories of a journey that we hope more people with a disability will be able to take!

‘Amsterdam 2017 was such an amazing experience for so many reasons, with organisers taking every care to make sure the players were looked after. It was great to have families loudly cheer us on from the side lines with one of the team’s highlights was when our England women took time out of their day to visit the team, it is safe to say the team was smiling all afternoon and evening after that!’ 

‘Scoring our first goal in the tournament was greeted by the most amazing noise. Fast forward to the winning goal going in and seeing what this meant to players and families as they hugged each other and shook hands was a moment that made all those training mornings in the rain and mini bus journeys so worthwhile!’

The smiles in the photo only tell half a story of Midland Mencaps Journey!

They will be showcasing Flyez hockey this Friday at Surbiton Hockey Club as they host the Euro Hockey Club Cup where you can get involved with Flyerz. Learn more about Flyer hockey here or get in touch with Access Sport who in partnership with ourselves develop Flyerz across the nation!