Businesses needed to support local Disability Sports Provision

College raising funds for sports hall equipment.

A specialist college is counting down to the official opening of its new £1.4 million sports hall – and is set to field its own team of wheelchair student rugby players thanks to the support of local businesses.

Queen Alexandra College caters for people with disabilities based in Harborne. They work with people with disabilities of all ages, offering supportive academic and employment-based programmes as well as short courses and an independent living provision.

Scheduled to open at the end of October after two years of extensive fundraising, the sports hall development at the Harborne campus in Court Oak Road will provide all students with regular and consistent access to a sports facility designed with people with disabilities in mind. A few students are lucky enough to have the opportunity to be involved in wheelchair sports, such as wheelchair rugby and tennis, but staff at QAC are particularly excited about the opportunity to bring wheelchair sports to all students.

However, QAC are still looking for support from local businesses and individuals to help equip the centre with a range of sports apparatus for the students, including £3,500 to purchase their own rugby wheelchair – and the opportunity to work with Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby. Tyndallwoods Solicitors and Loves Restaurant have already donated, as have Pertemps People Development Group, who are right behind QAC’s initiative and have donated £350 from their payroll giving scheme.

The company’s PR manager Phil Pemble is also West Midlands chairman for rugby’s charity, Wooden Spoon. “As a charity, we have extensive experience of involvement with wheelchair rugby and the inclusive benefits it can deliver,” said Phil. “I’d like to think there are more local businesses that can get involved and would urge more companies to consider making a small contribution to the appeal so that QAC can offer this dynamic sport to its students.”

Ian Buchanan, a solicitor at Tyndallwoods, added: “Wheelchair rugby is a fantastic, exhilarating sport for young people. We’ve had a long association with Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind and are delighted to support this QAC initiative.”

QAC student Kerri Webley, aged 20, a member of the Worcester Warriors team, said: “I’m an outgoing person and I like new experiences. Wheelchair rugby is the most brilliant game in the world.”

It is hoped that the sports hall will also be available to local groups to hire and make use of to build and develop other sporting opportunities in Harborne. If you would like to support QAC in their project and donate to the fundraising efforts please contact Sarah Caldwell on 0121 428 5064 or scaldwell@qac.ac.uk