Tell us a little bit about Nova.
Nova Sports and Coaching (Nova) is a not-for-profit organisation that improves the opportunities for individuals with disabilities to take part in sport.
We offer outreach to schools and community groups, set-up new sports clubs and run holiday activities in order to achieve this. One of our many projects is the development of two new wheelchair sports clubs. The first is a wheelchair basketball club in Bath and the other is a wheelchair tennis club in Writhlington.
When did you set up Nova?
I set up Nova with Alex in October 2017. We were both University of Bath graduates and qualified sports coaches and recognised the lack of sporting opportunities for disabled people to take part in sport in the local area. At just over a year old, Nova has worked with over 1000 people, set up 5 new disability sports clubs, an adult boccia league and delivered 68 hours of holiday provision for children with additional needs and their siblings!
What are your goals & ambitions for Nova?
Nova addresses a huge gap in provision of sport and physical activity for children and adults with physical and learning disabilities.
We hope to provide a comprehensive array of inclusive activities for people of all ages and for those with both physical and learning disabilities. We aim to directly address and act as strategic developers to overcome and drive positive social change in the sphere of disability sport.
As current clubs become embedded in the community and self-sustainable, we hope Nova can address the next gap in provision and continue to grow disability sport and inclusive opportunities.
Describe the hardest challenge that you have had to overcome?
The hardest challenge, as with most disability sports, was acquiring the initial equipment essential for playing. The specialist manual wheelchairs are expensive and a wide variety of sizes are needed for any new wheelchair based sports club.
Thankfully we were able to overcome this barrier with the support of another South West wheelchair basketball team. They had a mixture of second hand chairs available that they sold to Nova at a discounted price which was amazing. This initial purchase allowed us to run the taster sessions and prove the need and desire for the clubs.
What has been the greatest success of the project so far?
An overwhelming issue we have encountered with our wheelchair sports projects has been the prevalence of mental health challenges.
Due to this we've sought to approach these projects more holistically and provide more than just the sport and physical activity. For example, it is now a staple part of our wheelchair tennis club that there is a strong social element to the team, and that after our monthly sessions we always go to the local pub and take advantage of the opportunity of all being together.
Who is the project intended for?
Both clubs are open to young people and adults with physical disabilities. Most who attend will be wheelchair users however this is not a requirement. All of our clubs are also open to able-bodied people allowing for siblings, partners, family members and friends to also join in!
What will you put your Boudavida donation towards?
Our Boudavida donation will go towards the running of both the wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball clubs. This includes venue hire, coaching costs, maintenance of the wheelchairs, kit for the teams and even outreach sessions to promote the sports.