Progressive backing for Disability Sports NI to end of 2022

Pictured from L-R are Disability Sport NI chairperson Michael McAteer, Paralympian Bethany Firth, Ricky McVicker, Michael Boyd, Deputy Chief Executive & Finance Director at Progressive Building Society, Jayne Mulligan, and DSNI chief executive Kevin O’Neill.

As part of its ongoing commitment to transform access to disability sports across Northern Ireland, Progressive Building Society has announced plans to sponsor a programme of Disability Sports NI activity and events until the end of 2022.

The programme launch was attended by gold-winning Paralympian Bethany Firth, fresh from the Tokyo 2020 Games where she added two gold and two silver medals to take her overall Paralympic tally to nine.

In the past 24 months, Progressive Building Society and Disability Sport NI have developed over 27,000 participant opportunities to provide disabled people with an equal opportunity to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Recent programmes include an online ‘Miles and Smiles' walking challenge, as well as NI's first ever Virtual Boccia League, ensuring that those living with a disability still had access to sport and active recreation during lockdown.

Among the DSNI events scheduled for 2021/22 are the continuation of the Schools Boccia competition and a Deaf Sports event, a new multi-sports initiative for those living with deafness and hearing impairments.

Kevin O'Neill, Chief Executive of Disability Sport NI, welcomed the news, stating: “During Covid-19 restrictions the lack of face-to-face sports opportunities meant that many disabled people found it extremely difficult to exercise and keep fit. I'm therefore absolutely delighted to see the relaunch of our Progressive funded community sport programme which will see a range of face-to-face sports activities and community events delivered in all of Northern Ireland's 11 District Council areas.

“The programme will create hundreds of much needed inclusive sports opportunities and will enable thousands of disabled people to lead a more active and healthier lifestyle in their local area.”

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