Child Protection Officers: Maire Marshall, Con Coughlan
Rebel Wheelers is a an IWA Multisport club based in Cork. The aim of the group is to provide young people with a Physical disability (Walkers and Wheelchair users) with the opportunity to participate in sport in a fun safe environment.
Founded in 2007 by four families with the support of the IWA sports development officer, the club has grown year on year and now caters for over 50 members. The club is active five days a week across a variety of activities and locations across the city.
The most important activity of the week occurs on Saturday morning from 11AM to 12:30PM in the sports hall in the cope facility in Monetenotte. It is here we introduce children form the age of five to the world of sports, Saturday morning is all about having fun, sometimes it’s hard to tell the children from the leaders. We play games like “Duck, Duck, Goose” and “What time is it Mr Wolf” this encourages the kids to find their own voice and builds confidence, each week we introduce different sports such as Wheelchair Basketball, wheelchair Rugby, Athletics, GAA, Tennis, Soccer, Karate, Yoga, etc. this is to allow the children to sample the different sports and hopefully find one that they enjoy and can pursue.
The Saturday morning Club is a feeder into our main team activities most notably Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby and Athletics. Our Junior Wheelchair Basketball team train on a Tuesday night is Ashton Community school and participate in the IWA junior Blitz’s. This year for the first time we have a Snr Basketball team, who also compete in the IWA Snr Basketball league, they train on Tuesday night in Ashton and Thursday nights in the Ursaline convnet in Mahon. This is a big development for the club as it is the first time we have an adult team in the club and now have a complete path way from children entering club on Saturday morning to the junior team and then to the adult team, this means we can now provide the opportunity for life long involvement in sport.
Our Athletics team train from Feb to September in CIT and attend the IWA grand Prix events held throughout the country. The season this year will end for our older Athletics a little later than usual as In December for the first team we will have athletes attending the Snr IWAS games in Portugal. This is an amazing success story as only six years ago renowned para athletics coach John McCarthy came on board for a six week program (long six weeks ) to help the team with their training with the aim that one athlete might make the standard for the IWAS junior championships, six years later and countless medals at the IWAS junior’s they are now competing at the IWAS Snr championship.
This year also saw the club run a pilot “Athletics introduction program” with the great support of Sandra O Riordan which allowed the children to try out the different athletic disciplines, it proved a huge success and work is under way to establish this as a core part of the club for the new season. Wheelchair Rugby under the banner of Munster Wheelchair Rugby train every Monday night in Cope’s hall in Montennotte.
The team compete in the Irish Wheelchair Rugby league and are the defending champions currently second in the table ahead of the final round of games in Dublin on Dec 9th. We also run a “Strength and Movement” program for members on Wednesday nights in conjunction with the team in Acali Gym, the program looks to develop the abilities the children have in order to maximise their sporting potential.
The program is in its third year and has seen some amazing results both in terms of physical performance but also in terms of confidence and self esteem. In addition to all of the above we also do Boccia once a month at our Saturday morning club this is very popular with our kids with limited mobility. September saw a number of our members take part in a pilot gymnastics program run in conjunction with Cork Acro Gymnastic club.
While the core of the club is sport there is also a big social and inclusion element to the club. We encourage and welcome siblings to take part in all our actives it is great to see brothers and sisters compete on a equal footing. We are also regular attendees at the St Patrick day parade in Cork city, the ladies mini Marathon, Cork on Ice. We also run our own Para Summer camp (Biggest in the country), Halloween party and Christmas wonderland. So all in all never a dull moment in the club. To find out more check us out on Facebook.