Access Adventures is a charity created to encourage people with physical disabilities to get involved in outdoor sports, through organising residential adaptive adventure camps. The founders recognise that sport and physical activity can have a positive effect on people with disabilities. It can be an effective rehabilitation tool, with the potential to improve physical and psychological wellbeing.
People attend their adaptive activity camps and receive support to enable them to be as independent as possible. They have the opportunity to try outdoor, adventurous activities that are not easily accessible and that many people with disabilities might not have thought possible. Access Adventures wants to challenge these expectations and inspire people to push boundaries.
The social aspect of the camp is also beneficial – there’s such a great sense of community and fun.
Having a disability is not only about the physical limitations it may result in. Some people struggle with low confidence and self-esteem. Being involved with Access Adventures and being around people who understand your situation can really help improve this. The psychological benefit cannot be underestimated – it can have a huge impact on people.
Two of the founders of Access Adventures have a disability themselves and have both competed in adaptive sport at Paralympic Games. The third founder is a physiotherapist, specialising in spinal injury and amputation and also currently works with injured military personnel at the Headley Court rehabilitation centre. They work alongside a strong network of experienced volunteers to host the camps.
Unfortunately, adaptive sports are generally far more expensive than their able-bodied equivalent, due to the specialist equipment and more tailored instruction required. This means that some people with disabilities cannot afford to access them, and the fantastic benefits they bring. We want to be able to subsidise these costs, with the ultimate goal to make the camps accessible for all.
Adaptive sports often bring a great sense of freedom to the participant. Our waterski and wakeboard camps are a perfect example of this. Access Adventures works with the British Disabled Waterski & Wakeboard Association to host the events.
The aim of the camp is to introduce you to waterskiing and get you skiing as independently as possible. They provide suitable adaptive equipment appropriate to your disability. To begin with, you’ll have experienced instructors in the water with you, to help with your balance. They will do as little or as much as is needed. As you progress, we’ll reduce the level of support in the water. You’ll then have the option to try wakeboarding.
The aim is also to have fun! It’s a great setting and a fun social event by a beautiful lake, with everything on-site. It’s an exciting chance for you to meet a friendly group of new people who all love experiencing adaptive adventures.
There’ll be around 10 disabled participants on the camp. All the instructors, helpers and drivers are volunteers. Some participants will be completely new to the sport, while some will have been on previous camps and want to further their progression.
The hostel accommodation is on-site and whilst it’s pretty basic, it’s completely accessible. There are shared accessible bathrooms with toilets and showers with drop-down shower seats. We also have use of the clubhouse and barbecue areas. There’s a kitchen, huge open living area and additional accessible showers/toilets. There will be two days of skiing, with a minimum of two ski sessions each, per day.
Long lasting relationships with peers and role models can be formed, with one participant, just 11 months after being paralysed, commenting recently after a weekend camp that: “It was such an incredible experience, the challenges in my life now seem far less daunting and I feel more capable of overcoming them”.