Local softball team opens doors to inclusion

Chichester Falcons

Local softball club the Chichester Falcons have teamed up with not-for-profit learning disability support provider Dimensions as part of their Out There community project.

The move is part of a wider scheme which sees Out There West Sussex working with mainstream sports and leisure services across the county to help them open their doors to more people with disabilities.

Last year the Chichester Falcons Softball Club approached Out There and asked if they could begin providing training sessions for people with learning disabilities.

Out There, together with Falcons Manager David Morris, started the ball rolling with David shadowing Out There’s Thursday evening multi-sports group held at Chichester’s Westgate Centre. The event was a resounding success and David offered the group the opportunity to try softball, a form of baseball.

A few weeks later, the whole team showed up and provided a free lesson which was so popular that they all came back and provided a further two sessions. During the first session all members of the group received a Falcons team shirt.

Bob Leeves, Out There Manager, said: “This is a great step forwards and we are sure that it will provide very positive outcomes for everyone accessing the sessions. We are focused on supporting people to become more independent and moving away from disability specific services.

“Although we have negotiated reduced rate gym and swim access memberships for quite a few of the people we support, this is the first time we have linked up with a main stream club and we are keen to expand on this success”.

The events have been such a home-run success that the team now offer regular sessions for the group. The Falcons provide a monthly session and are considering increasing that provision around their fixtures.