Features Sport Walthamstow

The story behind Forest Flyerz

Fran Jameson writes about Walthamstow’s – and the UK’s – first inclusive, pan-disability hockey club

Forest Flyerz, the first pan disability club in the country, was formed in 2011 with support from Access Sport. Walthamstow Academy was also instrumental in providing an indoor playing space for the club.  

Initially planned as a children’s club, it quickly became evident that those with the greatest need for an evening sporting activity were teenagers and adults.  

Parents said how “there is very little sport out there in Waltham Forest that disabled children can access.”  Forest Flyerz quickly expanded for all ages, with some of the current Flyerz having been with the club from the very beginning.  

Flyerz sessions are designed to cater for all, from beginners requiring fun and fitness to potential Team GB players looking to develop advanced skills. 

As an inclusive, pan disability club volunteers are regularly challenged with finding ways to make hockey accessible for everyone. This can involve creating new equipment, such as balls with bells for those with visual impairments to creating drills that target players’ interests such as the popular train line dribbling challenge.

A Tuesday night session inevitably begins with a game of “Tails” – everyone’s favourite – and always ends with an enthusiastic and competitive match.  Drills are planned to target specific skills and can be individualised according to players’ particular needs.

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This allows everyone to make progress and every small step is celebrated. This culture is an important component of a Flyerz session. One parent tells me that their son “is definitely more confident as a result of the sessions.”

Flyerz learn the importance of teamwork and often enjoy a high five together after some great passing and a team goal.  

Flyerz feel pride in the skills they learn. “I enjoy stick-handling, goal-scoring and passing.  I have learnt all these things at the club. The people are nice,” says one flyer.

Forest Flyerz is now part of an expanding network of Flyerz clubs across the country and festivals and tournaments where clubs come together are always a feast of goals and fun. 

For volunteers Flyerz is a chance to share the sport they love and to gain from the love of hockey that all of the Flyerz share.

Waltham Forest Flyerz meet on a Tuesday evening at Walthamstow Academy. To find out more visit walthamforesthc.co.uk.

Waltham Forest Hockey Club are running a series of free sessions for adults who are beginners or returners to playing hockey.

The next session is Wednesday 10th July at 8pm- 9.30pm at the Walthamstow Academy

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