Baseball brings new opportunities to Newham Ability Club

Tue 28 Jan 2020

BaseballSoftballUK has been working hard to develop baseball and softball opportunities for children and young people in East London, specifically targeting the boroughs surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the Mitel and MLB London Series took place last July.

Working in partnership with Newham Ability Club, a pan disability multi-sport club based in the London Borough of Newham targeting young people aged 8-25, BaseballSoftballUK trained two of their coaches via the BSUK Activator Course to deliver adapted baseball sessions over a 6-week period.

Participants with a range of disabilities took part in skill-based sessions as well as competitive games. The club, which attracts between 20-30 participants per session, introduced adapted baseball for the first time and it proved to be extremely popular.

Down syndrome participant Ashley, aged 20, has been attending the club for a number of years and enjoyed taking part in baseball for the first time, stating, “I like hitting the ball and running around the bases!”

Ashley’s dad stated “It was great for Ashley to participate and learn a new sport. Ashley has looked forward to playing baseball every week.”

Aiden, a 14 year old player with learning difficulties, liked attending the club, and as it's time for him to have fun and make new friends. He said, “I’ve liked playing baseball as hitting the ball as helped me to control my anger issues.”

Paul Archer, the head coach of the sessions, set up the free, inclusive and now well-established club in Newham when one of his sons lost his sight, and provides a range of different sports for young people with disabilities to take part in, coaching alongside his son Rhys. “I’m an experienced multi-sports coach who looks to provide the participants at the club with a range of opportunities," said Archer. "Taking part in the BSUK Activator Training allowed me to get better knowledge of the game and to be able to introduce a new sport to the club. The participants have really taken to it. We plan to reintroduce baseball again in the spring, taking the game outdoors, and we would love to set up a game with another local disability group.”

For his work in Newham, including this programme with the Newham Ability Club, Archer received the Softball Youth Coach of the Year award at the 2020 British Baseball and Softball Coaching Awards.

Nicole Napier, BSUK Partnerships Development Manager commented, “I’ve known Paul and the club for a number of years, and we have worked together on many projects in the past. Paul is a great coach and is well respected not only in Newham, but across East London for his work with both young people and young people with disabilities. Paul has really embraced baseball and his influence will help us to take the sport to new audiences in East London.”

BSUK Development Manager Patrick Knock, who leads on disability provision for BaseballSoftballUK stated, “It’s great being able to work with Newham’s Ability Club to develop disability provision especially in East London, which is a priority area for BaseballSoftballUK. We are looking forward to continuing supporting Paul and the club to provide adapted baseball sessions in the future.”

The pan disability club in Newham is part of a series of programmes which BSUK plans to grow and expand across 2019-20. This includes working with Disability Sports Coach, Alzheimer’s UK to launch dementia friendly baseball, and with Metro Blind Sport to set up Blind Baseball in London.

Newham Ability Club details

Dates/Times: Wednesday (5:30-6:30pm) and Fridays (5-6pm)
Venue: Newham Sixth Form College, Prince Regent Lane, Plaistow E13 8SG
Contact: Paul Archer at 07811 671082
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