March Club of the Month!
With 48 registered members and counting, North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair Rugby League & Disability Sports Club’s inclusive family is on the rise.
Set up in 2013 as a joint venture between North Wales Crusaders, Wales Rugby League and Disability Sports Wales, the club has proved to be a crucial feeder to the Welsh national side, with approximately 15 Crusaders players having made the step up to the international scene.
And success is somewhat the flavour of the month for the team based at Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry, with the club picking up two awards at the Rugby Football League’s inaugural Wheelchair Rugby League Awards, and most recently having been named Parasport Club of the Month for March.
In light of their recent recognition, head coach Steve Jones is determined to help his team go from strength to strength, emphasising how their inclusivity knows no bounds and that the importance of the club lies as much off the court as it does on it.
“When I got the phone call to say that Parasport wanted to make us their club of the month I was gobsmacked,” said Steve, who is also in charge of the Wales national side. “I’m still getting my head around the fact different organisations think we’re worth recognising because to us we’re just doing what we think’s important.
“The key thing is that we offer a safe environment for all abilities. Our version of the sport is all inclusive - we encourage people with a range of disabilities to get involved and even people without disabilities - everyone is welcome!
“If people want to go on to play at a high level, we help them do that, but we’re more focused on getting people active, engaged and having fun.
“There’s a family value at the club and that gives people who have gone through tough times a belief they’re not alone. If anyone’s got an issue about anything there are plenty of people to help them through it so we are more than just a sports team to some extent.”
Having initially joined the Crusaders as a player before working his way up the position of head coach, Steve has overseen the club’s growth and he is keen to continue welcoming new members through the door.
While they work towards Disability Sport Wales Insport development gold standard - part of a project aimed at supporting the physical activity, sport, and leisure sectors delivering services inclusively of disabled people - he insists they won’t rest on their laurels as the whole team remain committed to increasing the number of opportunities for disabled people to get active.
Steve said: “There were questions about whether we’d survive as recently as 2018 but we’ve got three teams and one of the highest growth rates of any established club now.
“We’re just looking to continue that. We always hope to perform well on the court but there are other things we’re trying to achieve this year, like the Insport award which will improve our inclusive offer.
“We now run a schools programme and we’re hoping to get a junior section involved too, so there are plenty of exciting things to look forward to and to work hard towards.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair Rugby League & Disability Sports Club click here.