November Club of the Month!
Stockport Disability Darts never fail to hit bullseye when it comes to making their sport accessible.
Formed three years ago by full-time carer Ben Wright, Stockport Disability Darts League was initially a means to support his wife Debbie, a stroke survivor.
The league is now a thriving community which provides equal opportunities for disabled and able-bodied peers to play their favourite game together.
From having six people turn up to their very first event in late 2018, they now have nearly 70 members and can accommodate around 50 people in their bespoke Stockport Lads Club venue.
And people from all over the country travel to take part and compete on the level playing field which the club has worked hard to create.
“We’ve smashed away the barriers of disability,” Ben said.
“Husbands and wives, kids and parents are now arguing over who’s better at darts. To see the spouses walking out say ‘we've never argued like that, it’s brilliant’ is great.
“We see the parents who haven’t been able to interact with their children through sport because of the disability, now playing each other on the darts oches.
"You can see that bond between the parent and child reconnecting, it’s fantastic."
“At Stockport Disability Darts League it doesn’t matter about your disability. People either come to learn to play darts or they can play darts. If you think you’re good enough to play then you get whoever you’re drawn against.
“We have some of the best disability darts players in England. To see somebody of that calibre who’s been playing for years play against somebody who has only been playing for two months is brilliant.”
Everybody and anybody can step into their doors and become a part of the family with all types of skill level accommodated, whether you want to play professionally or just socially at the club.
They have implemented specific dartboards for wheelchair users and become a fully-accredited academy of the Junior Darts Corporation, meaning they have qualified coaches who can provide specialist training for young players.
Ben added: “I don’t care who you are and what walk of life you’re from - darts is something that anybody on any level can relate to and that’s what is bringing people together.
“I love what I do, I do it with a passion. I’m proud of the people who turn up month in, mouth out to play. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do it, I wouldn’t want to do this.
“It’s not just me, it’s all of our members. It’s my baby but without all of us it’s nothing, it’s a massive team thing, it’s a family thing.”
It is a testament to the environment volunteers have created that the league has been awarded Parasport Club of the Month for November.
But Ben is far from done with his work and has plans to make his darts offering ever more inclusive in the future.
“I’ve been looking at ways we can still include people who can’t throw a dart, to play darts,” he added.
“If you think of the old shuffleboard game you play on ships. We will have a ramp set up with an adhesive layer and dartboard segments slightly blown up so they’re bigger in size.
“Participants will use something similar to a weighted beanbag so they can throw it underarm, it will then land on the board and fall into the holes for the score.
“We’re constantly thinking of ways we can improve and expand on what we’re doing.”
If you want to find out more and get involved with Stockport Disability Darts League, click HERE.
Footage of Stockport Disability Darts members engaging in darts courtesy of CP Media.