Sport England will invest £1.3 million over the next four years into Boccia England to build on the already significant growth in the sport since 2008. The award includes £300,000 to develop talent and the next generation of Paralympians.
Given the increased awareness and interest in the sport since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Boccia England aims to double the number of players in the game by 2017.
As a sport which people with severe impairments can play, the investment will enhance the sporting opportunities not only for its core Paralympic classifications but also for a wide range of disabled participants. Boccia England will use a number of programmes to deliver an increase in participation:
Pan disability boccia will work with all disability groups including physical and learning impairments in young people and adults to deliver appropriate levels of competition, with four leagues from school to super league level
Physical disability boccia, which is also supported by the Lord Taverners, is targeted at under-19 year olds with a physical impairment and will be expanded from 36 to 42 counties, whilst up-skilling coaches and volunteers
Visually impaired boccia is currently being developed as a specialised version of the sport, targeting one of the least active disability groups
Paralympic Pool boccia will focus on athletes eligible to compete at the Paralympics by delivering different levels and types of competition – this typically hard to reach group of players is particularly important due to their high level of disability
To develop talented athletes, Sport England is investing £300,000 to support the North and South Talent Squad, England Lions Squad and the England Squad, which will feed talent into the GB Paralympic Squad.
Sport England’s Director of Sport, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “It’s an exciting time for the sport of boccia given the rise in profile thanks to the Paralympic Games. We want to make sure that our investment will create the opportunities for more people with disabilities to get involved on a regular basis, and identify and support the Paralympians of the future.”