paul - portraitAs a BA (Hons) Social Work student at the University of Stirling I was pleased to be placed with Fife Centre for Equalities (FCE) as Diversity is one of my passions and equality is a value I hold deeply. On my initial meeting with Nina Munday, the centre manager, who acted as my mentor throughout the placement, I was made very welcome and immediately felt comfortable within the environment.

We discussed how the placement could be beneficial to my future career as a Social Worker with all the different aspects that FCE are involved in, and how I could gain as much learning as possible. We also spoke about what I could offer to the FCE while on placement and with my background in sports coaching and particularly for those with learning difficulties it was decided that I should look in to what sports facilities there are in Fife for those with any form of disability, either visible or invisible.

paul - p1My proposed project was to gather information from leisure centres, sports groups, and teams in the area and to talk to individuals who enjoy participating in various events available to them. All this information was to be collated, adapted, and included on the FCE website that already provides support and advice to those who find themselves excluded from full involvement across the whole of the Fife region and beyond.

My intentions were to contact as many establishments that provided leisure facilities as were listed in the Fife area. I soon discovered that there was a vast amount, so I narrowed my search down to what I thought was manageable within the timescale of my placement. Response was disappointing but I did benefit from my experience with Disability Sport Fife (see more detail below) and with the full support of FCE I was able to progress with my intended end goal.

paul - p2The whole experience I have had with FCE has given me a wider understanding of the various difficulties facing people from all backgrounds. The information I gathered from the individuals working within the group has given me more confidence in my own abilities to devise, investigate, initialize and progress with a project, however, I have also learned that I should not set myself unattainable goals with the timescale given and the frequency of my involvement with FCE.

Disability Sport Fife

President, Mr Richard Brickley MBE

A profile and report by Paul Evans

I had spoken to Richard on the phone and he invited me along to the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre to meet with him so that he could introduce himself and show me the facilities at the Leisure Centre.

When I arrived, I was instantly struck with the range of amenities that was on offer for sports men and women with a disability. Accessibility to the centre was easy with wide revolving doors and further entrance for wheelchairs. A wide reception area was also wheelchair friendly and the staff were very welcoming. I was directed to Richard’s office and he introduced himself and some other members of the team.

We sat and had a coffee and Richard gave me a brief background of his career, so far, with disability sport. He occupied the position of Depute Principal at the Fife Sports Institute when he volunteered at Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) in 1975. From 1984 to 2008 he was involved as a GB coach and international classifier for 7 successive Paralympic games. His retirement from Fife Council in 2006 did not deter his interest and he has maintained an involvement in education, inclusive coaching, sports development, and equity through SDS and Disability Sport Fife (DSF) locally.

He is also heavily involved with the annual sports events programme put on by DSF and helps with the preparation of Fife teams for national events, he also supports high performance athletes in their preparation from major global sporting events.

paul - p3

Disability Sport Fife, in partnership with Fife Council and The Fife Sports and Leisure Trust run an expansive activities programme for all ages and abilities with lots of different sports.

They provide coaches/teachers for each session and the sessions are available to participants with a physical, sensory (hearing/visual) or learning disability. Participants must register with DSF (forms available on the weblink above) before attending their first session and must provide their own personal assistant where required.

For a PDF of this report click here: Stirling University – Student Placement Reports – Paul Evans.