'Try It' with Halifax Panthers Wheelchair RLC

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Originally developed by Frenchmen Wally Salvan and Robert Fassolette as a form of rehabilitation, Wheelchair Rugby League is unique amongst wheelchair sports in its faithfulness to the rules of its sport of origin. It is also one of the most inclusive as it can be played by teams of mixed sexes, age groups, the able-bodied and those with a range of disabilities.

Rooted in Community

The Halifax Panthers Wheelchair Rugby League Club is now an essential part of the Halifax Panthers Rugby League family, deeply rooted in the Calderdale community. Over the past decade, the first team has achieved remarkable success, clinching a League Championship, two Grand Finals, three Challenge Cups, and a European Championship title.

It’s not just about elite participation however, and the club provides an opportunity for the people of Calderdale to participate in regular, integrated wheelchair sports and associated activities whilst promoting healthy lifestyle information & best practice for keeping active.

It is crucial to remember that Wheelchair Rugby League is not just a disabled sport but a sport in which disabled people can participate on equal terms with non-disabled people.

Halifax Wheelchair RLC

Riding The Wave

Due to an explosion of interest in the sport after the England team, featuring several Halifax players, won the World Cup in 2021 (played in 2022), the club decided it was the perfect time to launch a series of ‘Try it’ sessions. After surveying schools and the college to assess demand, they set about developing sessions to capitalise on the rising tide. These sessions were to act as a platform for new players to learn about the sport and experience participation for the first time.

Support from Active Calderdale, Halifax Panthers, and the Calder Community Trust, has allowed the club to deliver these ‘Try it' sessions which include learning how to use sports-chairs, ball control, tagging opponents, teamwork, fitness sessions, healthy lifestyle advice, and in-house match play. All kit/equipment is provided, and the sessions are free, then £3 per week if the recruits decide to join the club.

Thanks to the ‘Try it’ sessions, there are currently 20 new people now enjoying weekly Wheelchair Rugby League at Calderdale College. This includes male and female participants of various ages and ethnicities, benefiting from playing the sport in a welcoming and safe environment. The ultimate aim of the ‘Try it’ sessions is that new players continue into the standard sessions with the club in the future, helping to expand the game.

'Try It' Feedback

Finlay O’Neill - Aged 18, hearing impaired.

Finlay joined after seeing all the activity on TV and he attended ‘Try it’ sessions at college. He now coaches, helping the club with school sessions out in the community with Community Coach Chris Mitchell.

“Since he engaged in the sport his personality has changed positively. His confidence has grown and his social and mental health has improved so much.”

Finlay's Parents

“His confidence has grown immensely, whereby I let him lead on sessions out in the schools”

Chris Mitchell - Community Coach

Tom Robinson – Aged 15, disabled.

Tom is in his first year at college and joined after the club did sessions at his school, along with some of his classmates.

“Tom’s confidence has grown over time since his involvement with the club. He now feels he can go out on his own without me.”

Tom's Mother

The Halifax Panthers Wheelchair Rugby League Club is based at the Inspire Centre at Calderdale College, conveniently located near the town centre, serving as the hub for matches and training sessions. If you would like further information on the club or would like to 'Try it' yourself, email info@halifaxwheelchairrugbyleague.org or visit the website.