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Exploring Accessibility & Inclusion with World Taekwondo

The Manchester 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final and the national social care charity Community Integrated Care came together to change the lives of almost 50 local people who access care and support and inspire many more.

A taekwondo match taking place on a blue floor.The charity joined forces with British Taekwondo to explore how this prestigious event could pioneer both greater accessibility and inclusion. Through delivering innovative social impact programmes, listening to the lived experiences of people who access care and support, and exploring how the event could be designed to promote greater independence and wellbeing, the partnership broke new ground.

At the heart of this relationship was the delivery of Community Integrated Care’s award-winning Inclusive Volunteering® Programme, which builds the skills, independence and confidence of people who access social care, through delivering innovative training, experiences, and vocational placements at major events.

From enabling people to develop dance skills and co-produce an original Taekwondo-inspired routine that was performed a packed crowd, to leading accessible arts programmes creating gifts for the tournament’s medallists, new creative talents were unlocked. The programme also provided participants with vital training and life experiences focussing on key areas, including physical activity, wellbeing, and independent travel.

Inclusive volunteers in red t-shirts holding their arms up in unison as part of a dance routine.Giving participants the opportunity to enjoy dream roles at the event – including volunteering as greeters and photographers, it created transformative moments that build new ambitions, skills, and social connections.

This work was underpinned by Community Integrated Care providing training, resources, and consultancy to British Taekwondo, as part of a wider partnership with UK Sport and Paralympics GB.

Working with people supported by the charity and internal experts, the event team explored simple but effective ways to enhance event accessibility – from the provision of complimentary sensory aids to exploring new approaches to community engagement. Bringing in more than 100 new spectators to the event from Manchester’s care and charitable communities, this work enabled many more people to enjoy the world-class event and unlocked new insights in event accessibility.

With Community Integrated Care’s Support Squad – a specialist team who are employed as experts by experience to help organisations fulfil their inclusivity potential – working closely with the British Taekwondo team from the planning of the event to its delivery, the event was underpinned by real insights, based on lived experience.

Katie Richardson, worked at the event with the Support Squad and following her passion for media, volunteering as an official event photographer. She says: “It is so important that disabled people have equal opportunities to enjoy live sports and are given opportunities to discover their potential.

I loved having the opportunity to work with the event team to explore how the tournament could be made more accessible and inclusive. As a member of the Support Squad at Community Integrated Care, we can really help organisations find ways to make a difference and be open to everyone. The team at British Taekwondo deserve a lot of credit for their efforts and willingness to listen to our ideas.

It was incredible to be an official photographer at the event too. Photographing Paralympians at such a big competition was a dream come true. I loved seeing so many other people enjoying their moment in the spotlight too, in their volunteering roles.”

With Community Integrated Care’s support, my confidence has improved massively, and I have more belief in my abilities. I’ve really enjoyed developing my skills through the Inclusive Volunteering Programme.”

John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, says: “Too often we see the barriers that many people face in being included in and accessing what should be everyday experiences, like attending sporting events. We were honoured to work with British Taekwondo to support a more accessible, inclusive, and impactful event experience that shows that change is possible.

This partnership successfully supported a more inclusive tournament that will leave a lasting impact. It was inspiring to see the event team value the volunteers and the reaction from fans to their brilliant roles. The community engagement programmes successfully gave many people their first experience of live sport. Moments like these enable people to live their dreams and can transform their lives.

We would like to thank British Taekwondo for their efforts and desire to make a difference, as well our partners at UK Sport and Paralympics GB for backing this work.”

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