Progressive Building Society extends its support of disability sports in Northern Ireland until 2025

Progressive Building Society has reaffirmed its commitment to Disability Sport NI by extending their existing partnership for another two years.
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To date, the collaboration has helped more than 10,000 local disabled people access a range of programmes through disability sports hubs in each of Northern Ireland’s 11 council areas.

Progressive’s partnership with Disability Sport NI, which began in 2019, has meant that for the first time ever, Northern Ireland’s main disability sports charity is providing sports and active recreation sessions for disabled people delivered by local activity leaders, sports coaches and volunteers.

Jane Millar, Head of Lending & Savings at the society, who recently attended a NI Wheelchair Basketball Academy training session where they unveiled their new Progressive-branded kit, said the disability sports organisation played a vital role in society.

From left: Luke Marshall, NI wheelchair basketball player; Paddy Marshall DSNI chairperson; Jane Millar, Progressive Building Society Head of Lending & Savings; Kevin O’Neill, DSNI Chief Executive and Eimear MacSorley, NI wheelchair basketball player. Picture: Progressive Building SocietyFrom left: Luke Marshall, NI wheelchair basketball player; Paddy Marshall DSNI chairperson; Jane Millar, Progressive Building Society Head of Lending & Savings; Kevin O’Neill, DSNI Chief Executive and Eimear MacSorley, NI wheelchair basketball player. Picture: Progressive Building Society
From left: Luke Marshall, NI wheelchair basketball player; Paddy Marshall DSNI chairperson; Jane Millar, Progressive Building Society Head of Lending & Savings; Kevin O’Neill, DSNI Chief Executive and Eimear MacSorley, NI wheelchair basketball player. Picture: Progressive Building Society

“The renewal of our partnership until 2025 will enhance the participation opportunities that exist for those with disabilities, increasing access to disabled sport across the region, which is crucially important,” she said.

“Disability Sport NI works tirelessly to enhance the lives of disabled people through sport and active recreation.

"Progressive is delighted to continue supporting their work. The team is excited about the rollout of inclusive disability sports events and activities over the next two years, helping to take disability sports to a new level.”

This year the programme saw a collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and Archery NI, resulting in a bespoke archery programme for those with sight loss and visual impairments.

Additional funding from Progressive, which has been operating for over 100 years with 11 branches across Northern Ireland, will provide a major boost to allow further development of disability sport.

Beyond an inaugural archery event, 2023 saw the return of the regional schools Boccia competition, the Swim Ulster championships and a new multi-initiative Deaf Sports event for people living with deafness and hearing impairments.

Kevin O'Neill, Chief Executive of Disability Sport NI, said Progressive’s sustained support compounds their long-term goal of bringing disability sports clubs and programmes to disabled people in every area of Northern Ireland.

"Our continued partnership will help us support many more disabled people to lead an active lifestyle through sport and active recreation opportunities,” he said.

"The funding will help us continue to deliver a varied range of community sports programmes across Northern Ireland in activities like inclusive cycling, ‘wheelie active’ clubs and sports hall athletics.

"It will also help us to continue our popular disability sport-based education programmes in Northern Ireland primary schools.”

Mr O’Neill said Disability Sport NI was “particularly delighted” that the latest tranche of funding will also support new ‘Northern Ireland Academy’ programmes for Boccia and Wheelchair Basketball.

He added: “The Academies will help us support young talented athletes in both sports to further develop their skills, experience and channel them into UK and Irish squads.”

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