At ENA, we are passionate about supporting all of our clients to reach their maximum potential, no matter what their age, disability or health condition. Understanding each person’s goals, and helping them to work towards those, is a vital part of how we tailor our support to ensure our clients get the most out of their lives.
The nature of live-in care means that much of the support we provide for our client’s aspirations happens behind closed doors, but in thinking about how we could go further and do more, we are delighted to announce that ENA Care Group has become the primary sponsor – providing £4,000 of the £7,000 needed – for this year’s Back to Boccia Cup.
What is boccia?
For readers who have never watched or participated in boccia, it is a target ball sport. From a seated position (and therefore ideal for wheelchair users), players propel balls to land close to a white marker ball. For those unable to grasp and propel a ball, a ramp and assistant can be used.
For many severely disabled or older people who have limited motor skills, physical or mental ability, boccia is the only sporting option for them. For the most talented athletes, boccia is a chance to compete at the highest level in a sport that is purely for them, as our client Emma Harris explains:
“There’s a lot more to boccia than you think. It’s all about tactics, always thinking about what shot you’re going to do next. I started playing at college and it didn’t take long for me to get into it. I started to go to regional competitions and after a couple of years I began qualifying for the nationals. After a few more years I got invited into the England squad and playing for England was absolutely amazing! I never thought I would get to play for England in anything, traveling across the country and abroad for friendly competitions, I couldn’t believe it.”
Emma’s thoughts are echoed by Louis Saunders, one of Boccia England’s former Talent Pathway athletes, who will be making his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020:
“Since I started playing boccia, I was gripped by the tactical nature, freedom and confidence it gave me. I wasn’t strong enough for wheelchair basketball, not fast enough for wheelchair racing and not agile enough for wheelchair tennis. I love sport, I want to be the best and sadly I didn’t really have that chance, that opportunity, because of the nature of my disability. But that was before boccia; now I’ve been given a chance and I’ve made the most of it.”
The benefits of boccia go beyond sporting success
At ENA we would say that boccia is more than just a competitive sport. Many disabled people are marginalised when it comes to physical activity, but boccia is unique in making it possible for these individuals to excel, set goals to work towards and, crucially, make life-long friendships.
Watching boccia quickly shows you the impact it has on participants wellbeing, quality of life and mental health. The joy and sense of determination on the faces of the disabled athletes, and the pleasure this gives their families and wider support networks, is one of the many reasons boccia is such a special sport to be involved in.
ENA and boccia
Our relationship with the sport of boccia isn’t new. We sponsored the Southern All Star Boccia team in 2020, and have long championed this fantastic, all-inclusive sport that is open to everyone regardless of their disability and enjoyed by all age groups.
As Mitch Miller, Managing Director of ENA said:
“Many of our clients play boccia, including – but not limited to – some of the people we support living with cerebral palsy or spinal injuries, and we know first-hand how important boccia is to them. It’s exhilaration, achievement, togetherness and fun all rolled into an amazing sport that perfectly demonstrates ability before disability and how the human spirit can triumph.”
The Back to Boccia Cup
The Back to Boccia Cup is Boccia England’s first competition in over a year and a half, after boccia was suspended in March 2020 due to Coronavirus. It is being held over the weekend of 18th-19th September 2021 at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield.
Boccia England, the national governing body for boccia in England and a registered charity, are inviting up to 32 England Talent Pathway athletes to compete. The Pathway is designed to find and develop future Paralympic medallists and to help athletes reach their fullest potential.
As Cally Keetley, Fundraising Manager for Boccia England, explains:
“Many of the athletes in our Pathway are deconditioned due to being confined to training in their homes since March 2020, and they have had no competitive opportunities for over a year. Therefore, it’s imperative that we can support our athletes to be physically, technically and mentally ready to progress, and this competition will form a crucial part of this process.”
A final word from Boccia England’s Head of Talent, Andy Partridge
“We are looking forward to giving our athletes and coaches an opportunity to put their training to the test and to celebrate the return to the court. We’re very grateful to ENA Care Group for making this opportunity possible.”
Contact ENA to find out more about our live-in care
Find out more about how ENA Care Group could support you or your family by calling 0800 4334 413 or emailing .