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Rob Hingston

by Rob Hingston / Managing Director

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1st Mar 2023

Supporting charities is a personal passion for the team at Origin Workspace. Access Sport is one of five local charity partners we support.

Access Sport is one of Origin Workspace’s key charity partners. Their Bristol team has been based at Origin for over a year and sports fan and Head of Origin Rob Hingston sits on their Bristol Steering Group focused on local fundraising.

In November 2022 they hosted an event at Origin Workspace to introduce the work they do to other members and local businesses, with the support of the Origin events team who provided the space and offered food and drink for the event. More recently their CEO, Helen Rowbotham, attended a roundtable organised by Origin for local business leaders and members.

Increasing inclusion 

While they have a strong focus in Bristol, Access Sport is a national charity on a mission to make inclusion the norm in community sports. Helen joined the organisation as Chief Executive in early 2022, bringing with her 25 years of experience working in the sports sector on both a national and international scale. 

“These opportunities are key for us,” explains Helen. “Partnering with businesses is important, and we’ve even had people from Origin volunteer at one of our BMX tracks to clean and tidy – and they got the chance to have a go on the track afterwards!”

“There is a huge need across the sector for the work that we do. Our approach is focused on collaborating and supporting local sports clubs and organisations to provide diverse and inclusive offers,” she explains. “We were set up in 2004 and now have a base in Bristol at Origin Workspace, as well as teams in London, Manchester, Oxfordshire, and Sheffield.”

The Bristol team was set up in 2008. “We have two parts to our work in Bristol – one is around disability inclusion and the other is around social inclusion with a big focus on cycling,” Helen continues. 

“For example, we’ve just started working with a wrestling club where we’re going to provide disability inclusive wrestling activities – it’s really diverse.”

“As part of our cycling programme we’ve worked with local partners to help develop four BMX pump tracks in places like Lawrence Weston and Stockwood. Many of these places don’t have other existing community sports facilities. These tracks are open all the time and we provide managed sessions as well as storage containers full of bikes for people to use.”

Making a difference in Bristol

As a result of these sites anti-social behaviour has seen a significant drop in these areas, in some cases by up to 50%, as reported by the local police.

Wherever they’re working the charity follows a five-step process, from going into local sports communities to inviting the clubs to join their national inclusive club network. “If there is a club in Bristol that wants to be more inclusive we will support them to create new inclusive offers and help market them to the right people,” says Helen. 

“Bristol has a network called ignite that is for all the organisations that are involved in disability inclusive sport and activity. We support each other and ensure that there is learning and sharing of information.” 

One of the charity’s biggest events is an annual festival giving everyone the opportunity to try different sports. “The difference with our come and try days is that every club that’s there has the ability to provide inclusive offers to those that want to join.”

Helen is clearly very proud of the partnership with Origin and the opportunities it provides the charity. “It’s a really fantastic partnership, it’s great that the team has a nice office space to be in, but more importantly are all those connections and the links that it provides is invaluable.”

Find out more about Access Sport

If you would like to know more about Access Sport contact Tom Dixon on [email protected].

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