Worcester MP Robin Walker welcomed Sports and Civil Society Minister Tracey Crouch MP to Worcester earlier this week to showcase the city as a national centre for inclusive sport and a beacon of civil society.

The Worcester MP has consistently championed a genuine gold standard for disability sport in the city and welcomed the chance to show off the University Arena’s world-class facilities together with University Vice Chancellor Professor David Green. The visit included a tour of the arena that took place while classes for senior citizens and disability sport coaches were taking place. The Minister had the opportunity to view a Sports Disability Class in Court 1, the Community Seniors Badminton Group in Court 2 and the Worcester Wolves Basketball practice on Court 3. In addition there was an opportunity to meet with world-class athletes who use the facilities on a regular basis including Paralympic swimmer Rebecca Redfern, GB Blind Cricketer Luke Sugg and Sophie Carrigill, Captain of the GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. The Minister met with a huge range of sportspeople and saw exciting plans to expand the inclusive sport offering in Worcester by creating a new indoor cricket centre and an international centre for inclusive sport.

They also visited the Worcester’s new £10.5 million swimming pool in Perdiswell Leisure Centre, taking a tour of the facilities before meeting with Di Steer, CEO of the Worcester-based drowning prevention charity the Royal Life Saving Society UK. Leisure centre operator Freedom Leisure were also able to present case studies of work delivered by their Active Communities team, including the positive impact swimming is making to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia. As a former chair of the all-party group for dementia, the Minister was appreciative of the high level of support available at the pool and the excellent accessibility of its facilities.

The Minister of State’s final visit of the day was to the Warndon Community Hub to meet with to discuss the hugely successful Reconnections service which is helping to reduce social isolation across the county. Also in attendance were representatives from Age UK Hereford and Worcester, St Pauls hostel, YSS and Onside Advocacy and the Minister had the opportunity to speak to clients and volunteers. She was able to welcome the news of a significant boost to lottery funding for the trust to support its work across the city.

Speaking after the visit, Robin said;

“I am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to show Tracey some of the wonderful facilities our city has for sport and well-being. The facilities the University has to offer are second to none and it was an excellent opportunity to meet with real athletes who use the facilities day-to-day. Inspiring people such as Becky Redfern and Sophie Carrigill are amazing role models for a generation who will grow up thinking of sport as accessible to all. The new swimming pool is one of the city’s great success stories this year, receiving over £2 million in funding from Sport England. It was great to hear about the success stories and positive impact on the community so soon after its opening.”

“Tracey has a brief that is wide-ranging from sport to the charity sector and it was excellent to be able to speak to a wide array of people that showcases what Worcester is all about in that regard. I am grateful to WCT and their partners for taking the time to speak about the Reconnections scheme and the vital work that it does to tackle loneliness in our community. Along with well-established charities such as St Paul’s Hostel and relative newcomers to the city the Royal Life Saving Society it was great to be able to showcase the wealth of ability and talent in the charity and voluntary sector.”

“Worcester is a great sporting city with a huge amount to offer, in particular with the growing specialism in disability sports. The news of Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games presents a real opportunity for Worcester to become an international centre for inclusive sport in the coming years. I believe we must grasp that opportunity in the months ahead and press our case for a position on the world stage.”


Notes to editors

For Robin’s previous statements on inclusive sport in the city, please see:




For details of Worcester Community Trust’s Reconnections service, call 01905 740954 or see http://www.worcestercommunitytrust.org.uk/wct-in-action/community-work/reconnections/

For further information on the Royal Life Saving Society, see http://www.rlss.org.uk/