"Break Down Barriers" - Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Launches Unique Fundraising Initiative - Ruck

“Break Down Barriers” – Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Launches Unique Fundraising Initiative

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby have launched an exciting fundraiser initiative, that aims to make the sport the showpiece event of the 2028 Paralympic Games. Team GB launched the ’28 for 28′ fundraiser last Wednesday, in what was a brilliant event in London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.

The initiative is for the organisation to connect with 28 sponsoring partners, that can help generate revenue for the club in time for the 2028 Games. The partners will support the team on the road to Los Angeles, which includes this coming Summer’s 2024 Paralympic Games, that will be hosted in Paris. Great Britain are the reigning Gold medal holders from the Tokyo Games, and are eyeing up a historic title retention this coming tournament.

However before that, Team GB head to Cardiff for the 2024 Wheelchair Rugby Quad Nations. Taking place from the 16th – 18th of April, Great Britain take on France, Japan and the United States, to determine the bragging rights amongst the leading names of the sport. Speaking at the 28 for 28 fundraiser, Team GB Wheelchair Rugby legend Aaron Phipps said;

“People watched us for first time in London (2012) and that started an amazing journey which saw two million people watch us win in Tokyo (2021). Once you watch it you can’t take your eyes off it!

“We wouldn’t have taken gold without the support we received. Come along with us as we continue our journey. This is a great opportunity to make a huge difference to peoples’ lives. You will have a direct impact and improve lives in so many ways.”

GBWR CEO Jason Brisbane was also on hand at the event, and spoke passionately about the fundraiser to lift the status of the sport. Brisbane is excited with the potential that wheelchair rugby has to grow, and hopes that the partnering sponsors share in his eagerness.

“It is our vision to be the showcase disability sport in Great Britain, but if we are to achieve our vision we need to think and act differently. This is an ambitious initiative that harnesses the collective power of organisations and individuals with a shared sense of responsibility to break down barriers and deliver opportunities for those with a disability so they can thrive.

Jason Brisbane (Right) With David Pond (Left) and Jim Roberts (Centre) – Image Credit David Pond

“There is a disproportionate cost of living impact on the disabled population with the income gap between disabled and non-disabled population at 44% on average. Playing our sport at a high level is costly, requiring expensive equipment and typically weekend travel and accommodation costs. 28 for 28 will help us overcome some of these challenges so we can help people access the sport and develop a pipeline of world-class talent.”

Ascot Underwriting Holdings, a leading Lloyd’s of London insurer, hosted the launch of the 28 for 28 at their Fenchurch Street offices in London on what marked the six months to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“28 for 28 is more than a sponsor badging exercise, members will be part of a true partnership where everyone benefits”, Jason Brisbane continued.

“Partner involvement not only supports an organisation’s ESG commitments by taking tangible action to support communities, it provides the opportunity through volunteering experiences to learn more about inclusion and how everyone can play a role in creating a truly inclusive society.”

Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Officer Bill Sweeney said: “The RFU and England Rugby is delighted to be a partner of 28 for 28, rugby plays a vital role in bringing people and communities together and wheelchair rugby has huge potential for growth as well as supporting people with disabilities to live active lifestyles and thrive.  We share their ambition to become the showcase disability sport in the UK.”

Notable founding partners of the 28 for 28 initiative include England Rugby, Get Kids Going!, Allied Mobility, Socios.com Supports, Ascot Underwriting Holdings, the RFU Injured Players Foundation, and Tokio Marine Kiln.

Their commitment and support lay the foundation for the success of this initiative which will fuel the future of wheelchair rugby in Great Britain. Sebastien Dieguez said of Socios.com Supports’ involvement:

“We believe it is such a great sport to involve everyone, so when we heard about the opportunity to be part of 28 for 28 we jumped at the chance. It’s the perfect addition to our social impact programme which aims to enable inclusion and improved health in the community. We’re honoured to be part of this programme and look forward to seeing the sport continue to grow.”

Wheelchair rugby is the only mixed-gender Paralympic team sport which has grown five-fold since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Ruck Rugby is excited to be apart of the journey, and we aim to become a leading outlet for Wheelchair Rugby news and match coverage, throughout the upcoming competitions.

To learn more about the 28 for 28 initiative and how to get involved, visit the official website at https://gbwr.org.uk/28for28/ or reach out via email at 28for28@gbwr.org.uk.