Purple Turtles: Shaping Inclusive Wellbeing at UoM Sport

In the vibrant heart of The University of Manchester, a transformative movement is taking root: The Purple Turtles. Redefining traditional running events, this group embraces inclusivity, reaching beyond the track to grow a community that celebrates everyone. The team is preparing for the bicentenary celebration known as the Purple Wave 10k and Half Marathon Great Run event on 26 May 2024. 

Breaking Down Barriers 

The Purple Turtles seek a community actively participating in UoM sports events, emphasising inclusivity for all abilities. Central to their mission is championing physical activity for overall wellbeing, and recognising the unique challenges faced by those with disabilities. 

The Purple Turtles strive to create a community that comprehends the physical and mental challenges individuals might face in participating in physical activities. By reducing these barriers, they aim to create an environment where everyone, regardless of ability, can join in, experience a sense of achievement, have fun and enjoy an active and inclusive lifestyle. 

Participation at UoM Sport 

At UoM Sport, we believe in the power of inclusive participation groups within the Purple Wave. Lisa Morton-Smith, Sport Participation Officer at UoM Sport, emphasises,  
‘In creating a sense of shared support, participation groups within the Purple Wave represent the essence of community spirit, where the focus is not on how you move but on the shared experience and the inclusive environment with one another. It’s about embracing diversity and creating a welcoming space where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.’

Team Joe

Team Joe comprises Joe, who was born with cerebral palsy, and his two Personal Care Assistants. They have been helping Karen Brackenridge, Manchester Museum’s Culture, Health and Wellbeing Assistant, deliver SEND work Skills and Social Engagement Activities since Joe undertook his work experience at 16. Joe, now 30, and his dedicated team actively participate in the annual Purple Wave, embodying the inclusive spirit of sports. Despite the challenges posed by cerebral palsy, Joe has been a devoted participant in these events for several years. His support team emphasises, ‘For Joe, being part of the Purple Wave is enriching, offering a sense of achievement. These events significantly contribute to his wellbeing, where he feels appreciated and valued, while enjoying the community spirit.’

This year’s Purple Turtles initiative, facilitated by UoM Sport, also enables Karen, who has set her own achievement goal and faces an ORIF right ankle, to join as a Purple Turtles. The initiative advocates for unity and inclusivity with the message “Let’s do this together… and not leave anyone behind…. whatever our abilities and challenges in life are, it is all about taking part and being part of the Purple Wave, and us Turtles are going to ride it and have a marvellous time.”

How to join

If you’re interested in joining the Purple Turtles and being part of an inclusive sports community, just fill out the form, and we’ll connect you with this group. Join us in making a change, and let’s reshape the spirit of sports together. 

If you’d like to speak to someone at UoM Sport about this initiative, please contact ellen.stephenson@manchester.ac.uk.

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