Everyday Heroes: Bisi Imafidon
School manager at a primary school in Newham by day, coach of almost every disability sport under the sun at night, Bisi Imafidon is one busy and qualified coach. When asked what disability sports she coaches Bisi initially says wheelchair basketball, goal ball and boccia. However, after further probing you find out that she actually has qualifications in boccia, goalball, para-triathlon, new age kurling and polybat whilst also being an England Athletics mental health ambassador and training to become and training to become an England Athletics Tutor. All of this and her coaching career is only in its 3rd year.
“It started really simple, my initial footstep into coaching was through running. I joined my running club as I wanted to improve my running and because it is all voluntary, they were looking for volunteers. It coincided with when I was made redundant and for me it was like a now or never moment. If I was ever going to make this switch and go into coaching it was the time to do it. I got lots of encouragement… Running was the springboard to getting involved in other sports…it has opened up lots of opportunities.”
Bisi said “I get involved in quite a lot of projects… each activity or sport is a stepping stone into another.” A few of the events that she mentions includes coaching wheelchair basketball at the Newham Town Show, assisting at a wheelchair rugby event at the Copperbox, officiating at the London Youth Game AND Metro Sports, which is an athletics event for the visually impaired whilst also offering a SEN yoga session at her school.
Her passion and involvement is obviously wrapped up in raising the profile of disability sports and creating an awareness. “There are so many CPD (continued professional development) opportunities in disability sports.”
The National Autism Society launched an autism in sport modules and as a coach on this pilot Bisi said that “being able to make school sessions autism friendly and being more aware of how you might want to do things differently and how you can say things differently is important”.
When asked what she enjoys most about coaching Bisi remarked “For me it is about seeing the difference in people and providing opportunities that someone might not ordinarily be able to have.”
Her whole identitiy is now so wrapped up in her coaching as she says “The work that I do in the community means that people recognise me and call me Miss Bisi or Coach Bisi. That makes me smile and feel like I am part of their experience.”
“After being in banking for 24 years… if someone had said to me ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time’, never in a million years would I have said coaching… It [disability coaching] is not as daunting as you think… I would encourage everyone to give it a try… everyone can be a coach. For what you get back in return there is no comparison.”
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Sainsbury's Inclusive Community Training
You could play an important role in making active lives possible via this workshop supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by EFDS and Sports Coach UK.
This three hour practical workshop and online resources, will support you to:
- Learn about practical tools to support inclusive delivery
- Explore creative ideas to support disabled people to take part in physical activity and sport
- Learn about local groups, activities and further training opportunities.