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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Acknowledgment for the ‘inspirational’ work of Causeway Giants Wheelchair Basketball Team

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Steven Callaghan, with team members.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Steven Callaghan, with team members.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan has praised the work of the Causeway Giants Wheelchair Basketball team during one of his final engagements in his role.

The team come together twice a week at Ulster University Coleraine’s sports complex to train, catch-up, share skills and life experiences. Many of the group have experienced significant challenges in their life and the group provides with focus and support for each other.

The team currently has 26 members from Larne to Portrush, and with a junior age group team, they are growing from strength to strength.

The Mayor, Councillor Steven Callaghan said:

“On my first day as Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, I had the pleasure of meeting ladies from the Causeway Giant’s Wheelchair Basketball team. The members were an inspiration to me, and I have since had the honour of inviting the whole club to a civic reception at Council headquarters.”

Cllr Callaghan paid tribute to Club Secretary and team member Helen Logan, describing her as a “dedicated advocate” for the sport.

He added: “It is my honour to visit the club again during my last few weeks as Mayor. They are a club that is close my heart and will remain so into the future.”

Helen Logan said the club had “saved her mental health”, explaining:

“I have spina bifida, but was still on my feet until COVID hit. The pandemic closed swimming pools, and in turn, stopped my physical exercise. Not having the water to aid my body, I found myself using a stick, which then lead to using crutches, and then, painfully, accepting that a wheelchair was the only aid.

“The chair was undoubtedly my life changer, helping me live again, but it was not an easy transition. In fact, it was something I, and my family, struggled massively to accept as the new way of life, particularly within a global pandemic.”

She continued: “A close friend kept messaging to come along to one of the sessions. It took me 3 months to pluck up the courage to do so! Making my way onto a Basketball court for the first time was something I couldn’t have imagined, but at no point have I looked back!

“I’ve found my people and learned to exercise and play a fantastic sport, on a weekly basis. Being part of a community of people, with a mixture of abilities, really gave me that push to keep going, and it has well and truly changed my life, my husbands, my daughter’s – who comes with me to training sessions and is very much part of the club. I’m Club Secretary, kit washer lady and general mummy of the Team. They mean the world to me and, together, we saved one another.”

Enterprise Causeway extended the invitation to the Mayor, having met, and been inspired by one of its members, Helen Logan, at its International Women’s Day event – CelebrateHER – earlier this year at Ulster University.

CEO of Enterprise Causeway, Jane Taggart said:

“We were instantly taken with Helen’s infectious energy. Spend but one minute in her company and you can see the positive impact of this club, both on Helen’s mental health, and her working/family life. After the event we met up with Helen over a coffee to hear more about the group and when chatting, realised we could provide support through our Connecting Communities project, with mentoring and peer-to-peer clustering. We are very excited to be working alongside members over the next few months.”

Running for 5 years, club has grown from strength to strength, locally and internationally. It hosted the Disability Sport NI League opening matches at University in September 2023.

Taken with the spirit and passion of members in that first appointment, the Mayor attended this important match, and afterwards, held a reception in Councils Civic Headquarters, in Cloonavin in November.

Excitingly members are also working to expand their youth club. In 2023, the club, with help from Disability Sport NI, was able to purchase 10 chairs for junior members and have been attracting keen, young athletes.

One of these was Ethan Pollock, a young man from Portballintrae, whose talent saw him headhunted by the Northern Ireland Sports Academy. Before joining, Ethan was extremely shy before joining the Club - feeling like he could not match the success, or have as much fun, as his sporting brothers, but having seen an advert, Ethan’s mother brought him along to a session, and like with every other member that intrepidly comes along, fell head over wheels with the sport, and the people.

If you are interested in joining the adult Causeway Giants Wheelchair Basketball Club, or if you are a parent/guardian of someone aged 8 years and above, who would be interested in joining the youth section, then get in touch via the teams’ Facebook page:


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