The Stoke Mandeville Mini Games
From the late 1970s Nottingham Trent University had been involved in taking students on the annual trip to the Mini Games at Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Bucks, to assist in the organising and officiating.
The BSAD/DSE Partnership
The annual trips provided valuable first hand experience for the students in working with youngsters with a range of special needs between the ages of 7 -11 years.
In the later era of the British Sports Association for the Disabled (1976 – 1986), which later became the Disability Sport England (1987), this enabled a public arena for the field testing of the adapted games.
In 1986 Project Adapted was invited to introduce Polybat to the games. It was an immediate success and within a few years there were 95 youngsters competing. Then followed:
Between 1982 and 1993, a considerable number of requests were made for in-service courses in schools - especially with county sports development groups and other voluntary special needs groups. A number of courses were then delivered nationally and internationally, often in conjunction with the delivery of adapted swimming workshops.
Many of the teachers involved in the Mini Games became avid evangelists for the games. As a result they were quickly taken back to school situations, regional DSE events and individual clubs. The following then ensued.
- The teachers provided feedback and ideas on the games, their use and realistic rules for the competitions.
- The schools undertook many DIY initiatives as all the games at this stage, existed in the various DIY formats of wooden kits
- Because of this increased interest and demand, the possibility of commercial production was investigated.
- A number of firms were approached, with all of them giving the same apologetic response - given the limited client population it would be too costly to manufacture for such limited numbers.
The DIY era of the games continued therefore up until the late nineties when the second breakthrough occurred.