‘I am not disabled, I am differently able,’ says Hayley

Wheelchair basketball player, Hayley Cassin, 12, stayed motivated in lockdown by training at her scheme’s community centre. Hayley has lived with her family at our Herringthorpe scheme, Rotherham, for five years. She trains with the Wakefield Whirlwinds and Sheffield Steelers, and also plays for Yorkshire under 14s.

Hayley has raised a significant amount of money for charity as a young Ambassador for Variety the Children’s Charity. She’s also an Ambassador for Max wheelchairs demonstrating their wheelchairs and helping out at events.

Wheelchair basketball

Hayley with David Walliams“I started playing wheelchair basketball about five years ago. I was bullied in primary school because of my disability, and wheelchair basketball allowed me to compete equally with both disabled and able-bodied players.

“But my motto is ‘I am not disabled. I’m differently able’. I’m also very competitive. I love winning and wheelchair basketball has done lots to improve my confidence and self-esteem. One day I hope to play in the Paralympic games.

“As a young ambassador for Variety, I really want to raise awareness of the needs of disabled children and young people like myself. It was amazing to meet David Walliams and listen to Jimmy Tarbuck’s jokes at a Buckingham Palace celebration for Variety’s 70th birthday.

Training during lockdown

“When lockdown happened, I went from three training sessions a week to none. I found not being able to do something I enjoyed so much really hard. But during winter, I was allowed to train in the scheme’s community centre with Wakefield Whirlwinds coach via a video link.

“I’m really grateful to Cleo Charles, our Neighbourhood Co-ordinator, for arranging this. It helped me to stay fit and strong and in good shape for when the games re-start.”

Proud parents

Hayley’s parents Steven & Susan, who are Habinteg tenants, were grateful for Habinteg’s support too.

“We’re extremely proud of Hayley and Cleo has been instrumental in helping her to keep her training on track. Allowing Hayley to use the community centre during lockdown really helped her to remain motivated,” they said.

Neighbourhood Co-ordinator of Rotherham, Chesterfield & Barnsley, Cleo Charles said: “Hayley is an outstanding young sports woman and a shining example of the big role sports can play in the life of young people, particularly at this time.

There’s so much out there for young people of all abilities to get involved in and Hayley’s motto ‘I am not disabled I am differently able’, shows her winning spirit