This week Manchester has been announced as the UK’s greatest sporting city.

Manchester topped the ranking after scoring highly in most of the 12 factors, which included value for money, success, atmosphere and transport links. London, host city for the 2012 Olympics, came in second while Glasgow, which staged the Commonwealth Games last year finished third.

With two world renowned football clubs in our region in the form of Manchester United and Manchester City as well as the North West’s only Premiership Rugby Club, Sale Sharks, a decorated County Cricket Club in Lancashire Cricket Club as well as excellent venues like Manchester Velodrome, it hardly comes as a surprise…

Forever Manchester funds and supports a huge array of sporting activity ranging from horse riding, to football, to cricket, to swimming.

The Dwarf Sports Association uses sports and activities as a tool to bring positives into people’s lives that are affected by the many different types of dwarfism. The North West Region brings together families from all areas of the North, including the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, where they are based.

The group do soft play, swimming, skiing, new age curling, boccia, athletics, basketball, hockey and recreational sports. Many families are isolated and stigmatized in society because of the condition, so the group run gatherings and events as often as possible every month.

Different sporting opportunities for a person with dwarfism teaches them that they can achieve in anything they want to.

It builds up their confidence and self-esteem and encourages the families that their child can live life to its full potential. It breaks down the barriers of difference and isolation, it also gives encouragement to the families to go away together, talk through their worries in a non-threatening environment where they can laugh together, cry together and renew their strength to deal with issues connected with the condition of dwarfism.

Individual beneficiaries of the group change completely after realising they are not alone in the world they live in. They are able to make friends with others who have the same conditions; their feeling of isolation reduces in knowing there is support, friendship and help from others with the same common bond.

Their self-esteem grows and they are then able to tackle things in life they once thought never possible. Isolation becomes a thing of the past, they even feel that they can go out and educate society around them.

As they grow up, the people with dwarfism put back the help they received to help others that come along. Families of the affected person feel happy again knowing that there is support out there for themselves to help them make sure their child with dwarfism is treated the same as their siblings.

The communities that these events take place in are better educated about people with dwarfism, and they realise that their ideas and thoughts were totally wrong. It leaves a legacy in that community for the next people that come along with dwarfism, who are then made to feel welcome, understood and accepted.

Of the monies awarded to them by Forever Manchester, The Dwarf Sports Association said: “The grant has made a huge difference to our member’s lives with dwarfism. We have seen a massive change in their families in that they do not feel isolated and alone. Our bonding weekend was a great success, families arrived quietly but left buzzing. It was a fantastic to see our younger members have a go at things they never thought possible.

“With everything we have been able to do with this funding, it has made an everlasting difference for these people and their families. It has changed them in their confidence, self-esteem, attitude and friendships. It has been an amazing transformation.

 “We had a family consisting of a mum, dad and two sons come with us on a trip to The Calvent Trust. One of their sons was very tiny and has a very rare type of dwarfism, which is undiagnosed. At first, the family were very shy and withdrawn. On the trip, the little boy challenged himself and had a go on everything. His parents cried with happiness, they were so proud. This little boy came away with so many friends and his family came away feeling part of a bigger family. They were thrilled and now come to everything.”

See the great work North West Dwarf Sports Association do in the video highlighting their work below: