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Meet the Plymouth group spreading the word of Boccia - the fastest growing Paralympic sport in the world

Boccia has been a Paralympic sport since 1984. Photo: ITV News

A game for people with physical and mental disabilities is celebrating 35 years as a Paralympic sport.

Boccia, which follows similar rules to bowls but is played by wheelchair users, is one of the fastest-growing Paralympic sports in the UK.

A group which meets at the Life Centre in Plymouth is going from strength to strength - and the volunteers who run it say the sport helps with confidence, self-esteem and social skills.

The Plymouth 'Improving Lives' group holds regular Boccia sessions. Credit: ITV News

It's an 'all ability' sport to allow anybody, whatever age or ability, to take part. We've got individuals in wheelchairs, we've got those with very limited mobility, we've got those who have got learning disability or mental health support needs, so we cover the whole range. We've got some who have got full mobility, so they can throw and project the ball on to the court, then we've also got individuals who need more assistance, we use the ramp procedure.

– Louise Regan, Boccia development worker
Louise Regan says Boccia improves confidence and social skills. Credit: ITV News

Over the years that I've been doing the club I've seen huge amounts of confidence raised, self-esteem, and it's the social aspect. For them it's important to be part of a team, and that's what we're trying to build here. Most of our players have been coming for I've known most of them for four or five years, so we've got that rapport.

– Louise Regan
People of all ages and abilities can take part. Credit: ITV News

The game is a test of skill, patience and concentration - with the best players competing for medals at World Championships and Paralympic games.

National Boccia Day is on Friday September 27th this year.

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