AN event aimed at encouraging more disabled people to take part in sport was held at the weekend.

Building Bridges, hosted by Tees Valley Sport, took place at Billingham's Northfield School on Saturday.

The course was designed for sports clubs and coaches, and aimed to help them develop the ability and confidence to deliver quality coaching to disabled people.

It was led by community sports coach and former paralympics athlete Paul Smith.

Mathew Williams, coach development officer for Tees Valley Sport, said: "Disabled people are under-represented in sport due to the barriers that exist which reduce access to sporting opportunities.

"One of these barriers is a lack of skills, confidence and experience of coaches on coaching disabled participants.

"We need to provide better opportunities for children to take part in sport as there are so many health benefits."

Tees Valley Sport is a partnership initiative that aims to co-ordinate sports development, planning and delivery in the Tees Valley, working closely with coaches, participants, officials, administrators and providers.

Its partners include the five councils - Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Darlington - Sport England, the University of Teesside, national governing bodies of sport, Youth Sport Trust and sports coach UK.