The Sportsnet project has had a busy autumn and winter, continuing to attract increased numbers of participants to get involved. Amongst our highlights we ran a successful Sports Leaders course at Concord House youth centre in Ramsgate. The aim of the course was to give young people the opportunity to train as sports leaders. Twelve people gained the award. We also ran Boccia sessions at the Kent Integrated Youth Services diversity event at the Quarterdeck in Cliftonville.
We have introduced indoor cricket, short tennis and new age kurling to our weekly indoor sessions at Hartsdown Leisure centre this autumn.
In total we have supported over 220 people to access mainstream sports opportunities since the start of 2012!
Feedback from participants indicates the support they are given by Skillnet Group staff is important in making the sports sessions accessible.
One of those who has benefited from that support is Calum Davies. He said:
‘If I didn’t come to the gym I’d be stuck in the house. The Sportsnet sessions have given me the confidence to walk into a leisure centre on my own.’
Callum’s enjoyment of sport was recognised when he won the Highly Commended Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award at the fourth annual Thanet Sports Awards, which took place on Wednesday 21 November – and has been regarded as one of the best sports awards ceremonies to date. Guest speaker at this year’s awards was Olympic Champion Jade Jones, Team GB's youngest Olympic Gold medallist.
In addition to offering sports sessions, the Sportsnet project and our partners Thanet Leisure Force (TLF) continue to run a successful supported work placement programme throughout the Autumn and Winter.
10 people with learning disabilities have had the opportunity to experience working life in a leisure centre. One of those who took part was Chris Foulds.
During the Autumn Chris was invited back for an extended work experience placement at Hartsdown Leisure centre. This involved Chris working various shifts from Monday to Friday, including evenings and afternoons. He worked in the cafeteria, serving customers, stocking shelves as well as cleaning the tables and sweeping the floor.
In November Chris was offered a paid job at Hartsdown Leisure Centre, he said;
‘I have really enjoyed my work experience at Hartsdown; the staff have been really helpful to me. I’m thrilled to be offered a job with Thanet Leisure Force.’
During November and December, we ran a Sports Leadership course at the Concorde House Youth Centre in Ramsgate.
12 young people took part in the training, which was a mixture of team building activities and games, which encouraged young people to display their leadership skills. All those who took part are now using their leadership skills at the youth centres at Concorde House and The Quarterdeck in Cliftonville.
We have continued to forge links with lots of organisations in Thanet including 4us2, Thanet Matters Sports team, The Marlowe Academy, Sanctuary Housing, Thanet Athletics Club, and we have given presentations to the District Partnership Group, to let people know what’s on offer.
We have also attended local forums including Thanet Disability Hub meetings, District Partnership Group and Thanet ENGAGE forums.
We have worked closely with health trainers from the NHS, both local day centres and private care homes to develop sports opportunities for people.
We are registered with Sported, which supports organisations who are improving the lives of disadvantaged young people through sport. We are now an accredited provider of Sports Leaders UK.
Kent Sport has helped us with a grant to offer more sports to people with disabilities in Thanet.
Comic Relief & BBC South East
On the 29th January we had a visit to our Tuesday taster sessions at Hartsdown Leisure centre in Margate, from the BBC South East Today programme along with a representative from Comic Relief.
The BBC came to film Sportsnet in action supporting people in taking part in a wide mixture of activities including; Indoor cricket, short tennis, badminton and boccia. In addition several participants were interviewed on camera to give their views on Sportsnet.
The short film was aired on the BBC South East Today evening news during February as part of the launch for this year’s Comic Relief campaign.
To see the short film, follow the link below.
In December 2012 Sportsnet was awarded 3 year funding by Sported, to develop a volunteer and Sports Leadership programme.
Sportsnet will support young people with and without learning difficulties to work together equally to develop their skills and gain a nationally recognised qualification through Sports Leaders UK.
Volunteers, once trained, will be deployed and as a result Sportsnet will ensure that participants with a learning disability will be able to equally access mainstream sports opportunities within their local community.
We will recruit potential volunteers from local sports clubs, youth clubs, College and schools.