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How HS2 Has Helped Us

Our HS2 funding is finally coming to an end, which has been an extremely valued and important aspect of our funding that has provided us with a variation of benefits on our much loved session, Inclusive Families. So today, we would like to look back and reflect on all of the wonderful things that took place over the last two years.


First granted on the 1st April 2021, can you believe that our first sessions were piloted over zoom? When Covid-19 was still very much keeping us all indoors, we wanted to get our services out to our participants and their loved ones without having to risk leaving their homes. This was aided by dropping off equipment in a socially distanced manner, and getting involved with activities such as seated exercises, quizzes and interactive games to get everyone involved. This allowed many children and young people to get integrated in a way that they otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to meet, and slowly developed a regular cohort of participants that had the desire to keep on coming back. This therefore contributed massively to reducing isolation for vulnerable families during this difficult time, and provided a network of support that they otherwise would have lacked. When restrictions were lifted, these sessions helped slowly integrate the families back into the community with our weekly and bi-weekly sessions. This was aided with encouragement from our staff, as well as the ongoing support and structure that was provided by the sessions. Over the last two years, we have achieved a huge amount of progress and development within our children and young people as well as their families. We have massively improved their confidence and self esteem within an isolated setting, that caters to, understands and celebrates all abilities. This was done with a range of staff who are not only specially trained, but also passionate about SEND. We also were able to improve the participants health and well-being over this time period. We used several different resources to aid this, such as Activity Alliance’s ‘Talk to Me’ principles to encourage physical activity provision. This also included building a stronger awareness of how to stay active and improve physical fitness. We did this through different fun and interactive healthy eating activities- such as identifying what makes a healthy meal, and the importance of a balanced diet to encourage a safe and regulated relationship with food. Not just this, but that occasional treats and indulging is completely normal. On top of this, we ensured to up-skill our staff to help better understand how to facilitate physical activity. This was through Inclusive Groups endorsed by CIMSPA as well as Inclusive Activities through UK Coaching. If you would like to up-skill yourself like this, we actually host a range of different workshops and classes through our partner business Inclusive Educate- see what we have on and how to get involved on our official website. Staff were not only upskilled just in this sense, but the funding also allowed us to guide some of our members in a management capacity. This also enabled us to introduce our project manager Kat O’Donovan. This allowed us to capture appropriate information and crucial conversations regarding what our children and young people’s needs were, and how we can better help support them. Not just this, but also to find out exactly what kind of activities they were interested in and what would benefit them. This gave us the opportunity to create more of a bespoke and curated service that was more participant-centric, rather than just what we thought they would like or need. It was also important to us that we knew exactly how our participants were developing, and areas in which they would need extra support to develop appropriately. We utilised our Warwick and Edinburgh wellbeing chart to measure the developmental needs of everyone on the project to ensure all bases were covered. Also to make sure that it was understood in a clear and concise way that was easy for everyone to monitor, and identify where the areas of improvement would have to take place. We also took the time to better understand their individual learning styles to better understand how they would best respond to different aspects of the service. A very important aspect to the session was to provide an environment to socialise in and make friends that wasn’t school. This enabled our participants to interact with wider circles with individuals who have a shared understanding and relatability regarding disability. As well having not only inclusively trained staff but accessible equipment also ensured that they never feel excluded.

We have always made sure to document every step of the way through our social media accounts. This was to showcase to you, funders and others all of the amazing things we were doing at the sessions. We have plenty of content for you to look back on, and see how simultaneously the service, our participants and staff have all developed to get where we are today. To make sure all of our activities were fresh, relevant and up to date we always made sure to centralise our sessions on current affairs. For example, occasions such as Christmas, Valentines, Halloween were always celebrated during Inclusive Families, providing a range of different fun activities and provision that was ever changing and unique. We also celebrated the Queen’s jubilee as well as commonwealth games. This included educating our participants on these topics, and helping them to better understand the major milestones that they were living through- providing them with memories that would stick with them for years to come. Community is at the heart of everything that we do. Improved community cohesion in a local catchment area was one of the main intentions when Inclusive Families was introduced. We believe that we have achieved this tenfold, as well as creating our own community within Inclusive Sports. One of the ways that we managed to do this was through the creation of a Whatsapp group among parents and carers, so that there was a sense of community at all times, not just at our sessions. This also helped to let them know what activities we were hosting, and made it easier for everyone to see if any changes or adaptations were made. It also helped to understand what else was going on within the community that may be of interest to them, signposting them to a range of different activities. We also made sure to integrate a social aspect into the session for parents, carers and loved ones. This included a coffee/tea break in the middle of the sessions, allowing them to chat and enable them to interact in more of a social capacity, rather than just simply interact with their loved ones. This additionally built a stronger and wider support network, with others who have similar and shared experiences. We have managed to work with over 150 beneficiaries over the last two year period, simultaneously providing more of a structure in their lives, with lasting friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

It has been an amazing two years, so we want to say another big thank you to HS2 for your generous funding. Hopefully we have showcased in this blog all of the absolutely amazing things you have helped us to do over the last two years. To book onto any other of our services that can also help you and your loved ones in similar ways to Inclusive Families- please book on through our Class for Kids link. We are also hosting an Easter Camp throughout the half term which you can request a space on. For any questions or concerns regarding any of our term time provision, then feel free to contact andy@inclusivesportsacademy.org or call 07547227639. For anything to do with our holiday or PA services then please drop an email to kat@inclusivesportsacademy.org or call 07743713161. Have an Inclusive week!

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