During the October half term, Ketton Panthers ran a holiday club for their youngest members and participants with additional needs.
“We really wanted to be able to provide the opportunity for our minis [U8s] and additional needs group to have some face-to-face coaching,” said Caz Hattee, head coach of the minis and additional needs group at the club.
“Thankfully, we chose to do it in the first week of the half term because the restrictions changed for the second time, and everyone who came along had such a great time.”
The sessions were run at different times during the week and followed the guidance put in place for in-person coaching at the time, with the activities the children undertook helping them to develop their skills and confidence.
“We played a mixture of different games with the kids,” Hattee commented. “It’s all about helping them to improve basic skills, whether that’s coordination, transition skills or bike handling, as well as helping them to enjoy and feel more confident whilst taking part.
“With them being the younger ones and individuals with additional needs, we made sure we put in all the appropriate measures to ensure that we could support them to take part safely.”
The club has a stock of trikes that the additional needs group uses and have loaned a number out to their participants to have at home while they haven’t been able to offer sessions.
“One of the girls who has Down’s syndrome borrowed a trike from the beginning of the first lockdown and we found out that her schoolfriends had taught her to ride it,” added Caz.
“It was so lovely to hear that the trike had been well used, especially how her friends had supported her to get going on it.”
As a speech and language therapist, Caz was in contact with kids with Down’s syndrome and their parents through her work when it became clear that there wasn’t the provision for them to be active locally.
The club has now been running regular holiday clubs for a number of years which have helped support children with a range of additional needs to take part.
“We received funding and support for equipment from a number of local companies,” Caz said. “We keep the kids active during the sessions to help them enjoy moving and taking part with a range of physical skills games as well as some more triathlon related activities.
“For the younger ones, it’s about helping them to get used to the movement needed to pedal a bike, and we see them progress and become more confident and independent on the trikes.
“It’s also a great social opportunity for the kids and their parents, giving them a chance to come together and meet up.”
At the end of the week, all the children were given a club bobble hat to take away as a souvenir of the holiday club.
Feedback from the children and their parents on the holiday club included:
“Huge thanks to all adult and children helpers - for giving up your time, for your enthusiasm and patience. You are all brilliant and we are so grateful.”
“Our daughter has been very excited about using the trike. She is gaining confidence and building her strength along with building hand, foot, eye coordination.”
“They love seeing the coaches and the sessions always end with happy smiling faces and sometimes very wet and muddy children!”
“Thank you so much, the boys have loved tri club and love their kit! Look forward to next year.”