How 1610 is helping Dorset children with disabilities and learning difficulties to Aim High

Posted: 9th May 2016

Category: 1610 Trust

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Aiming High is the inspiration behind the success of a sport based activity programme for children with learning difficulties and disabilities at Dorchester Sports Centre which has been going from strength to strength since its launch three years ago.

Children with learning difficulties and disabilities from all across Dorset have been coming along to the centre to take part in the Aiming High Programme where they can enjoy a variety of multi-sports activities from Trampolining to swimming as part of a respite service for their families.

Aiming High is run in partnership with West Dorset District Council and it is funded by Dorset County Council Short Breaks for Children with disabilities programme. It now supports 30 children aged from 5 to 19 years of age and provides a valuable service for the children, their carers and families.

One of the organisers of the Aiming High programme, Andrea Dabbs says that during the past three years there has been a huge demand for the service; “ We started with a handful of children and now we have 30 and the programme is always popular with both the children and their families. The children benefit from supervised sessions where they can try a variety of sports while the older children from 12 years of age can enjoy using the fitness suite and try out circuits and classes such as Pilates and Yoga. The families get a well deserved break and the children gain so much enjoyment and confidence from taking part in the scheme it is wonderful to see the changes in them.”

A view shared by Antonia East whose 13 year old son Max has been coming to the Aiming High Programme for 3 years; “My son benefits hugely from the "Aiming High" sport sessions at Dorchester 1610 Sports Centre on Saturday afternoons. He has physical disabilities, profound learning difficulties, he is non-verbal and his behaviour can be extremely challenging. He gets hugely excited when he realises an Aiming High session is about to start and he has so obviously had a fantastic time when I collect him at the end of the session, and he is beaming across his face! The staff running the sessions are first class in the way they support my son, encouraging him to join all the activities and expertly helping him work through times when his behaviour is more challenging. This means I can leave him during the sessions, in the full knowledge that he is safe, having fun and learning new activities too. My son's disability means he doesn't participate in most activities that are available for mainstream children. There are so very few opportunities in the area for my son to participate in healthy physical activity. It is lovely that my son has the opportunity through "Aiming High" to do things other boys of his age take for granted.”

For more information about the Aiming High Programme please contact Andrea Dabbs at Dorchester Sports Centre Tel 01305 858400.  The new 2016 programme restarts from April 30th.