Children's Trust

Panathlon have been working with the Children’s Trust – the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury – to deliver specially adapted, inclusive activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Children’s Trust deliver rehabilitation, education and community services through skilled teams who work with children and young people, and their families. The Children’s Trust School is a purpose- built, residential, non-maintained school for children aged three upwards in Surrey with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and complex medical needs.

Panathlon have been visiting the Children’s Trust for some time, delivering inclusive activity during the schools holidays when the school run enrichment weeks.

COVID-19 has presented a number of challenges for both the Trust and Panathlon but both organisations were determined to adopt a creative approach and provide opportunities for the school residents to take part in physical activity.

Panathlon worked closely with Melanie Burrough, Head of Therapy, to put together a virtual programme of activities from our Panathlon Discovery Virtual programme.

We used the school’s own equipment, topped up by Panathlon equipment we lent to the school, to enable children to take part in the selected activities in their own classroom. Certificates and medals were also delivered in advance.

Three sessions were delivered over October half term with Panathlon’s Mark Bullock appearing from home on a screen in the various classrooms to set the scene, offer advice and wish the young people good luck. Mark supported staff with adaptions to activities and equipment.

Mark then sat back and watched top quality sport and physical activity while school staff delivered a range of activities during the session. Activities offered included boccia, basketball, skittles and volleyball. At the end of each session Mark presented medals and certificates remotely.

Mark commented: ‘”It was brilliant to watch the young people engaging in a wide range of activities.

“Over the week we did three sessions. On the Monday it was amazing to be watching four different groups in four different classrooms taking part in Panathlon at the same time.

“I also saw the most innovative game of volleyball I have ever seen – with a balloon in a balloon cover hanging on string from a hoist that was used to enable the ball to be propelled between two young people.”

Tony Waymouth, COO of Panathlon, and Dalton Leong, CEO of the Children’s Trust, sat in on the last session.

Dalton commented: “Joining in the Zoom call and watching our classes doing activity was priceless. It is great to see our innovative virtual delivery with Panathlon. Staff and children have worked so hard to make this happen.”

Tony reiterated Panathlon’s passion for providing opportunities for disabled young people: “Agility, adaptation and creativity are central to all that the organisation does. Covid has stimulated sport to adapt, and we believe we’ve risen to this challenge.”

Panathlon would like to thank Redevco, a new sponsor, for their support in developing provision in Surrey, where the Children’s Trust is based.