Ovingdean Hall Foundation has supported Panathlon since 2014 and its backing has been instrumental to the development of our deaf programme.
The Foundation’s support has helped us make a hugely positive impact on thousands of deaf children by reducing feelings of isolation and building self-esteem.
Dexter Hanmer, 10, of Mildmay School in Chelmsford, Essex, is one of thousands of pupils whose confdience and skills have been transformed through taking part in Panathlon events. His achievements saw him awarded the Woodland Group Essex Outstanding Achiever award in September.
Funding from the Foundation enabled Panathlon to increase our programme for deaf and hearing-impaired students to 30 events in the 2019/20 academic year. That included prestigious competitions such as our National Under-18 Deaf Swimming Final and National Primary Deaf Swimming Final at the London 2012 Aquatic Centre and the South of England Deaf Boccia Championship at the Copper Box Arena.
National and regional finals held in such high-profile venues give deaf children a huge boost in confidence, allowing them to dream, achieve and be inspired. Our events also help embed sport among the deaf community.
“One of the best things we hear back from teachers is how it builds a willingness in the children to compete alongside hearing children when they’re back at school,” said Claire Simons from Ovingdean Hall Foundation.
“One of the central tenets of the Foundation is to address isolation by bringing deaf children and young people together.
“That’s one of the great things about Panathlon. It’s hugely important work. It gives children really important experiences, boosts their confidence and develops new skills.
“The testimonial we receive talks about how the children enjoy it so much, they are so proud of their medals and love taking them home to show their families.
“For us it’s about the positive experiences that children can build on for the future and experiences they will always remember.”
Ovingdean Hall Foundation was founded to build on the legacy of Ovingdean Hall School for deaf children in Brighton. The school closed in 2010 as a result of declining pupil numbers. Trustees set up the Foundation with a determination to see the school’s spirit live on.
“We are delighted to support Panathlon because they embody the ethos of the school so well,” added Claire. “You’re all about bringing isolated children together and providing an environment for children to challenge themselves, work as a team and make friends.”
Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are extremely grateful to Ovingdean Hall Foundation for funding our deaf programme and continuing our partnership into its eighth year and beyond.
“Our deaf events have positively impacted over 1,500 young people in the last year alone, giving them a vital platform to fulfil their potential and thrive in an environment where they feel safe and supported. That would not have been possible without the Foundation’s support.”