Coaching students showcase their skills at Special Olympics launch


Hartpury sport coaching students have given a helping hand to get more people with learning disabilities involved in sport as part of a nationwide initiative.

A group of 46 second year BTEC sport coaching students have volunteered to organise and run the eighth annual Big Health Check 2016. The day, coordinated by the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, aimed to bring together people from all walks of life with learning disabilities to see what activities and support is available to help them stay healthy and active. It also marks the launch of Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

Student Harry Landymore said: “It’s been a great event to get involved with and given me some amazing experience that I can put on my CV for when I finish my course. It has also given me real experience of coaching those with disability which I might have not otherwise been able to get. It’s been great seeing so many people enjoying themselves and having a good day.”

The event at Oxstalls Sports Park was the biggest yet with over a 1000 attendees and 76 stall holders. To promote access to sport, 12 adapted activities coached by Hartpury students were available for attendees to try and included tennis, Boccia – a ball game similar to bowls, snooker, dance, football and trampolining.

The volunteers were able to get vital practical experience of event planning and organisation as well as experience of working with those that have various, and sometimes complex, needs. 10 student leaders were also asked to be involved in the planning of the event which involved attending meetings and enabled them to get experience of project planning.

Course tutor Laura Simmonds said: “today has been a great success with the attendees having a really good time. The students have really taken this on as their own project and it’s great to see them doing such a good job. They have got some great experience working with a variety of people. I think our students have really shone and shown what they have offer; they’ve been able to network and make contacts, some have even been offered paid work as a result of today.”

Event coordinator Simon Shorrick said: “The day has been a great success with so many people attending. The day is not just about what they can do today, but what is available to them in their community and the key aim is what happens after the event. Events like this wouldn’t be possible without volunteers and the Hartpury students have been wonderful in their delivery of the sports and their support of the event.”

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