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Improving the health and well-being
of people living in East Yorkshire
and Northern Lincolnshire

 

Go Kids Go – the Trustees have made an award of £2500 from our Lazenby Fund, within Help for Health, for running wheelchair skills training for young wheelchair users. Go Kids Go is a very small national charity based in East Yorkshire and have been running wheelchair skills training for young wheelchair users since 1990. The training is designed to enable independence and to help ensure that young people who have a physical disability are able to reach their full potential. There is absolutely no statutory responsibility for the NHS/Wheelchair Services to provide this training. This very often leaves the child completely dependent on their parents/carers and relatives to push them around, greatly restricting their mobility and independence. We are receiving a growing number of requests from families, physiotherapists and occupational therapists across East Yorkshire asking Go Kids Go to deliver this unique training to help their children learn essential skills to make the full use of their wheelchair and become independently mobile. The workshops tend to be run either at the weekend or during the school holidays and are open to all local young wheelchair users and their families. Go Kids Go are the only charity in the UK providing this inclusive training and know that there is a real need for the specialised workshops. At each workshop essential mobility skills such as how to tackle stairs, slopes and kerbs in a wheelchair, how to back wheel balance, road safety and emergency evacuation techniques are taught. Sports such as wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair dance afe included. The workshops are fully inclusive, involving not just the wheelchair user, but their parents, siblings and friends. Extra wheelchairs are provided so that everyone can get involved and join in.

“As parents we have never had the opportunity to use a wheelchair before so it was a great experience to take part in all the activities.”

The workshops help children to become experts in using their wheelchair and no longer reliant on family members to push them around. It also provides them with much needed independence and freedom, alongside helping to improve both the confidence and self-esteem in the young people. Gaining independence is a key outcome of the training, meaning that in the future young people have many more opportunities, including attending mainstream school, college and university and increased employment opportunities. All reducing the likelihood of them being reliant on state benefits and health and social services when they reach adulthood.

Sport is a key feature of the wheelchair skills workshops and they introduce children at a very young age to wheelchair sports. Children with a physical disability are very often excluded from attending their local wheelchair sports clubs until they reach the age of eight years, whereas Go Kids Go have children as young as just two going along to the workshops. It is vitally important for physically disabled children to be encouraged to participate in wheelchair sports, not only does it provide good aerobic exercise for them, but it also helps boost their self- confidence and self-esteem. A further advantage of our wheelchair skills training is that it teaches children how to make the most use of their manual wheelchair. This provides them with daily exercise and helps to maintain good physical health and weight management.

Disability Awareness Raising Workshops running alongside the wheelchair skills workshops, across East Yorkshire, also work in mainstream schools who have a pupil who is a wheelchair users. These workshops are delivered during the school day and can work with over 100 school pupils per day. At each school a full class of pupils are taken out of their comfort zone and everyone is encouraged to get into wheelchairs for the day. A range of wheelchair skills, wheelchair dance and the very popular game of wheelchair basketball are taught. Both pupils and teachers benefit from having the opportunity to try a wheelchair and learn, through real practical experience, the difficulties their disabled peers face on a daily basis.