Wirksworth school gets in Olympic spirit

editorial image

With less than 40 days to go until this summer’s Olympic Games kick off in Rio, Anthony Gell School are gearing up for their own sporting flourish to end the school year.

So far in 2016, pupils at Anthony Gell have been embracing the Olympic and Paralympic values by teaching the elderly how to play boccia, a Paralympic sport practised in over 50 countries worldwide.

It all comes as part of their involvement with the Get Set for Community Action programme, which aims to help thousands of 14-19 year olds strengthen relationships between young people and their communities.

Created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association, the programme has invited plenty of schools to get involved to help celebrate this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

And after spending six weeks engaging with the community through visits to Waltham House care home, the school have plans to continue the link going forward while they are also holding a special Paralympic celebration event this month.

Janice Price, the school’s games organiser said: “It was definitely a programme that was interesting for us to see and it is really important.

“We weren’t able to play the full game of boccia, we were sitting on sofas. But over time, it became increasingly competitive and a lot of fun.

“They were really supportive of each other. The children commented on that also.

“In the future, through the club links officer and the Friends of Waltham House, we have offered to teach the volunteers about how to play boccia to keep things going.

“And then this month for our Paralympic celebrations we are going to bring two groups together to get them involved as well.”

While attention will soon turn towards the world’s best athletes when the Olympic Games kick off next month, Janice was quick to praise the efforts of her pupils in embracing the Games values.

“I am really proud, especially proud of our active leaders,” she added. “They are two boys, who are exceptional sportsmen, but both very shy, so we targeted them.

“Their families supported us. It was quite amazing to watch them get involved and it definitely built their confidence up.

“Those at the care home genuinely really enjoyed it too and they built a really good rapport. Both parties told us how much they enjoyed the other’s company. It breaks down barriers with ages.”

Get Set for Community Action is a new UK-wide programme for young people and their communities created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more visit: www.getsetaction.org.uk