23/04/2020

April Club of the Month!

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Our world has changed dramatically in the last month and Leicester City in the Community have left no stone unturned to keep participants engaged from a distance. 

Current social distancing regulations mean the charity's vibrant disability-specific, multi-sport sessions are on hold for now.

But in their place have emerged virtual boccia and remote drawing challenges, aimed at replicating the sense of freedom and creative self-expression engendered by sessions.

LCitC have also hand-written postcards to vulnerable members of their wider community without access to the internet, a vital lifeline in challenging circumstances. 

These outstanding efforts - bringing light at a dark time - have seen them named Parasport Club of the Month for April.

"The reality is our work is more important than ever in the current situation," said Inclusive Practice Coach Sarah Jones. 

"A lot of it was about telling our guys we're still here and we're still thinking about you. There's a real value in them seeing a familiar face even if it's behind a screen.

"It's often forgotten that not everyone has access to the internet, so the postcards helped us support them and show them we're still going to be here when it's all over. 

"We wanted to give each individual an anecdote or something personal that makes them think about the sessions and what they've got to look forward to in the future.

"It's so important we keep offering these things at a difficult time when people are isolated and often don't realise why they can't do the things they always do.

"To be named Parasport Club of the Month is amazing. I'm incredibly proud to be a part of the team delivering fantastic sessions to fantastic people."

In months gone by - when current social distancing regulations were not in place - LCitC hosted a variety of events inspiring huge levels of community engagement.

They staged a unique boccia tournament blending SEND children from mainstream and SEND schools together and run a SEND Schools Football League every term.

The Leicester City brand helps them capture the imagination of their region and trips to home and away games are regularly organised. 

Multi-sport sessions are the backbone of their disability-specific offering with participants able to shape the environment and the structure of activities. 

Sports include boccia, football, basketball and seated volleyball and are always determined by what participants want to play. 

Health and wellbeing is also a key part of their ethos, with participants enabled to educate themselves on nutrition and 'soccersize' sessions.

Jones says a person-centred approach has reaped dividends as participants grow in confidence through their shaping of sessions.  

"We like our work to be tailor-made around the people taking part - some participants want to play and have fun, others want to take more of a lead," she said.

"They come to me with ideas and we try to help them adapt it, to lead it themselves really and that's the goal. 

"We want to empower them to do it themselves pretty much. The philosophy behind it is for the group to have the confidence to lead themselves.

"From there we see with every session they learn skills that help them progress and feel valuable, useful and important members of society."

If you’re interested in getting involved with Leicester City in the Community (when it's safe to do so), check out the below venues: