Limb-it-Less Games are bringing Peterborough’s primary school pupils into contact with amputees through sport.
Last year, Inspire Peterborough was awarded a small grant from the Jane Tomlinson Appeal (thanks to the Great Eastern Run) to support a project which focused on young people.
Alongside this, Nikki Griffiths, Development Manager of Inspire Peterborough said that she had recently come across a new charity called Steel Bones. Steel Bones are an organisation working to connect and support the amputee community. They provide news and the latest development on stump health, signpost useful services including therapists, health professionals, personal trainers, and provide flexible careers opportunities.
An important strand to their work is through education. Amputees are very visible members of the disability community and, even in these more enlightened times, are still subject to the embarrassed and sometimes pitying stare of the public. Nowhere is this more apparent, or distressing, than from children whose reaction is often influenced by the parents.
Time for a positive change!
So, Inspire Peterborough offered all local primary schools an opportunity to take part in a competition for Steel Bones to deliver a two hour sports event, delivered by qualified coaches and supported by amputees, for their children.
These events, which they call Limb-it-Less, will be delivered in schools and involve an opening talk from a Steel Bones ambassador, followed by two hours of inclusive sports facilitated by the Steel Bones sports team (and supported by amputees).
The objectives are twofold:
- The interaction of amputees and children through a shared sporting experience helps to challenge assumptions and break down barriers. It helps to overcome the “fear factor”. This is different and therefore scary.
- It helps the amputees, many of which may be new, with their rehabilitation.
In June, Inspire Peterborough awarded three schools the opportunity to take part in the Games: Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Discovery Primary School, and Werrington Primary School.
Teacher comments included:
“The activities gave children a great insight into achieving success regardless of limitations”
“It has been lovely to see the children engage in this type of learning. Understanding the real-world and playing new sports are two vital things for all children”
“The assembly was absolutely inspiring, the children were interested to listen and ask questions. They left the assembly hall with a real buzz and new understanding”
And pupils even had a thing or two or say!:
“The activities were interesting and exhilarating, they made us think about sport in a completely different way”
“Wow! An amazing day, I knew a little bit about disability, due to my learning school, but was brilliant to meet such inspiring people, who could tell us their story. I loved every second!”
We would like to say special thanks to Steve Morley of If Not Me Inclusion Coaching Ltd for setting up the events and the coaches Marc Pitman and Alice Mason.
Steve, now a trustee, has extensive experience of delivering this type of sports event in schools all around East Anglia, Essex and London, and said:
“There are surely few things more traumatic than losing a limb. Coming to terms with a person’s new physical self can be a long and for some a painful journey. In some cases, self-esteem is threatened and people lose confidence. Working with children can be enormously empowering. Playing games alongside young children in a safe and secure school environment will, in my view, be of tremendous benefit to any amputee and particularly to someone struggling with finding their way after a recent amputation”