Our Managing Director and principal speaker visited Thorp Academy in Ryton on 11th March 2016. The visit was part of SMILE Through Sport’s partnership with Gateshead Inclusive Futures – a Youth Sport Trust initiative to develop sports volunteers and leaders with a focus on creating inclusive sport. Stephen is the regional ambassador for the IF program. In 2015 at the IF National Camp a group of students from Thorp Academy won a £400 prize to support their project to start a blind 5-a-side football club. The club is now up and running once a week.
The visit to Thorp included an inspirational session with Stephen, where students got an insight into the Paralympian’s life and career. There were also practical sessions led by Stephen and SMILE coach Ros Miller where groups of students learned the art of throwing backwards, as Stephen does with the Club, not as easy as it looks but a lot of fun.
Stephen commented ‘It was great to visit Thorp Academy, they have brilliant students who where enthused about disability sport and eager to learn and enjoy. I enjoyed the day there.’
Thorp Academy’s Gemma Chapple said ‘A really super day had by all. The talk to 6th form was pitched perfectly. Really informative and a great insight into disability sport and breaking down the barriers. Practical was lead very well. Students responded superbly and were very keen to challenge themselves in what they may have thought was going to be an easy activity. It has certainly left a lasting impression.’