What FDSO means to people in the region
...from athletes regarding Disport athletics events:
‘we liked competing in our field event but we liked the sprint event best of all – when we ran past the stands and everyone cheered it was like being in the Olympics’ – athletes from Riverside School, Goole
‘It was a really great day out. Most of us won medals, I didn’t but it was still good fun’ – athlete from Pennine View School, Doncaster.
...from school staff regarding FDSO events:
Just a quick note to say how much our students have enjoyed the qualifying and the finals at South Leeds Stadium. They really had a fabulous day and can’t wait to come back next year.
Andy Thompson - Ryburn Valley High School
Thanks very much, again, for organising the swimming gala – it was an amazing experience for us all (we couldn’t believe it when our names/times came up on the official board!!) We would love to participate again (and in more FDSO events) in the future. We had a fabulous day out and everyone was very helpful and welcoming – thanks to all involved.
Fiona Morris, Riverside School
...from volunteers involved in the FDSO events programme:
“Uplifting, soul searching and enjoyable. Three adjectives to describe today. If any of our guys think we are having it tough and that we are in a difficult period please recommend they attend a charity event like this • They will know the true meaning of being resilient and it certainly isn't spending 3 hrs on the phone making appts• They will see kids with mega difficulties trying their hardest just to complete a simple task and doing it with a smile on their face , they will see teaching assistants on £15k pa motivating and being over the moon with their pupils for competing and then perhaps they will realise what real problems are really like• I include myself in the above classification and it is really humbling • You have my consent boss to kick me up the backside if you ever hear me moaning about work. It is really uplifting when you attend events like this and I have enjoyed it that much that I am going to take a day’s holiday to volunteer at the regional sports day in June• I have the same financial worries as most people but tonight I feel the luckiest person in the world”
“It was inspiring seeing the kids putting all the effort they could into the events, it was a fantastic day”
“It was a very inspirational day; watching the children overcome many difficulties to achieve their goals."
“Ian & James were great to work with and kept us all fed and provided drinks throughout the day. Working with the kids and seeing them glow with excitement that we are helping them was the best thing."
“It was a fantastic day, everyone got involved, I feel we made a difference and the team were great, it was a privilege to be a part of the team, and to support the Federation of Disability Sports that provided the youngsters with an opportunity to participate in the games."
...from College staff regarding volunteering opportunities for students:
The FDSO has been an invaluable help to our college and students. Through various units they have attended lessons to inform our students of a range of sporting activities that have been new to the group and widened their knowledge of sports and especially special needs.
The students have benefited greatly through the experience. Last academic year a Boccia tournament was held at College and twenty of our students were involved in the organisation of the event. They contacted various schools around the community and over eighty players, staff, supporters and parents attended a really successful competition.
The college students really enjoyed the event and many asked about further competitions and contacts with the schools were made.
Craig Musgrove - DearneValley College
...regarding the Employment Project:
"Your organisation, FDSO has found employment contacts for my son and taken the time and trouble to follow up these leads. I have greatly valued your professionalism, your reliability. (you always got back to me when you said you would) and the huge support you have given us. My son has thoroughly enjoyed the work experience placement you were good enough to find him. Although this has not led to paid work, due to LEA spending cuts, the experience has increased his self worth and given him a purpose. In addition it has enabled my son to use the skills he was trained for.
I am extremely grateful for all the care and support we have received. If FDSO ceased to exist it would be a huge loss to us , the community and many other families with similar problems."
"For many years our son has been involved with the FDSO. Without the support, enthusiasm, encouragement and total commitment of the staff I know he would not be where he is today and have achieved so much. We feel so privileged to have been supported by Fiona who understands ‘Learning Disability’. Her help/advice and involvement is invaluable.
Alexander’s passion is swimming, he has taken part in the FDSO schools gala numerous times and this has given him the experience of competitive sport which he now thoroughly enjoys and takes part in regularly.
Today, Alexander has just returned from his work placement at Concord Sports Centre as a pool lifeguard. Fiona has supported him 100%. Not only did she source the National Pool Lifeguard course for him to attend and obtain the qualification, she also ensured that all concerned were aware of Alexander’s needs. She agreed with the course providers for him to have 1-1 support and with tremendous hard work from all parties he managed to achieve his goal in life of becoming a qualified lifeguard. Fiona then approached Sheffield International Venues and sourced him a work placement at Concord Sports Centre where he is now working one day a week. As well as practising the role of lifeguard, Alexander is encouraged to take part in staff training sessions which helps to maintain his lifeguarding qualification. He works as part of a team integrating in the ‘real world’. He has gained so much confidence and self esteem from this experience.
We would like to see the FDSO move forward with these projects that make such a difference to people'e lives."
David & Jayne Thompson (parents)
"This was never about money for Jamie. It is about earning respect, and finding his place in society. Jamie will work hard, and is willing to help anyone. This opportunity will boost his self esteem and confidence. He is thrilled to be working for Barnsley Football Club. Thanks to FDSO for setting up this opportunity for him."
...regarding the Profound & Multiple Learning Disabilities Project & Kitemark System:
"It's no use to anyone unless it improves the quality of people's lives. This project has improved the quality of people's lives."
Maureen Breen, SSCo, North Yorkshire
...regarding the Awards Dinner:
"I simply wanted to write to you to extend my congratulations to you and the FDSO generally for the work that you do and for the awards dinner itself. It was the first time that I had been to the event, having previously worked in the North East region all my professional career, so it was a pleasure to unexpectedly catch up with some old and new colleagues and to join so many people in applauding and congratulating both winners and nominees alike. It was clearly particularly exciting from an aquatics perspective and a very proud evening for me too, to have so many nominees and winners linked to our work in the region. I will be writing to all of our nominees and winners directly on behalf of the region.
We will most certainly be booking a table again for next year and would appreciate receiving the information as soon as it is ready.
Congratulations and thanks once again"
Ian Gardiner - Regional Director, ASA North East Region.
...regarding FDSO support to an individual athlete
"I would like to say how grateful we are as a family for all the support the FDSO has given us over the years.
Our son Alex was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome only last year, but we were fully aware that he had some sort of Autism since the age of 3.
Alex was also born with 2 other medical conditions Dextra Cardia Situs Inversus & Primary Cilliary Dyskenisia in which his cilia hair don’t work.
He has to do physiotherapy every day to clear his lungs and found it tedious.
His passion for athletics gave him the therapy he needed, but after being bullied in various mainstream running clubs because of his Aspergers we had to find a place who would accept his disability and give him the opportunity of training and doing what he loved.
After searching the internet I came across the FDSO and spoke to you. After that first conversation I knew you were the shining light in a dark tunnel.
I remember so clearly the joy I felt telling Alex I had found a place that would support his passion for athletics and at the same time treat & respect him as a equal individual.
He couldn’t believe it when he turned up for training and saw like minded people. He felt relaxed and was able to enjoy all the events that the FDSO offered him.
Alex went onto train with MENCAP England and exceeded in building himself an excellent track record. He impressed Wakefield Harriers who gave him a place in their athletics squad and he went onto win many medals with them.
In July 2010 he left the amateur world of athletics and his club as he had won a place at Askham Bryan University College studying Conservation & Environmental studies which ment that he had to live on campus in York. He could no longer commit to club training. He still today trains on campus in the gym as well as running on the University grounds. He keeps this up as it is his daily physio, but he is also aiming to run in the London Marathon 2012, to raise money for various charities related to his conditions.
Thanks to the FDSO and what they initial did for us, my son enjoyed a world of athletics and went on to achieve a high standard in it.
For his outstanding contribution to Mencap and Wakefield Harriers, Alex was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch in West Yorkshire for June 2012.
Samsung the sponsors have been so inspired by his story, that he has now been selected as a finalist to carry the Olympic Torch. This would never have been possible without the FDSO and their support over the years.
If the FDSO hadn’t been there for us, then the above would never have taken place. My son would never have continued with athletics as he would have felt rejected by society.
The work of the FDSO is invaluable and immeasurable. As a parent, I had nowhere to turn to and it was ONLY because the FDSO was available for us that gave my son a chance.
I wish that every family or person who needs your help gets the support they are looking for, because without it they will just be a void that can never be filled.
Thank you is not a big enough word to convey our gratitude to the FDSO and the excellent staff that run it."
Sophia Kupse - On behalf of Alex Kupse
...regarding help to Special Schools:
"The FDSO has been a fantastic help to all the staff and students at Fairfield School.
Without their specialist knowledge, help and support our sports programme in school would not be what it is. They provide, training, a fantastic inter school competition programme,allow us to network with other special schools and sports organisations and keep up to datewith what is happening in the disability sports world. We need them to keep the funding which will allow their dedicated staff team to continue this invaluable work."
Karen Winton, School Sports Co-ordinator
"I have worked closely with FDSO for over 15 years in Leeds and Doncaster areas as a teacher of special needs pupils with learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural problems. In school, there was always excitement when the Disport / FDSO events dates arrived. It meant we would be attending sports specific events such as swimming, athletics, touch rugby, cricket and cross country to name a few. My aim was to involve as many pupils as possible in these events. This meant the pupils taking part in well organised events, meeting pupils from other similar schools and experiencing what it was like to take part, win, lose and have to cope with these many emotions.
Recognition in school at assemblies allowed the pupils to gain in self esteem as they showed their certificates and medals. In some cases it was the first time they had ever won anything. Local media were always keen to publish stories of success and to highlight the involvement of FDSO in special education. Success even led to England trials[football] and in one case, England selection [swimming] for pupils who began by attending a Disport / FDSO events
Special school sport in Yorkshire is Disport/FDSO - without it special needs physical education will be much the poorer in that many worthwhile events, as previously mentioned will not be in the school calendar.
FDSO is the best vehicle to promote sport for special needs pupils in Yorkshire - FDSO provides a very worthwhile aspect of education for special needs pupils."
John Wallbank - former head of P.E. at Pennine View School
2009 Winner of the award for School Sport and P.E. in Yorkshire
2009 Winner of ‘’Outstanding Contribution to Disability Sport in South Yorkshire
...from Stainborough Cricket Club, Barnsley:
"FDSO organised a course in 2009 called Sporting Voices, targeted at disabled and vulnerable children. The children had varying degrees of disability including both physical and learning. The course was run in part at the cricket club and allowed the children to learn about, and contribute to, the club management and development. It also allowed the children to experience different surroundings in the countryside rather than in the classroom. In order to prepare for the course, the club agreed to improve wheelchair access and provide disabled toilet facilities. We were grateful to receive some financial assistance with this but a significant part of it was from our own club funds and by way of labour contributed free by club members. During the course the children identified several areas where the club could improve its facilities, including the disabled facilities already mentioned, but also by providing extra seating for spectators, a new scoreboard and recycling bins for waste. The children also had opportunities to learn about the game of cricket itself and had sessions with qualified coaches.
As a result of this novel Sporting Voices project, the club received first prize in the Barnsley Sport Awards for Community Club of the Year for 2009 – an award which is due to the hard work of many on the club management committee but also to the work of Fiona and her colleagues at FDSO.
Following the completion of the project, the FDSO now organises an annual disabled cricket festival at our club, where up to 100 disabled children from local special schools attend at the club for a fun day with coaching sessions from qualified coaches, music, refreshments and games, and of course a prize giving ceremony performed by the mayor of Barnsley. All of the individuals from our club, and the coaches, give their time free of charge as the rewards of seeing the smiling and laughing faces of the children cannot be measured in any financial terms. A further event of this nature is planned for the 2012 season and Stainborough Cricket Club is committed to providing its facilities and input free of charge for this irrespective of whether any FDSO assistance is available.
We as a club are willing to play our part for no financial reward, as we are well aware of the benefits this type of partnership brings to people with disabilities. As a club, we are delighted to work with FDSO, and its members, and hope to continue to work with this fine organisation for many years to come"
...regarding Support to a Regional Special Olympics Group
"Special Olympics in Sheffield has enjoyed fantastic support from FDSO over the years. We have worked closely with staff on numerous events, including regional athletics events school games, etc,. We have always found FDSO staff supportive and helpful, offering their professional time to ensure our activities are supported by volunteers, officials and participants"
Phil Morgan - Chair Sheffield Olympics Sheffield
...regarding FDSO Support to School Sports Coordinators
"Sports opportunities for York Special Schools have improved dramatically over the last few years thanks to the fantastic working partnership with the Federation of Disability Sport. The SSCO/PDM forum that was set up saw a wide network emerge which stretched right across the county and the region.
With regular meetings with the FDSO we accessed a number of great initiatives one major one being access to subsidised Rebound Therapy Courses. This has resulted in both Applefields and Hob Moor Oaks specials schools being able to train staff in RT and now with funding we both schools have been able to purchase trampolines and run RT sessions for all their pupils. To see the most profoundly disabled young people accessing this activity has been the greatest success story and we are looking forward to our fist ever RT festival next term.
The summer athletics programme provide opportunities for a great number of the pupils to enjoy athletics at proper stadiums with trained staff and an array of volunteers without whom these could not run.
Working with the FDSO has enabled us to link up with numerous other 'like' schools & venues and given us access to activities and opportunities that we wouldn't otherwise have accessed and it has started to make such a difference to our young people.
On behalf of all our young people with a disability in the York area I would like to thank the FDSO for making such a difference to their lives and to say how we have come on leaps and bounds thanks to this partnership and long may it continue."
Val French - SSCo for Special Schools, York