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About the charity
Ben Goss, Founder of GTaSC
Give Them a Sporting Chance was started in 1990 to give people fun, life changing experiences and an opportunity to see beyond themselves.
A Sporting Chance is recommended by someone, in an organisation or a group, for a carer or for a disabled person, regardless of their age or disability.
A unique feature of the charity is that in return for living their dream through a Sporting Chance, the recipient is asked to raise funds for a charity of their own choice, but not Give Them a Sporting Chance.
"Charities with similar aims and ambitions, sometimes working together, can bring so much hope and cheer to many."
Bob Wilson, Co-Founder of The Willow Foundation
Realising the dreams of carers and those with disabilities
Myles’ Story (age 18)
Myles has just turned 18 years old. He has cerebral palsy which affects all his limbs, a moderate learning disability and Brittle Bone Disease. He also has scoliosis, a heart condition and respiratory difficulties so requires 24 hour support.
Myles attended the Phab Family Project at Bendrigg Lodge (Lake District) in October 2017. We soon found out that Myles likes to push himself to the limit and wanted to have a go at every available activity – he was always first in the queue whether it was climbing, zip wire of the freefall abseil! Nothing much frightened him but that wasn’t the same for his Mum who accompanied him! She spent a lot of the time watching him through her hands! She was so proud of his commitment to have a go and they both had an amazing weekend away. He has continued to try adventurous activities and is currently helping a designer to build an accessible surf board.
Myles has sponsored a butterfly friendly plant for Cauldwell Children to be planted at a purpose built facility for the research of neurodevelopmental conditions.
Archie’s Story (age 9)
Archie attended the Phab Family Weekend along with his Mum, Dad and two brothers. Archie is 9 years old and was born with Cri du Chat Syndrome. They all commented that it was a great experience to spend time together doing the same activities. Lisa (Mum) commented that because of Archie’s needs, the three brothers have to access separate activities but whilst away with Phab they could have fun together in a safe and supported environment. They particularly enjoyed the canoeing and climbing and have since joined their local Phab Club.
Archie and his family are raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. This is a charity close to their hearts as Archie’s father Matt (aged 43) suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage whist walking in a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales and it was the expert service of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the quick response of his friend that saved his life.
Holly’s Story (age 15)
Holly is 15 years old and has complex health needs including cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, epilepsy and is oxygen dependent and has a tracheotomy. She requires 24 hour care and needs contact supervision to keep her safe and well. She attended the family weekend with her Mum, Dad and younger sister.
Despite her health needs, Holly took part in every activity. Seeing her come down the tube slide with her oxygen cylinders on her back was a highlight of the weekend! The family commented that it was wonderful to see what Holly could achieve given the right support, equipment and positive attitudes. Since the project Holly has become a Pack Leader for her local Guides due to her go getting attitude and inspiration to others.
Holly and her family have been raising money and awareness of issues for families of children with complex health needs for Together for Short Lives.
Syrian New Scots
On the 10 th of August 2017, Give Them A Sporting Chance took 100 Syrian New Scots to Ballater Highland Games and out for dinner afterwards.
The group of children and families who originated in war torn Syria have been resettled in Aberdeen.
The families, most of whom had had spent prolonged periods in refugee camps, were recognized as high priority from the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, due to the children’s disability, trauma or additional needs.
The wish was for a “normal summer holiday day out”.
The day was the sunniest of the whole summer and the smiles of everyone reflected the fun.
It was clear from the beginning that the children wanted to have a story to tell their new friends when they returned to school. The children wanted this story to be a great one but not too lavish to make them stand out or seem any more different from their friends.
Very many thanks to the Ballater Highland Games Management Committee and in particular to Ron Drever, the games Secretary, who helped hugely with the logistics and gave the party a very warm welcome.
Many of the boys and dads took part in the races and were delighted to win a prize!
All the children loved to see the pipers; particularly the uniforms and their confidence seemed to increase through the day.
The mums had a chance to catch up with friends, meet other new families and enjoy watching the children relax and have fun.
After lunch each of the families were given a beautiful box of sweets very kindly donated by John Bell of Gulfsands Petroleum.
These sweets were the same as those they would have had in Syria and John had organized for them to be brought all the way from Lebanon for the children to taste them.
These boxes were described as definitely the highlight and it was wonderful to have Katelyn and Kirsten Bell, John’s daughters to join us for the day with their friend David.
After the wonderful spectacle, the races and all the fun, Give Them A Sporting Chance took the party for a meal at Cosmo restaurant in Aberdeen.
This was described as the prefect end to the day.
All the children said that they have had their wish of a brilliant summer holiday day out granted and will have a fantastic story to tell their friends!
Rivertime Accessible Regatta
Held at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre on 14 June 2017, the Rivertime Boat Trust together with Give Them a Sporting Chance staged the first Rivertime Accessible Regatta (RAR) in the Thames Valley for children and young people with disabilities, offering a unique chance to get out on the water in a safe and controlled environment and try a new sport or activity they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to do
- 20 different sporting activities were on offer, on water and on land, manned by more than 25 specialist providers
- 285 children and young people from 19 schools across 3 counties, all with special needs, aged 8-15, actively participated in the sports, most for the first time
- 32 young leaders from local schools, aged 14/15 years, working towards Leadership qualifications or DoE, many with special needs, provided guidance and support to the pupils and schools on the day
- More than 45 volunteers, mainly from Rivertime, helped to set up the event on the preceding day and supported on the day
- 9 local organisations voluntarily provided live music, guide dogs, boats, water sports information, face painting, and more.
- A number of Olympic and Paralymic rowing and canoeing medal winners came to encourage the children, including Dame Katherine Grainger, Steve Williams and Anne Richards
- HRH The Princess Royal attended in her capacity as Guardian, GTaSC, together with more than 160 invited guests
- Media coverage included BBC and ITV, as well as local and regional press and social media
A legacy of sporting events, on water and on land, in which children with special needs can participate on a regular basis
From the youngsters:
“This is the best day of my life!”
“ I didn’t really want to go in the
boat but it was amazing ..”
“I want to live here forever ...” “I want to have a bike like this so I can cycle every day. .. my best friend (Sam) has a bike so then I can go with him”
From the schools:
It was very well organised and all staff were very helpful. We would love to come back again and enjoy more activities.
It was so well organised, on time, plenty of activities and plenty of things to engage the children
We would love to bring more students next year!
Our students loved every minute and had a great time.
Great event. Now we know what we're doing we'd love to come again and I would consider bringing the whole of my class. Lots to do. Plenty of room. Relaxed atmosphere. Also loved mainstream helpers. Liked t- shirts The young sports helpers were fantastic – nothing too much trouble.
From the sports providers:
… really great atmosphere on the day - created through the 'have a go' nature of the day without any competitive element. Event was well managed and put together which meant it ran smoothly and was enjoyable to be part of. We enjoy helping others experience our sport, and there was particular enjoyment here in helping children, some of whom are clearly limited in what they are able to do, find something new which they CAN do. Through the patience and perseverance of our volunteers, almost everyone was able to achieve some result (any many of them a very good result), and all took away a certificate of participation. It was a great day and I've already had enquiries to join the Academy from this so well worth us being involved and hope to work with you all again in the future. A very enjoyable and successful event, and I look forward to being there next year.
From the volunteers:
On trying to push a wheelchair himself, one little lad told his teacher he now knew why children in wheelchairs at his school sometimes asked for help. It helped open his eyes to the challenges others have to face and ultimately broke down barriers.
“THANK YOU for an amazing day, so well organised and thought through. I hope it will be the first of many more”
Ebony's NASA Trip 2017
One of GTaSC's Board Members supported a wonderful Sporting Chance for Ebony... Her diary reads as follows:
"Day 1 - Flight from London Gatwick to Orlando International airport. When we got to the hotel we had a look around and went for dinner.
Day 2 – NASA: Tour of the Kennedy space centre; and we did the Atlantis experience, which was awesome. We met ex astronaut Fred Gregory, which was really cool to chat with him and find out about his experiences in space – Ebony asked him some questions.
Day 3 – Universal Studios: We went on loads of rides, all of which Ebony loved – even the really big rollercoaster which tipped you upside down!
Day 4 – Jungle Adventure Park: We saw lots of Alligators and got to go on a boat ride around a lagoon which had 200 Alligators in it! We also went to Cocoa Beach beach where Ebony enjoyed walking on the sand and paddling in the sea.
Day 5 – NASA: Tour of NASA’s extensive grounds; buildings and then we did the Saturn V experience. Ebony was really looking forward to going back to NASA and the Rockets were amazing. We had a 4D experience too, in the astronaut hall of fame - which was out of this world!!
Day 6 – Indoor skydiving at Florida’s iFly, which was so cool and Ebony loved it so much that she took her family to the one in Basingstoke during the summer holidays! We then had an opportunity to go shopping in Florida Mall; where Ebony bought souvenirs for her friends and family…and some for herself!
Day 7 – We met ex astronaut Mike McClulley and Jay Honeycutt who was the director of NASA during the Apollo missions. It was such a great experience to meet these guys – they had brought us mission patches and signed photos! Then we went in the resort swimming pool, which was lots of fun and a chance to chill out; before heading to the airport to get our flight home.
Ebony and her friends had THE best time in Florida and the experiences she had were so special. She will never forget this experience, which was made possible by the help of kind people like you. I’m so thankful that I was able to go with the students and experience the joy first hand. They all got on really well socially, which is great, the experience was such fun and we had lots of laughs. This trip was even more exciting for Ebony as she has a real love of space – so meeting the astronauts was a dream come true."(View Archive)
Help us help others
"The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was delighted to work with Give Them a Sporting Chance to give Marchant such a special day."
Dame Ellen MacArthur
"I think that Give Them a Sporting Chance is a great charity providing fantastic experiences not only for the carers and people with disabilities, but also for the sports people who are lucky enough to be involved.."
"MCF, The Scottish RU's Injured Players Fund, is grateful to Give Them A Sporting Chance for the support given to all those who have benefitted from their energy, work and care."
Bill Hogg, Administrator, Murrayfield Centenary Fund