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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
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)
CONNOR & ALEX
GTASC was initially contacted in July 2016 by CLIC Sargent who have been treating Connor and nominated him for a Sporting Chance.
Connor is 19yrs old and suffers from Medulloblastoma (brain tumour) he was diagnosed when he was 12. His younger brother Alex (15) has had to live somewhat in the shadow of Connor as he has understandably been the focus of attention. Connor’s movement, speech and memory are all affected by the tumour and he has had to endure numerous operations and ongoing therapy. Connor’s memories now are based around having photographs and videos to remind him of events. Without them, the memory quickly fades.
Connor’s mother, has already had quite a tragic life in that both her parents died when she was young, and one of her brothers was killed in an accident when she was a teenager.
Strangely one of the GTASC Ambassadors knew of this family as they had met at school. They had spoken about GTASC, but it had been explained that a nomination was required from another charity.
The application received very quick broad approval from Board Members, with the suggestion being that this be a ‘family based chance’.
Both Connor and Alex are mad keen on Sci-Fi and the Marvel Comics. As luck would have it there was to be a Comic and Sci-Fi Convention at Olympia over the weekend of 30 July 2016.
With Board approval, travel tickets and entry tickets were arranged as well as the chance to meet as many of their Sci--Fi heroes as possible, Dr Who included!
By all accounts it was a fabulous day out. Some great memories were made and some lovely photographs taken for Connor and Alex to look back on.
The family will be making arrangements to raise funds to return the favour to CLIC Sargent who nominated them as well as raise funds for Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre, QMC, Nottingham
"I am writing to introduce the word nystagmus to you and to ask for your help..." Have you ever heard of nystagmus? We at Give Them a Sporting Chance (GTaSC) hadn't, until we were asked to help out... "I had never heard this word myself until just over 5 years ago when my 8 week old daughter Scarlett was diagnosed with it.
It is an involuntary movement of the eyes and it leaves all sufferers partially sighted. There is no cure and glasses do not correct it. Since then I have raised over £1,000 through selling bracelets, cakes sales etc scarlett has even given a talk at her school to explain to her friends why her eyes dance!(very brave of her) The nystagmus network offer support to families like ourselves and their aim is to raise awareness of the condition as it has a tremendous impact on not only sight but on social skills for the young person.
This year the international awareness day for nystagmus In Leicester is being celebrated by a inclusive sports day, allowing children with nystagmus the chance to experience and compete in different sports they may have felt they were unable to play due to their lack of sight.
It will be backed by Leicester royal infirmary and vista.
We have experienced coaches who have volunteered their time to supervise the event and have experience working with children with sight loss and we just want the day to be fun for our kids.
We are hoping for about 50 children to attend the event on 1st November at the DeMontfort University who have kindly given us one of their sports halls."
The event was a success, the children thoroughly enjoyed all the sporting activity offered. They made new friends and also sampled some delicious cakes! Both children and parents realised that they are not alone in their struggles, connections were made and the parents were made aware of support groups too. GTaSC helped out with this event by contributing t-shirts for all the attending children and providing some goodie bags, full of goodies too! Thank you to all those who made the day possible!
George's Trip to New York!
The day finally arrived after George and Fran had counted down 136 days from when they received the letter from Give Them A Sporting chance, telling them about our trip to New York to celebrate Georges 18th Birthday!
As we came into land at Newark International Airport we flew past all the iconic sights, Empire State Building, Statue Of Liberty and The Freedom Tower which was built after 9/11, this all seemed so surreal. We were met at the arrivals hall by Anthony our driver, he had our name on a board - I’ve always wanted to be met by someone holding our name up on a board! The drive from the airport was about 40 minutes but we saw so many sights and we drove under The Hudson River, and when we came out we were totally surrounded by sky scrapers - this also felt very surreal! We arrived at the Hotel, the staff were first class, and because it was Georges 18th they gave us free wifi in both rooms and later sent up a bottle of champagne, a plate with Happy Birthday piped in chocolate and strawberrries dipped in chocolate on it and a Birthday card to both rooms!
Times Square was amazing just like it is on TV! After a wander round we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner, they all sang Happy Birthday to George, he seemed to lap it up! After a stroll around some more of Times Square it was back to the hotel and time for bed!
We went to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue so George could choose his 18th Birthday presents from myself and Nick. When we came back upto ground level and out of the lift 3 of the Apple staff sung Happy Birthday to him! Not many people can say this has happened to them.
We went to The Empire State Building and up to the Observatory on 86th floor! What a view and the weather was brilliant, so we then went up to the 102nd floor, which had an even better view! The next day was Georges actual 18th Birthday so Fran and I decorated our room up for him and burst into Happy Birthday as he arrived to go to breakfast! After card and present opening we went to breakfast, then took a yellow cab to Battery Park to catch the ferry to The Statue Of Liberty; we had a great time there! Back to the hotel for a rest before going to see "Wicked" on Broadway which was brilliant and then dinner. George said he had had the best Birthday ever!
The next day we woke to pouring rain, very poignant as we were going to Ground Zero! We took a yellow cab there, and we proceeded staight to the fire station right next to where The Twin Towers used to stand as we had been given a London Fire Brigade t-shirt to give to them from George's big sister's boyfriend who is a firefighter based at Wandsworth Fire Station. The fire fighter I spoke to got quite choked up when George gave it to him but happily posed for a photo with him!
We visited the fountains where the towers once stood, this was extemely moving as we saw all the names of the dead engraved on the marble surrounds. We then went to the museum and had a guided tour which was so interesting and moving. We were in there for several hours and we all agreed this was the most interesting thing we saw on our trip.
On our way back in the cab Barrack Obamas cavalcade drove past us on the way back from his appearance at the UN Conference! We were so sad it was our last day. We took in the sights for the last time and then went for a lovely walk in Central Park in the sunshine before heading back to the hotel to pick our cases up and and get the taxi back to the airport and home to London! Thanks to Give Them a Sporting Chance, George had not only an unforgetable trip to New York, but also a brilliant 18th Birthday along with lots of memories of this special Milestone in his life; also us as a family have memories we will never forget and can never thank Georgie (our organiser) and the charity enough, they will always hold a special place in our hearts! So a massive Thank You to all of you at the Charity!
As part of Georges wish he had to raise money for a charity of his choice - he raised £600 for The AT Society by doing an indoor sky dive! He now wants to do a proper out door skydive which he is hoping to do next year!
Humber Bridge walk for Cancer Research
Maria Ives and her family with Jodi Huggett's daughters walking the Humber Bridge for Cancer Research in support of Maria's trip to Centre Parcs, supported by GTaSC. Maria, family and friends have raised £176.00 so far. Maria said afterwards that she felt amazing!! And really thought she'd achieved something she never thought she would! She is a very brave lady! Well done Maria!
Milly's Sporting Chance
"Milly recently completed her Sporting Chance. Milly completed a 13 mile bicycle ride in the driving wind and rain, accompanied by some friends. Milly also set upwww.justgiving.com/Milly-Legg all on her own and has raised £600.00 for Hannah's at Seale Hayne.
"Milly braved the very grim weather with a hardy band of friends. The weather held on the way to Yelverton, it was cold with a little rain and even a little sun. After a few drinks in the Rock Inn, we set off on the return trip with soggy bottoms, and a slight detour around the Yelverton, aerodrome led expertly by Ian Samuels! Then the heavens opened and we got thoroughly soaked. Milly absolutely loved it apart from a slight wobble in the long dark tunnel, where she actually stopped to change gear!!!"
"Thanks to all the fantastic friends who cycled with Milly and gave up their Sunday , the lovely friends who came along to cheer her off, and to the truly efficient back up team!!"
Well done Milly!"
Elgin Rotary Club Donation
"The Rotary Club of Elgin held an 'Inner City Marathon', with teams of runners raising funds which was then shared amongst 100 Moray charities, Give Them a Sporting Chance was one of the beneficiaries. GTaSC are incredibly grateful for the funds, which will be used to give disabled people and or their carers their sporting chance."
RDA day out at the Speyside Railway
Liam's Sporting Chance... caught on film
Junior Highland Games at Gordonstoun
Sporting Chance were honoured to have been chosen as one of the recipients of the proceeds of The Junior Highland Games at Gordonstoun and were delighted to receive such a wonderful donation.
Aberlour House Preparatory School, Junior School of Gordonstoun, Moray, had a brilliant, sunny, spring day for its Highland Games on Saturday 27th April. Give Them a Sporting Chance is one of the two organisations who will benefit from the proceeds raised at this event. All at GTaSC are enormously grateful to everyone who helped raise funds, especially London Olympic Gold Medal Rower, Heather Stanning, who gave her rowing top to the Games in order to raise funds through its auction.
Charlie Martell’s rowing of the Pacific; in May last year Charlie started his attempt to row the ocean solo. He is now preparing his solo row boat, Blossom, for a second attempt in the Spring of 2015, once again raising funds for Give Them a Sporting Chance and also for Talking 2 Minds (www.talking2minds.co.uk).
Jimmy's Visit with Thales Ace Training at RAF Lossiemouth, GR4 Tornado Simulator
Happy Valentine’s Day 2013Let us all dream of Sporting Chances
More Sporting Chances have been proposed and accomplished than ever in the last year -a remarkable series of opportunities generated by organisations recommending carers and disabled people of all ages for their Sporting Chances and for each and every one of the recipients to raise funds for a charity of their choice.
The goodness spins on and on and we now look to plans for 2015 in order to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. If you have any ideas of what we might do, get in touch, please! Simon Dyson, famous golfer, helped with the Sporting Chance of a young man with cerebral palsy. This was made possible through Simon’s generosity and the inspiration, support and encouragement of Chubby Chandler. A family went to Butlins in Skegness for a weekend. The British Grand Prix was attended and two recipients went to Florida; one, on his return, was given by Ewan McGregor a light-sabre from his role as Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars trilogy.
There are plans for someone to participate in the Black Ice Marathon in Siberia; a flight in a jet simulator; sailing; someone is desperate to meet Jessie J; and we’re looking at enabling someone on their ride to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
None of this would have been possible without the astonishing backing and support of so many – the Borders College in Galashiels , the Nelson Field Oil Group, Harrogate Ladies’ College, Kingswood Prep School and George Jeavons-Fellows in the West Midlands of England. Aberlour House Highland Games will raise funds for Give Them a Sporting Chance next year.
The Management Team has again been wonderfully active and involved. The British Olympic Association hosted one of our meetings in their Charlotte Street, London headquarters and the Princess Royal continues to be so involved, active, supportive and encouraging and is a crucial member of the Management Team. One member of the Management Team will re-visit the Pacific Ocean in 2015, raising funds for Give Them a Sporting Chance. In this year, Charlie raised a substantial sum in his attempt to row across the Pacific Ocean. Things were going brilliantly well until he was hit by a tropical storm. He pitch poled, rolled over twenty times and a Scottish Freight Ship, the MV Last Tycoon rescued him. Such is the determination and focus of Charlie that he will be off again in Blossom in his attempt to row the Pacific for Give Them a Sporting Chance.
Do look at our new website www.givethemasportingchance.com and thank you again for caring, for supporting and being interested in our work. The Valentine’s present that I would like from you this year would be even more recipients – carers and people of all ages – in order that we can give them their Sporting Chance
Give Them a Sporting Chance Management Team Member, Charlie Martell has been in Scotland giving talks to Merchiston Castle School, St. Mary's Prep School Melrose and Loretto School respectively, with the aim of "inspiring our future".
"Why do you do all these adventures?", "What did the writing on your cabin roof say?" - two very good questions presented to Charlie Martell, by pupils of St. Mary's and Loretto, when Charlie was giving a talk on his recent attempt to row across the North Pacific Ocean, solo and unsupported. The answer to the first question being that, Charlie has been inspired by those less fortunate than him, with this in mind he aims to inspire others (others being those in the audience, "our future"). Secondly, Charlie met Alistair Urquhart, author of "The Forgotten Highlander" in January 2012. Alistair was held as a Prisoner of War in World War Two, by the Japanese. Alistair survived, many didn't. Alistair's key words for Charlie for the Ocean Row was, "Never, ever, give up". These words were written in the cabin of Charlie's boat and provided motivation on a daily basis.
It was an excellent week for Charlie, which was organised by Sheona Gordon, an opportunity to inspire, to meet old school friends raise funds for Give Them a Sporting Chance and also to raise awareness of "Flying for Freedom" www.fly2pole.com.
A young person visited Disney World with his sister and grandparents.
A local Rotary club member recommended the four year old with retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, for his Sporting Chance.
Funds were raised for a variety of local charities.
Ewan McGregor added to the little boy's excitement by giving him a Star Wars ‘Light Sabre’ from his role as the film's Jedi Star Obi-Wan Kenobi.
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