VALUES Youth Sports Group

This year we’ve been successful in securing a grant from Mencap and Sport England though their Tackling Inequalities Fund. With this money we were excited to start our new Saturday Sports group. This group engaged young people between the ages 16-25 from across the city and county. They’ve been supported by us to partake in a wide range of different sporting activities, including football, boccia, basketball and cricket. It’s been great to provide young people with the opportunity to get out at the weekend, socialise and keep fit; this has been difficult for everyone over the last few years, and that’s no different for young people and adults with learning disabilities. By providing this group, we have not only promoted the importance of healthy living but also reduced social isolation and built friendships.

Ewan (Right) “I enjoy doing the different sports and I’ve really liked making new friends.”

Finley (Left) “I really like the staff who help me get involved.”

The group also helps the members learn important new skills which can be transferred to other parts of their lives. For example, Aiden’s mum explained that he’d been struggling to listen and follow instructions, and told us that “he loves the group and he needs to learn this skill as it impacts all areas of Aid’s day and all environments, not just sports club”. The staff therefore used visual cues and signs to help him improve in this area and fully engage in the session.

The group runs every Saturday from 10-12 at the Queen Elizabeth 2nd Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre at De Montfort University. It’s open to anyone with a learning disability between the ages of 16-25. To get involved, call 0116 2575056 to speak with a member of the VALUES team.

Ben McKeown

Ben McKeown is a Team Manager for VAL's VALUES project, which helps people with learning disabilities to make friends, have fun and learn new things. Ben can be contacted via ben.m@valonline.org.uk or on Twitter: @BenMcKeown14