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Serving up some fun at the English Institute of Sport!

A young patient plays table tennis
03 March 2023

Your serve, Luke!

Luke is just one of the youngsters who has been taking part in monthly table tennis sessions organised by the team at Ryegate Children’s Centre.

Therapists from Ryegate were joined at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) by volunteers and professional coaches from British Para Table Tennis. Together they’ve helped children and young people hone their sporting skills – as well as their life skills!

All the children and young people at the session have been supported by Ryegate Children’s Centre, including seven-year-old Luke.

Helen, Luke’s mum, said: “I wouldn’t have thought of it – it only came about through Reece and the team at Ryegate. Luke was really nervous before coming – he had only played a little bit on holiday before – but by the end of the first session with a big smile on his face!

“Luke was born premature and has mild Cerebral Palsy (CP). It’s mostly on his right side, so he wears a splint on his knee, and he naturally goes on his toes when he walks.”

A brother and sister play table tennisLuke was joined at the session by 14-year-old Aadam, who has been visiting Ryegate since he was born.

His mum, Sajda, said: “It’s so good to see Aadam interacting with other children of different abilities. It’s given him a chance to mingle. Aadam was born with CP and had a brain haemorrhage at two weeks old. He’s picked up new skills during these sessions – and his concentration has improved too, he’s focussing for longer.”

The sessions began when the team at Ryegate reached out to British Para Table Tennis.

Reece Goodwin, Exercise and Physical Activity Therapist, said: “It’s amazing to work in partnership with British Para Table Tennis to provide the opportunity for children and young people to access high-quality coaching and facilities based within Sheffield.

A young patient plays table tennis“The goal of this session is to inspire children to take part in further physical activity at local clubs in the city.”

Meanwhile, the developmental co-ordination disorders (DCD) team at Ryegate have also held a series of football workshops at Hillsborough Leisure Centre. On-site, children and young people with a range of complex neurological disorders are supported by the skilled teams at the Ryegate Children’s Centre and the outpatients department holds specialist neurology and neurodisability clinics on a daily basis.

Reece’s role has been funded by The Children’s Hospital Charity, thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts of Tobias Weller BEM. Tobias made history in November 2022 when he received a British Empire Medal (BEM), becoming the youngest person in British history to receive an honour.

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