“Sport can be played by anyone and should be enjoyed by all”
What makes CADS unique in a Youth Zone?
CADS is an inclusive sports event. Emphasis is placed on enabling and supporting young people to try, take part and have fun.
CADS is run within half terms and school holidays. For some it provides much needed respite for families whilst ensuring everyone has a good time. Young people often try CADS and go onto wanting to become a member of the Youth Zone and attending sessions regularly after schools, evenings or weekends. A key element of success to CADS is that there is a good community facility and activities on offer where young people if they choose, to can be part of their local community and build peer to peer friendships.
Based upon CADS successes, Youth Zones have been developing new and exciting opportunities for young people to regularly take up sports. What we have found is that, at times, during the week, by offering bespoke sessions tailored to a particular sport based on the known needs and feedback from young people, is that Sport is a great tool to help raise participation levels and engage young people in physical activity. Working with young people sport provides routine, structure and helps build confidence and fitness. People know what to expect when taking part in a sport and can be a safe option to taking part in something and meeting expectation. Our fantastic accessible facilities are open 7 days a week with staff on hand means that everybody can be included and can achieve their goals.
At the Factory Youth Zone, there has been an increase of young people with a disability or additional need access their fitness gym on a Wednesday supported by inclusion staff. Staff set challenges and races and make it fun and promote a shared experience. The Factory have created opportunities for inclusion members to take part in the ‘Ignite Project’ based at the National Cycling Centre which involves using adapted bikes to ride the BMX track. Young people have moved on from the introduction sessions that the Factory organised to now taking up the sport independently. They have also made a partnership with their local lake (Debdale) and through working with the instructors are working towards their ‘Royal Yachting Association Sailability Awards’.
At Mahdlo, Visually Impaired Cricket and Wheelchair Rugby tasters were part of the offer which resulted in a friendly match with another team. Thai Boxing, a 12 week course for Ability Junior members has also been part of the offer.
In Blackburn, diversity members have joined an ‘Ability Football League’ in Preston and taken part in 2 matches so far. A scheme which involves fitness cards which records performance whilst in the fitness gym mixed with personalised programmes has worked really well with 16 members taking this up once a week and 4 young people regularly across the week.
In Carlisle, an 8 week programme of Inclusive football sessions was delivered, in partnership with the Cumberland FA and SPAAF, with the aim to develop a team of YP to join a league table.
Case Study from Wigan Youth Zone:
During a school visit I met a parent who wanted her yp to get involved in out of school activities but he has been unable to attend any due to the support he would need, I asked her to bring him to the youth zone for a tour round and a chat. Since bringing him for the first time he has grown in confidence, tried new activities and has made new friends, he has been accessing the gym to get healthy and is now supporting his family to eat healthy at home, he spends 4 sessions a week in the yz, he has said that he loves the freedom he gets in the youth zone but knows that he can get support when he needs it.
Case Study from Bolton Lads and Girls Club:
D and A are 11 year old and 8 year old brothers. D has Down’s Syndrome and communicates through limited speech and a few signs, and A naturally assumes a caring role for his brother, and both spend a lot of time together at home before coming to the Club. Mum found it difficult to find any provision that they could both attend simultaneously without A being the main carer for D, and equally found it challenging to spend quality time individually with her sons. Both brothers started attending CADS during school holidays and it was evident that A was very protective of his brother and wanted to look after him. The team worked closely with Mum and the boys to put a plan into place to support both D and A, which enabled D to gain independence and make friends with his peers, as well as recognising the staff as the people to access for support. A also needed to build friendships and have fun, exploring his interests without worrying about his brother. The plan was implemented gradually as A and D spent a significant amount of time together and the team were conscious of avoiding any potential disruption. In recent months, the team have observed great changes in both brothers and Mum; D is much more independent during the Club sessions, responds well to staff and has made new friendships, A no longer feels the need to be with his brother all of the time, independently engages in the activities that he enjoys, and has made new friends, and Mum has gained much needed respite whilst her children access the Club together and can spend quality time with them individually whilst the other brother is participating in Inclusion activities.
OnSide Youth Zones are so much more than a venue, ‘A Level Playing Field’ inclusion teams engage with young people with a disability or additional need to provide the best opportunities which raises their confidence and fitness which leads to greater independence.
What is CADS?
Based on Seashell Trust’s awarding-winning sports programme, CADS is designed to offer a supportive inclusive environment where activities are adapted to include everyone. CADS events are ideal for young people with a disability and complex disabilities to try out something and get involved with their local Youth Zone.
“I wouldn’t normally do much in half term as I am a bit shy and don’t find making friends easy. I was invited to come along to the event so I thought I might as well. I found it really good and fun and we all got involved together. It made me so happy and want to come more often.”
A unique component of a CADS event is its structured activities; young people take part in groups of a similar age and activities are adapted based on ability, with the focus on taking part and having fun. All young people are supported by a team of staff and volunteers with various experiences of working with young people and disabilities and a dialogue between the family and the youth zone can result in that child resulting in 1:1 support to enable them to take part.
As part of the A Level Playing Field project, all Youth Zones now have fully adapted facilities and staff receive regular training and supervision, to ensure young people can be fully. We want all young people with a disability or additional needs to have the same opportunities as their able-bodied peers.