By Colin Whiteley
The final introduction to Rugby and training session of the term has been held for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) at Thanet Wanderers’ ground at St Peters Recreation Ground.
The event on July 19 was on the hottest day on record for the UK but this did not deter the youngsters who, instead of their usual session, were treated to a special tea inside the clubhouse.
This was followed by the presentation of certificates and plaques, with a photograph, to mark their attendance. Many of those attending, including some of the coaches and helpers, then cooled off with a water fight.
Jimmy Green, who is Wanderers’ schools liaison officer, had seen his dream come to fruition with the creation of the Hub for children with SEND, where they could learn the basics of rugby and enjoy some fun in the sun over the previous seven weeks. Many of the children’s families and carers reported an improvement in their youngster’s confidence and fitness plus a greater ability to join in team activities and interact with others during their attendance at the weekly sessions.
Jimmy thanked the marvellous team who had worked with him to make the sessions both possible and successful. Wanderers Committee gave the scheme its full backing and funding from Sport England was fundamental to the Hub’s creation. Andy Bull, Thanet Wanderers Marketing Director and U12s Coach gave the scheme every assistance, on and off the pitch. Darren Reeve, from Kent RFU and the Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, who has wide experience in coaching special needs youngsters. was in weekly attendance as were Mel Tsangrides and Liv Rae from Inclusive Sport who specialise in sport for SEND youngsters.
Danny Vaughan who has wide experience with England rugby never missed a session, nor did most of the volunteers and coaches from Thanet Wanderers who were also there to ensure a high level of care and assistance.
U6s coaches, Caroline O’Sullivan and Mario Garcia, were joined by Max Anderson, last season’s U16s captain and, when work permitted, by Women’s Director of rugby, Vicky Flower and Brioni Reah from Wanderers Ladies section.
Congratulations and thank you to them all, their outstanding patience and ability to bring enjoyment to these special children deserves the highest praise. Wanderers’ wonderful off field team of Kelly Smith and Gerry Doyle provided weekly post-session refreshments that were clearly much enjoyed with proper thanks given to those serving.
Thank you to all the families and carers who have brought your children to Thanet Wanderers: it has been a great pleasure to entertain them and see their progress.