September has rolled round once again, and I know that means most of the children, young people and families we support will be currently preoccupied with the start of the new academic year. Starting back in education after the long summer break isn’t always easy, especially if you’re making the big transition from primary to secondary school.
That’s why we put together this short video with some of our Ambassadors and Champions talking about their experiences of changing schools. I hope that the stories they share will contain some useful advice for young wheelchair users and help set their nerves at ease during the first few weeks in their new school.
Summers in general can be a blessing and a curse for young wheelchair users. While I’m sure most enjoy having a break from school, I know it can also be difficult finding things to do due to the lack of accessible provision. That’s why I’m really proud that Whizz-Kidz are able to offer a range of clubs and camps that give disabled young people the opportunity to take part in fun activities much like their non-disabled peers. From what I hear from our young people, the highlight this summer was our specialist Media Camp, where they learnt video production, interview techniques and had a writing masterclass with bestselling author Angela Clarke.
For me personally though, the highlight of the summer was the news of our new grant from the Big Lottery Fund Wales. The grant of almost £500,000 will not only enable Whizz-Kidz to continue our current services but also expand into other parts of Wales, reaching more young wheelchair users than ever before. This will include our employability programme, which is critical for young people to make a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood, and so I’m incredibly grateful to Big Lottery Fund Wales for helping us deliver such a vital service.
Speaking of employability, the past month has seen several of our young people complete successful work placements with our corporate partner, Nomura. Practical experience in a real work environment is essential in today’s labour market, and we are very fortunate at Whizz-Kidz that so many of our corporate partners are able to give young wheelchair users these valuable opportunities. What’s more, these placements also have a positive impact for the businesses too, enabling them to get a better understanding of what it means to provide an truly accessible work environment, something which can be seen in this video we produced with Jardine Motors.
Finally if you follow Whizz-Kidz on social media I’m sure it won’t have escaped your attention that it was Parallel London this past weekend. This was the second year of world’s only fully accessible fun run and #TeamWhizzKidz were there in full force. As well as having several members of our Kidz Board taking part, I was really delighted to see many of the young people we’ve supported participating side by side with their parents. This display of inclusivity speaks to the heart of what Whizz-Kidz is all about, and I have to say a huge hats off to our Events team as well as our patron Jordan Jarrett-Bryan for helping make it the perfect end to the summer.
Until next time,