Game-changing boost for Norwood’s sports programme

22 December 2014

Norwood, the UK's largest Jewish children, family and learning disability charity, has received £121,000 funding for its inclusive sports programme ‘Change the Game’ from the City of London Corporation’s charity, the City Bridge Trust.

Change the Game aims to increase opportunities for people with learning disabilities to take part in sport. It will run sports sessions in parks, sports centres, and in collaboration with sports clubs, from 'taster' sessions to elite level training. The training will be tailored to the needs of the individual, regardless of ability of level of fitness. This grant will enable Norwood to deliver the final stages of the programme, helping more people with learning disabilities to compete in their chosen sport at the highest level.

The service was set up to overcome the barriers preventing those with learning disabilities competing at a high level, commonly lack of opportunities and support and concerns about transport and cost. During Change the Game 400 people with learning disabilities will be able to take part in sport and fitness activities. With support from trained staff and volunteers, it's hoped that many more people will go on to compete at an elite standard.

As well as this, 15 people will receive job coaching and training opportunities to start their career in sport.

Pauline Smith, Head of Operations at Norwood said: "This grant will enable us to provide real opportunities for the people we support to engage with sport at a level that’s right for them. At Norwood, we believe that people with learning disabilities should have the same opportunities as everyone else to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. This funding from the City Bridge Trust will help us to work with people who want to take part in international sports challenges, the Special Olympics, or to find a job in the industry. Through the delivery of this project we will support people to embed sports into their everyday lives, becoming healthier and more independent."

Michael Kuperberg, who is supported by Norwood said: "Until I came to Norwood, I was nervous about cycling, then thanks to the support and love I’ve received from Norwood, I now love cycling and have been on a tandem cycling ride to Thailand … I learned to pedal properly and to enjoy cycling."

Jeremy Mayhew, Chairman of the City Bridge Trust, said: "Learning disabilities sometimes can be tough to overcome, but these should not necessarily impact a person's chances of enjoying sports or even pursuing a career in competitive sport, as long as there are the necessary facilities, a supportive environment and access to specialist training. The City Bridge trust fully supports Norwood's valuable work that will empower people with learning disabilities to achieve maximum independence, and enhance health and wellbeing through sports."

City Bridge Trust is the grant-making arm of Bridge House Estates, whose sole trustee is the City of London Corporation. It supports London’s charities and provides grants totalling around £15 million annually.