Inclusive sport in the community was celebrated at a presentation evening hosted by Richmond School and Sixth Form College at the town’s Georgian Theatre. The event marked the huge success of the school’s ‘Activities for All’ project, which successfully achieved funding of almost £10,000 from the National Lottery Awards for All’s ‘Big Lottery Fund’.
Hosted by Six Nations Rugby champion, Katy Storie, the evening recognised how the project has supported students with co-ordination difficulties who may otherwise have not had access to inclusive sporting activities due to lack of opportunity and provision. Development Coordination Disorder (previously termed Dyspraxia) is a childhood condition which affects the development of gross and fine motor coordination. This has an impact on academic success, many daily life skills and has a significant bearing on an individual’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Led by Kath Lawson, Specialist Teacher, and Steffy Cappleman, Marketing Coordinator, at Yes@Richmond School, the ‘Activities for All’ programme offers cycling, dancing, pilates and swimming and since its inception 141 students have enjoyed and benefited from these activities. The project has been and continues to be a great success and could not have been possible without the support of The Youth Sport Trust, Stage1Cycles from Hawes, Richmond and The Dales Swimming Club, Richmond Leisure Trust, Pilates Teacher Anne Thorogood and Vic Sellers from Aspire Dance, the Yes@RichmondSchool team.
The presentation was attended by students who have participated in Activities For All, their parents as well as members of the community, including Councillor Jonathan Preece, Mayor of Richmond, as well as Jo-anne Simpson from Richmondshire District Council, who has supported the development of inclusive sport across the region. The audience enjoyed presentations from the coaches involved in the project including: Helen Pollard (Stage One Cycles), Callum Hall (Richmond and Dales Swimming Club) and Vic Sellers (Aspire Dance) as well as Jordan Stephenson from the Youth Sports Trust. The latest cohort of students from ‘Dance for All’ put on a fabulous performance on stage, which really put into perspective how much the students get from the programme.
Kath Lawson said: “We are delighted by the number of students of all ages and abilities who have participated in the programme. Students have attended to improve their skills but also to practice them in a safe and welcoming setting.”
To enhance the feel of the community aspect of Activities for All, the Georgian Theatre was chosen as the venue, being such an important hub for the area. The theatre also reflects the values of the project which are based on teamwork and community, as for many generations the theatre has provided a special venue in which the community can come together to embrace and celebrate culture and the arts.
In 2023, The Georgian Theatre Royal will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its reopening. A four-year campaign aims to achieve financial sustainability by raising £150,000 per annum from supporters and grant givers. The Theatre presently earns 65% of its annual turnover, with the remainder raised through individual donations or project grants. The Theatre’s ability to increase its earned income is restricted by the size of its auditorium. The only viable way for the Theatre to sustain its current level of activity whilst continuing to preserve the historic building as part of the nation’s cultural heritage is by increasing income from donations and grants. Richmond School and Sixth Form host a number of performances at the Georgian Theatre throughout the year and look forward to offering ongoing support towards the 60th anniversary.