Paralympic athlete helps kids get active

Children attending council-led school holiday hubs in north Oxfordshire have been treated to training sessions with a Team GB Paralympian.

Published: Tuesday, 24th August 2021

Alistair Patrick Heselton, who represented Great Britain in football at London 2012, worked with youngsters at Cherwell District Council’s summer holiday programme at Bicester Leisure Centre, Kidlington and Gosford Leisure Centre and The Cooper School, talking to them about his experiences and taking part in activities.

Alistair is now an Athlete Mentor for the Youth Sport Trust, a children’s charity working to ensure every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport. 

Alistair said: “I’ve been thrilled by the drive of the young people taking part who have really taken to interacting with one another and trying new ways of learning through sport and activity. Last week, I had my proudest moment when an older member of the group continued to challenge and support their peers to achieve success after I had delivered my session. It was amazing to see the peer-to-peer learning taking place so naturally.”

Cherwell’s school holiday hubs have been completely sold out this summer, providing 6,800 places for children to attend sports and activities sessions over the 6-week break. Of these, 4,800 positions were given without charge to families entitled to free school meals through the government’s holiday activity funding.

Councillor Phil Chapman, Cherwell District Council’s Lead Member for Leisure and Sport, said: “The return of our holiday hubs has provided a fun place for youngsters to make new friends and stay active.  Having a world class athlete inspire the children has been absolutely fantastic and I’d like to thank Alistair and the team at the Youth Sport Trust for helping to make it happen.”

Cherwell will continue to work with the Youth Sport Trust throughout the year, using sport to improve children’s wellbeing and give them a brighter future. The charity harnesses the power of sport, physical activity and PE to build life skills, connections between people and support networks which increase young people’s life chances through improved wellbeing, greater attainment and healthier lifestyles. 

Chris Ellis, Head of School Engagement at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “It has been an incredibly tough year for families and young people, and we know the importance of the summer holidays for creating memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. We are so proud to be working with Cherwell District Council to support those children with need who have missed out most this year.”