Children get a kick out of holiday sports in Gainford
MORE than 40 children are enjoying free sports sessions in Gainford during the summer holidays – complete with a tasty lunch.
Golf, tennis, football, dodgeball and even martial arts self-defence skills are just some of the activities that primary school aged children are playing at the village’s recreation field each day.
Organised by Gainford and Langton Parish Council, the scheme has been part-funded by Teesdale Action Partnership (TAP) with cash from the Government’s Fun With Food programme.
Cllr Sarah Hannan said thanks for this should go to England star Marcus Rashford, whose campaign for children on free school meals to be provided with lunches during the holidays forced a change in Government policy.
The TAP grant of £6,000 covers about half of the cost of the scheme while the parish council covers the remaining costs.
Cllr Hannan said the aim of the activities is to address mental health issues and social deprivation caused by successive Covid-19 lockdowns.
Kyle Swankie, of Swankie Sports, organises and co-ordinates the days ensuring the children enjoy a wide variety of activities, while Oliver Twist’s sandwich shop, in Barnard Castle, provides the lunches.
Unique to a session last week were self-defence classes presented by professional martial arts specialist Dale Williams, of Finish Control Escape (FCE) Martial Arts and Self-Defence.
He said: “We are doing simple self-defence and non-combat sparring to make them feel like Chuck Norris for a bit.”
Parents in the village praised the parish council for organising the activities.
Mum Rachel Shepherd said: “It’s absolutely wonderful. Kyle is fantastic.
“Socially the children have got lonely and this brings the children together.”