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Fantastic Activities happening in Fife

Enigma a Truly Inclusive Gymnastics Club

Gymnastics is in the blood of the Ryce family and it was only natural that Bella and brother Myles became members of the Enigma club in Leven. Enigma coaches are proud of the community resource they have created and the ethos of inclusivity that prevails throughout the club. The positive experiences of Myles, and the identified need for quality local movement sessions for children and young people with Down Syndrome (DS), prompted Disability Sport Fife (DSF), Enigma club head coach and Active Fife to come together to discuss the possibility of establishing specific sessions for participants with DS. The catalyst was a meeting of the Ups and Downs Parents Support Group attended by all partners.

The Enigma club provides for gymnasts of all levels of ability and the new development was viewed as an extension to that provision. Active recreation is every bit as important to the club as pursuing competition goals. Initial specific sessions were identified for Sundays but now provision for gymnasts with DS is threaded throughout the weekly club programme. Coach continuity is very important throughout the club. This has only been possible because of the club commitment to coach education and the belief of the head coach that the provision for gymnasts with DS is the responsibility of all coaches, and not simply an identified few. A programme of training has been set up for Enigma coaches by DSF to further develop the principles of inclusive coaching. The subject for the most recent workshop was coaching gymnasts on the autism spectrum.

The Enigma club is based at the Levenmouth Academy and supported by Fife Council. Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council provided a grant to DSF to help with gymnast registration fees. The Get Out Get Active (GOGA in Fife) programme, supported by Spirit of 2012, funded part of the coach education schedule. Families, coaches and significant others are now looking into how they can further improve communication practices employed by club coaches, using the PECS system. Enigma is one big happy family and most importantly there is a place for every family member, regardless of ability.

Jennifer Mann, head coach, said: “As experienced coaches, I believe we are ideally placed in Enigma GC to provide gymnastics opportunities for Myles and other participants with DS. Training has been key to success and our volunteer led sessions are fully inclusive. Individual coaches are lining up to coach the growing number of club gymnasts with DS. Not only is this a positive experience for our gymnasts but the partnerships established have contributed so much to the ethos and ambitions of the club.”

Parent Paula Ryce said: “the Enigma coaches have created a very positive and productive inclusive learning environment for my son Myles and the other gymnasts with DS. Myles (8) is non verbal and reluctant to sign and the coaches have introduced coaching strategies that address his personal needs. The introduction of a gymnastics specific PECS board is being developed and this will no doubt include his favourite piece of apparatus, the high beam. As families we cannot praise Jenn, Linda Cameron and the young volunteer coaches for their patience, enthusiasm and coaching expertise. Myles and other club members with additional support needs noticeably grow in confidence weekly as they reach realistic goals set by Enigma coaches. As a family we are thrilled that Myles is now working towards his third British Gymnastics Proficiency Award in addition to being recognised as Enigma Gymnast of the Week twice”

Thank you to gymnasts Charlie, Eve, Hope and Sophie for allowing us to view the Enigma club in action.

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First Fife Tennis Festival for Players with Additional Support needs (GOGA in Fife)

With support from Alan Russell, Head Coach at Dunfermline Tennis Club and Andrew Raitt from Tennis Scotland, Disability Sport Fife (DSF) set up a Tennis Academy for players with additional support needs during the 2016 schools summer term. Apart from introducing juniors to tennis activities, a key Academy objective was to sign up players for Summer Tennis opportunities provided by local tennis clubs.

The Tennis Academy was offered again this year to appropriate DSF member organisations and Balwearie HS and Woodmill HS signed up. Alan Russell once again led the coaching initiative and DSF was delighted to welcome on board for the first time coach Gary Whitton from Kirkcaldy Tennis Club. Each coach offered up to six sessions of quality coaching to selected pupils with additional support needs within their school environment.

In November 2016 Get out and Get Active (GOGA in Fife) was successfully launched and already has made a significant impact in encouraging inactive individuals with additional support needs to be active. To round off the 2017 Tennis Academy programme DSF is collaborating with Dunfermline Tennis Club to offer a Tennis Festival for learners with additional support needs under the banner of GOGA in Fife.

30 youngsters have signed up and coaches Alan Russell and Gary Whitton will deliver the session with support from school staff and significant others. The event will take place at Dunfermline Tennis Club on Monday 12th June and run from 10 00 till 12 00. The Festival will offer a wide range of tennis activities and at the end of the session pupil participants will be provided with details of local inclusive Tennis Club activity sessions they can attend over the holidays.

CycloFun an Inclusive Outstanding Success

Well done to everybody associated with the Cyclofun to day at Tayport in North East Fife and around Tentsmuir Forest. The Rotary clubs from Cupar, Howe of Fife, North Fife and St Andrews should be immensely proud of what they provided for all of us who attended as participants in an amazing cycling experience.

The many children, young people and adults of different abilities who were there had access to a significant number of cycling challenges plus information and advice on everything to do with cycling. The 5 and 8 mile cycling routes were extremely popular and well supervised. The cycling skills and obstacle challenges were exactly as described and enjoyed enormously by young people in particular. There were electric bikes and a penny farthing on show plus advice on cycle maintenance and cycle routes. There was something for everybody and not surprisingly lots of Rotarians to advise, direct and support as appropriate. A great day was had by all.

Disability Sport Fife (DSF) member organisation Kilmaron was fully involved in the day and in particular with a static cycle challenge against Tayport Primary. I am not aware of the final outcome but headteacher Isla Lumsden contributed an amazing final burst on the final leg of the challenge. Pupils staff and families were active throughout the day in various activities including the 5 and 8 mile cycle runs around Tentsmuir. Well done Kilmaron.

DSF member Kirsty Brunton represented Scotland at the last CPISRA World Games in England. Kirsty is a most accomplished sailor and open water swimmer and will compete in Lake Windermere in a couple of weeks. Kirsty is a member of Incas swimming club and is planning a swim next week in Kinghorn Loch as part of her training. Kirsty has always wanted to cycle with her daughter Sarah. Within the last couple of days Kirsty has acquired a recumbent cycle and the Cyclofun offered her the opportunity to cycle with Sarah and join in the Cyclofun activities. A wonderful day out was enjoyed by Kirsty, her mum and Sarah. Thank you Rotary International.

DSF was pleased to publicise the Cyclofun as part of the Get Out and Get Active (GOGA in Fife) programme in Fife. DSF is working with cycling agencies locally and nationally to promote active recreation for participants with additional support needs. The Cyclofun was an ideal opportunity for inclusive cycling and a significant number of DSF members and friends took full advantage.

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