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Saints Community partners with Mencap to get children moving

Northampton Saints has partnered with Mencap to deliver their All Move programme to children with a learning disability across Northamptonshire – adding another important programme to the Community department’s repertoire.

The programme will see participants from three SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) schools across the county take part in a sport and physical activity challenge. 

The aim of the challenge is for students to complete a virtual marathon of 26 hours of fun, physical activity – where one hour equates to one mile of the marathon. Saints’ Inclusion Officers will work with the schools involved to create a bespoke programme of both virtual and in-person (COVID-safe) sessions, so students can benefit from increased confidence and long-lasting exercise habits, as well as trying new activities. 

The programme has been funded using the income raised from Mencap’s partnership with the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, which has provided the opportunity to support up to three SEND schools (students aged 11-16) in Northamptonshire; Saints Community department is asking schools or other qualifying organisations to register their interest in the programme quickly to avoid missing out.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with Mencap to be able to offer children with a learning disability in our region the chance to take part in this important programme at such a difficult time,” said Jamie Higgins, Community Inclusion Officer at Northampton Saints.

“The pandemic has impacted the mental health of many people, but children with a learning disability and autism in particular have felt the challenges of lockdown.

“Exercise can be a tonic for anyone’s mental health and so we believe that this programme will be extremely beneficial to the children involved.”

Jamie Higgins, Community Inclusion Officer

“This partnership between Northampton Saints and Mencap gives us a great opportunity to support young people with a learning disability and autism to build that connection to see physical activity as both fun and beneficial. Many children with a learning disability can miss out on physical activity opportunities that many people take for granted, and the All Move programme is a great way to get them involved.”

Charlotte Aspley has Mosaic Down’s syndrome and a learning disability and ran the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon for Mencap to raise money for the All Move programme.

“The launch of Mencap’s All Move programme with Northampton Saints could not have come at a better time,” Charlotte commented on the new partnership.

“It will give young people with a learning disability the opportunity to get fit and improve their physical and mental health. All Move is more important than ever as many have struggled with loneliness and keeping active during the coronavirus pandemic.”

All individuals who take part will work towards motivation milestones, with incremental rewards along the way, and will also benefit from an online portal and an All Move at Home resource pack to encourage at home activity alongside the sessions. Participating schools and organisations will also receive a legacy grant from Mencap on completion to be used beyond the All Move programme, to continue providing physical activity opportunities to children with a learning disability and autism.

For more information on the programme or to register your school or organisation’s interest in taking part, please email [email protected]. You can also find more details on Mencap's All Move programme HERE.

Please note, a minimum of ten students with a learning disability or autism is required per school or organisation to qualify for the programme.