‘Funability’ sports sessions get Hartlepool youngsters moving again after a year indoors

Sports sessions are helping Hartlepool youngsters build new skills and come out of their shell.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 4:45 am

The Funability sessions, which take place every Thursday at the Brierton Sports Centre, are focused around children with special needs and see the youngsters try different sports every week while they make new friends.

Football, netball and dodgeball are available and there is also a chance for people to suggest sports they might want to try out.

Parents are welcome to stay and watch as well and the sessions are free of charge.

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Vic Weighill enjoying a rough and tumble with Oliver Coraigan, Isaac Harland and Izabelle Berry during the Funability session held at Brierton Community Sports Centre.

Vic Weighill, who leads and organises the sessions, said: “It is a safe environment for them to bring the children along and try lots of different things.

"We change it every couple of weeks so that they really try every different sport and get the benefit of it.

"There’s not really much competitive element, as long as the child is having fun and taking part, that’s the best bit.

"It lets them burn off some steam as well.”

Isaac Harland having fun during the Funability session held at Brierton Community Sports Centre.

The sessions, which have been running for almost 10 years, had to go digital during the last two lockdowns, before restarting in person on April 1.

Jessica Ingham, who is coaching at the sessions alongside Joe Johnson, said: “It’s lovely, because the parents are allowed to stay and watch.

"There’s an opportunity for people to ask if there’s a certain type of sport or something that someone enjoys, we could look into incorporating that into the sessions as well.

"It’s a chance for people to come along and get a bit of sport and exercise that they couldn’t maybe before.”

Jessica Ingham with Isaac Harland, Oliver Coraigan and Izabelle Berry during the Funability session.

There are sessions for primary school and secondary school children and each session is up to one hour long.

Jessica continued: “The pandemic has forced kids to stay indoors and do a lot of things on a computer.

“It’s a chance for people to get out for 45 minutes – hour a week and make some new friends.”

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Joe Johnson, Jessica Ingham and Vic Weighill leading the Funability session with Izabelle Berry, Isaac Harland and Oliver Coraigan.

She added: “The first session that I went to, you could see the kids coming out of their shells.

"They were a bit nervous and didn’t want to do certain things, but now these kids are friends because they’ve met each other every week for a few weeks.”

If you’d like to sign up, call (01429) 523452 or email [email protected]

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Izabelle Berry cheering as she enjoys the Funability session.
Oliver Coraigan breaks free during the Funability session held at Brierton Community Sports Centre.