Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Paralympic athlete provides boccia coaching to group with learning disabilities

Essex boccia cutA Paralympic athlete is coaching a group of adults with learning disabilities in Essex to play boccia in a weekly club aimed at improving their physical wellbeing.

The group, from Essex Cares’ Chapter House Wellbeing and Activity Centre in Maldon, are enjoying coaching sessions led by boccia Paralympic athlete and coach, Therese Hunt. Boccia is similar to petanque and bowls and involves players sitting in a chair or wheelchair throwing or rolling their ball as close to the ‘jack’ as possible.

Hunt, who has cerebral palsy, competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and has a degree in sports coaching. She runs the club each Monday from 1:30pm – 2:30pm at the Blackwater Leisure Centre in Maldon.

Jill Thompson, Essex Cares’ community support team leader, said: “The customers absolutely love the boccia sessions and it’s a fantastic way for them to learn new skills, work as a team and take part in physical activity. As boccia is a sitting sport it means all of our customers can take part and enjoy the activity.”

Thompson added that Essex Cares runs 30 Wellbeing and Activity Centres across Essex and we hope to involve other clubs and customers and possibly start a league in the coming months.
The Boccia Club costs £2 per person and sessions are open to members of the public.

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