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Disabled ice rink session at Billingham Forum
THE thrill of gliding around an ice rink is being enjoyed by adults without a pair of skates in sight.
On Friday mornings at Billingham Forum, sledges and wheelchairs chasse and spin over the slippery surface at a disabled session between 9.30am and 10.30am.
James Todd, has severe dyspraxia and arthritis making it difficult to walk, yet he spends the entire hour circling the rink in his trainers.
The 21-year-old who studies performing arts at college, has been a member of Snaps (Special Needs Activities with Parent Support) Tees Valley, since he was seven.
“It is not busy and you can wear trainers here, which is great for James as he could not stand up on skates,” said his mother, Sandra Todd.
And inspired by his autistic son’s favourite film, Cool Runnings, about four Jamaican bobsleighers who dream of competing in the Winter Olympics, Francis Joyce pushes Daniel, 21, fast on a sledge.
“He would want to just stay in his room so this is a way of getting out and meeting people for both of us,” Mr Joyce explained. “It is camaraderie. I can’t praise the group enough.”
Ruth Benson from Norton, Stockton, who helped set up Snaps 17 years ago, said: “This would be downright dangerous in a normal session, you could not have people in wheelchairs and sledges.”
Her son, Michael, a wheelchair user, had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and died two months before his 16th birthday. “He wanted to try everything often adapting activities so he could participate,” she added.
“Instead of just watching from the sidelines, this is something that everybody can do but perhaps didn’t think they had the opportunity to before.”
Snaps offers activities for young people up to the age of 25 during school holidays while Snaps Plus for adults aged 25 and above hosts pub nights as well as skating during term time.
For more details about Snaps and Snaps Plus call Ruth Benson on 07745-969049 or email email@example.com
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