Armidale Gymnastics Club expands its innovative sensory program thanks to a $5,000 State Government grant, with Gymnastics NSW Events Manager Chris Martin, left, Armidale City Gymnastics Club coach Carole O’Hara, committee members Jocelyn Reynolds, Terry Bohlson, Phil Donnan, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and head coach Wally O’Hara.
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
ARMIDALE Gymnastics Club’s innovative program which supports children with additional needs to be physically active has been given a ‘springboard’ to expand, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $5,000 State Government grant to secure new sensory equipment.
Mr Marshall said the purchase of new lycra swings and metal frames would allow the club to grow its dedicated sensory gym and Kindergym.
“With the assistance of occupational therapists and special education teachers from local schools, Armidale Gymnastics Club has developed an inclusive program that allows children with varying levels of disability to have fun and be social,” Mr Marshall said.
“By installing a number of new climbing activities, including small bouldering wall and balancing apparatus, will enable children to feel the freedom of movement assist them with coordinated and balance.
“Improving the sensory area with specialist equipment will mean the group can offer more targeted activities to children with a greater range of disability.
“This sensory program has changed the lives of many children and their parents. By having the capacity to grow in the future I hope more families will sign on to the physical benefits gymnastics has to offer.”
Armidale City Gymnastics Club President Tahlia Stace said the sensory group has had excellent parent reviews, with evidence showing a substantial increase in participant’s sensory motor skills.
“It is well documented how valuable movement programs are to people of all ages,” Ms Stace said.
“Our Kindergym and sensory gym programs provide an environment for participants to develop their physical and cognitive skills in a fun and playful way and at their own rate through guided exploration.
“Gymnastics NSW have also assisted with making the program accessible by offering membership of the association, insurance costs, at a substantially reduced rate.
“Subsequently this has meant that many of the children, particularly boys, have moved on from the group to participate in general gymnastics sessions offered by the club.
“Our hope long-term is to become a registered NDIS provider and offer this very worthwhile service on a larger scale, which in turn would lead to a larger employment profile for our club.
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to offer programs like these into our region with the continued support of the NSW Government.”