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Brand new School Games2Inspire!

We held our first Games2Inspire at Parmiter’s School on Tuesday, June 11th, 2024, as part of the school’s impressive Active Lives week. This was my first Games2Inspire event and what a special day it was!

Before we arrived, many students and teachers had already participated in a 5-kilometer walk or run at varying speeds, ensuring everyone could join regardless of skill level.

After receiving a warm welcome from the PE department staff, John held an assembly for just over 450 students at the school from various year groups. It was a pleasure to attend a Games2Inspire in person and witness the impact of John’s speeches on both students and teachers. The students were particularly drawn to John’s stories about embracing who you are, with the lamppost story being a big hit!

John, assisted by Mr. Clark, the Head of the PE Department at Parmiter’s, showcased some of the equipment he uses to participate in sports such as golf, tennis, and fencing. It was fantastic to see how this specialised equipment was tailored to John and contributes to inclusivity in sport. One teacher spoke to John after the presentation, highlighting how “truly inspirational” his story was.

Our first sessions began with around 120 Year 8 students, where we had five groups rotating through five stations. These included new age kurling, sitting volleyball, blindfolded penalties, boccia, and goalball, with each station running two games at once! The students were immediately engaged, working together to understand these games, their true inclusivity and supported each other to challenge themselves. Goalball was particularly popular among students. Whether they were blindfolded or coaching from behind the goal, they clearly benefited from enhanced communication skills, teamwork, and camaraderie.

Later in the day, we welcomed two groups of Year 10 students. I was particularly impressed by two students playing blindfolded penalties. Despite not knowing each other well, they trusted each other and communicated effectively to excel in the training rounds. The entire group encouraged them to both attempt the course blindfolded and aim for the goal. They succeeded in scoring! The entire group erupted in celebration!

I then had the pleasure of discussing the day’s success and the variety of events we run at Power2Inspire with the school’s Headmaster. He was extremely impressed with the event and the positive impact it had on the school’s Active Lives week. We all agreed that hosting a PowerHouseGames at Parmiter’s would be amazing in the future! We look forward to maintaining a close relationship with the school and planning a PowerHouseGames event soon!

Our final group consisted of Year 7 students who were the most excited I’d seen, especially considering it was the final period of the day. After a long day of studying, the inclusive games proved to be a perfect ending to their school day. The joyful cheers when players scored in sitting volleyball echoed through the hall and the Year 7 students were eager to learn the inclusive rules and adapt to each other’s ability levels.

At the end of each year-group session, we gathered to reflect on the games. John thanked everyone for their participation, and each student received a certificate for their involvement, which was evidently special. One student proudly displayed their certificate throughout the day in the playground, stating, “Look, my first certificate of achievement this year…look!” Their joy was undeniable! At the end of the session, John also invited students to give him a high paw; many lined up and happily celebrated with him.

A personal highlight was interacting and playing inclusive sports games with some of the PE department staff at Parmiter’s School. The commitment of all teachers to the students’ personal growth through sports was evident. It was wonderful to learn about other inclusive sports activities the school had hosted, such as wheelchair basketball just the day prior. A spirited game of new age kurling commenced between staff in the afternoon. This might have been my favorite activity (perhaps because my team won!).

I want to extend a huge thank you to all the staff at Parmiter’s School for their involvement, and to the students for their engagement. I left the day feeling inspired, seeing the work we do behind the scenes come to life at a Games2Inspire. I eagerly anticipate attending many more events like this! Make sure to check out @parmiterspedept on Instagram, where you’ll find a video reel of the day.

What are Games2Inspire?

Games2Inspire events are incredible events, most often hosted in schools, with an assembly and sports day which includes activities designed to be accessible and fun for everyone, with disabilities and none, sporty and not. Participants get to meet our inspirational founder, John Willis, and hear all about how John has overcome obstacles in his life. They then get to put that learning to practice by playing adapted games and sports together learning new skills and being encouraged to test their beliefs about ability and disability and what it is to be different, learning to respect other people’s differences. Power2Inspire works with them to challenge their assumptions of what they can and cannot do.

Inspired? Then Get Involved!

If you are interested in hosting a Games2Inspire in your school / college / company / community group then we would love to hear from you.

We are also always looking out for people willing to fundraise for Power2Inspire through their own inspiring means. Or, you could volunteer individually at one of our events, or you could give to the ongoing work of Power2Inspire. There are SO MANY WAYS we can all help to ensure “no on else is left on the bench!” Click the button here to find out more.

Bethany Haran

P2I Intern