Last week, John and I caught up with Daisy Wallman and Lulu Harving, pupils at the Perse school, Cambridge. They were joined by their sports teacher, Miss Millie Diss (pictured).

Daisy and Lulu had taken part in Power2Inspire’s first self-run PowerHouseGames with virtual support, a hybrid model developed during lockdown. These games days demonstrate how pupils of all ages can play inclusive and adapted activities and teach teamwork, diversity, communication, and resilience.

I started off by asking the girls about one of the day’s activities they had particularly enjoyed. Lulu described playing sitting volleyball, which is basically volleyball but sitting on the ground, and with a slightly lower net, as really fun:
“It was interesting to look at sport from other perspectives, which in this case is from the ground” Lulu said, “And you still got the whole aspect of working as a team, and similar goals. But I think, playing from a different angle is what sports is really about.” 

Miss Diss joked that the teachers had to constantly remind them that they weren’t allowed to come off their bottoms. “It really brought to light how difficult it can be”, she said.

I asked the girls how difficult it was to remember not to stand up. “We would get carried away and get competitive. We’d try and reach up and realise, oh wait, you’re not allowed!” 

Daisy’s favourite activity was goalball (a Paralympic sport for visually impaired athletes). “We each had a partner behind us, who would tell us where the ball is. I found it fun, but quite scary at times. It was really confusing to find where you are and where the goals are.”

Miss Diss was pretty sure that when the pupils got lost with their blindfolds on, “They definitely had a little peek [under their blindfolds].” She emphasised that it would be very different in real life, if you had a visual impairment, when you can’t just take off your blindfold.

In order to play our version of goalball, the blindfolded players have to rely on teammates who aren’t blindfolded to tell them where to roll the ball. Lulu said, “It was a bit loud, so it was hard to hear. But overall, my teammates were helpful, and it was really nice to work as a team.”

The self-run PowerHouseGames was supported virtually by John, Power2Inspire’s founder and CEO. He was on hand throughout the morning, via video call, to provide encouragement and to answer any questions about the games.

Both girls liked knowing that John was there, watching and supporting, even as they were engrossed in their activities. They also liked that they could go and ask him questions whenever they needed.

Lulu, Daisy, and Miss Diss were all very enthusiastic about the success of the PowerHouseGames, and were quick to encourage other schools to try this hybrid self-run virtual model.  Millie Diss was keen to emphasise the fun, the ease – two teachers ran the sessions for 180 students across a morning – the value of the training videos, and being able to borrow the specialist equipment.  She urged other schools to sign up to beat Covid-19!

Lulu learned a valuable lesson from the PHG. “I think I learned that it doesn’t matter, like, if you have a disability or not; you can still have fun doing sports, and it’s just nice to know that people out there are trying to do the things they love.”

For Daisy, having a disability “doesn’t stop you from doing anything. You can still do loads of things.”

Inspired? Then Get Involved!

If you are interested in hosting a virtual PowerHouseGames in your school / college / company / community group then we would love to hear from you. AS you have read we have even found a way to make our PowerHouseGames a success in lockdown so don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can plan you very own PowerHouseGames!!

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Anna Willis

Freelance journalist and story teller; on Twitter @annawillis101