Doncaster charity says half-term work will have lasting impact on disadvantaged children

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A Doncaster charity made it possible for children to exercise and socialise safely over half-term which they believed helped both their physical and mental health.

Active Fusion is a charity that focuses on physical well being in children and during the pandemic it has continued its work by hosting boot camps and workshops during school holidays.

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In the October half term the charity ran in five different locations across Doncaster - Edlington, Bentley, Conisbrough, Moorends and Kirk Sandall

Bamini Lingham, Anjali and Maya Ravikulan.Bamini Lingham, Anjali and Maya Ravikulan.
Bamini Lingham, Anjali and Maya Ravikulan.

Bamini Lingham, whose daughters Maya and Anjali Ravikulan attended the camp in Kirk Sandall, said that the bootcamps were a great success.

She said: “I highly recommend these camps and the ones from the summer.“I can see the changes in the activity levels when the girls come here.“They can tend to be a bit lazy at home, but when they are at camp, they are full of energy and love being active with other children.”Anjali, aged ten and Maya, eight, went to the camp all week and said they relished the opportunity to do activities and games with others.Anjali said: “We’ve really enjoyed being at camp because it makes us feel more energetic and we get to do loads of different activities.“I was nervous about coming because I’ve never met any of the other children or coaches, but they all made us feel welcome and we wanted to keep coming back.”Maya added that the coaches did a great job making them feel part of the team.She said: “I like the coaches because they’re nice and fun, they let us try new things and are always smiling and making us feel happy.“We’d definitely come to camp again.“It’s very fun and we love doing sport and exercise.”Bamani is a key worker and said that the camps helped her massively during the half term.

The camps have been funded by multiple Doncaster organisations to ensure the activities reach children who may be suffering due to the pandemic.The Violence Reduction Unit, Doncaster Children's Trust, Doncaster Council and Thorne and Moorends Town Council all collaborated to make these half term camps possible.

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Rohan Parkinson, Thomas Musgrave, Emily Jane Kidd are all pupils at Conisbrough Ivanhoe Primary Academy.They took part in the boot camps this half term as they all have a keen interest in sports.Rowan, seven, said: “I’ve loved camp.“I get to do all of the fun things I like to do and see and play with my friends.“I got to play outside and do sports which I really like to do.”Emily, ten, added: “I’ve had so much fun.“We have done basketball, dodgeball, football and loads of other different activities and games.“We even did crafts which was really fun.”Thomas, nine, said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. I love doing sport and running and being active.“Plus, all of my friends are here which makes it more enjoyable. We have so much fun.”The Active Fusion team strictly followed the social distancing guidelines and all team members had training to ensure safety.“We’ve been following all the new rules,” Thomas added.“Coronavirus came at us so quickly but school have done a really good job with the new rules and making it safe.”Emma Lancaster took her daughter Ava to one of the bootcamps in Conisbrough.She said that the camps were highly beneficial for the pair and helped Ava gain confidence.

Rohan Parkinson, Thomas Musgrave, Emily Jane Kidd.Rohan Parkinson, Thomas Musgrave, Emily Jane Kidd.
Rohan Parkinson, Thomas Musgrave, Emily Jane Kidd.

She added: “The camps have been so useful to us. I know Ava enjoyed attending.“She was on countdown in the mornings wanting to know how long until it was sports camp time.“At the end of the day when I picked her up, she could not stop talking about all the fun things she had done that day.”Not only did the camps focus on sports and physical health but they also made sure to inject some Halloween fun into their days.“She enjoyed all the activities on offer and enjoys being active and physical,” Emma said.“She enjoys being around the staff running the camps and I know she has made a bond with them by the way she talks about them.”Emma believes that the camps will have a lasting impact on her daughter.She said: “I have seen Ava’s confidence grow.“She always takes a while to warm to new situations and this is usually seen on her first day when she is shy.

“But this time shy Ava was not around for long and by the second day I just got a quick goodbye at drop off and she was off to enjoy the day.”Like many parents, child care has been a constant worry during the pandemic and Emma is thankful that there was a place for Ava to go whilst she worked.Emma said: “The camps helped me massively.“I am a working mum who has continued to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.“Any time of the year can be hard, juggling work and being a mum, but this pandemic has intensified the juggling act.“Knowing there was somewhere for Ava to go where she was happy and well looked after made my working day that little bit easier.”

Active fusion to hope to run similar camps in the Christmas break but that is dependent on the Government’s guidelines.

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