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Team GB Olympians Inspire Wiltshire Children at Easter FUEL Camps

Wiltshire Council partnered with the British Olympic Foundation, this Easter, to deliver Olympic Sport taster sessions to children eligible for benefit-related free school meals, as part of their Holiday Activity and Food programme, FUEL.

Run as a trial across 4 camps, young people took part in table tennis and judo, led by Team GB athletes. In a carousel format, the Olympic Sports taster sessions were held at a different location each day, with new headlining Olympians taking the lead.

Will Bayley MBE, a British professional Paralympic table tennis player, ranked world number 1 was one of the Olympic stars who surprised young people at Devizes Leisure Centre, on Wednesday 5th April, this Easter.

Speaking to Will on the day, he said:

“I think the kids will learn a lot from being here today. For one it’s just good to be around different types of people. Playing sports and learning how to lose, how to win, how to learn new things, how to play table tennis, how to hold a racket - these things are really valuable for development in children and sports.
It’s teaching them so many good things and it’s just a privilege to be a small part of it today.”

Captivated by his career and story, young people flocked around him for the chance to hold his medals and learn how his disability never held him back from becoming the world’s number 1 table tennis player.

Alongside the team from Table Tennis England, athletes from the British Judo Association introduced young people to the sport of judo. Lasha Lekishvili and Ben Clark took the lead, teaching young people judo techniques such as a hold down and how to escape the hold.

Ben Clark shared:

“I think it’s important for the kids to do judo, a different kind of sport. It engages them to make new friends and gets them out of their comfort zone.”

On Wednesday, the Club Support Officer at the British Judo Association, Laurence Kenyon, was also there to support the camp.

“I think the impact on students here today would be to give them an introduction to something they may have not seen. When we get young people involved in judo regularly, once, or twice a week, it has a real impact in terms of behaviour, in terms of controlling aggression, in terms of respect. Those are the main things ingrained into the delivery of the sport and really, really the sort of things judo coaches focus on.”

As well as the athletes, key members of Wiltshire Council joined the day to see the Olympic Sports taster sessions in action. Included in the day were Becca Higgs – Holiday Activity and Food Programme Manager, Cllr Paul Pritchard – Service Manager Development, Cllr Lucy Townsend – Director of Children’s Services, Cllr Helean Hughes – Director of Education and Skills and Cllr David Redfern – Head of the Communities Team.

Left to right: Paul Pritchard, Becca Higgs, Lucy Townsend, Will Bayley MBE & Helean Hughes

Cllr Lucy Townsend tweeted:

“Great time at a HAF holiday clubs today. Thank you @TeamGB for partnering & providing an exciting opportunity for children to experience table tennis & judo with elite athletes. Special thanks to @WillBayleytt for your time.”

On Thursday 6th April, British freestyle skier Lloyd Wallace and British higher jumper Tom Gale inspired young people in Chippenham at Sheldon School.

Lloyd shared a video on Twitter showcasing the day, including the judo mats, table tennis area and high jumpers Geoff Parsons (Learn by Design’s Chief Executive) and Tom Gale.

“We’re helping engage kids from around Wiltshire to get more involved in sport and create healthy habits. We have a fantastic day with Olympic Sports, judo and a little bit of table tennis.”

Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Wiltshire Council, joined the Olympians at Sheldon School to see the partnership in action. Along with a photo of them all, she tweeted:

“Another fabulously organised HAF/FUEL programme by @bydesigngroup at @sheldonschool. Great that @TeamGB are involved to give children a chance to try new sports and meet Olympians.”

Left to right: Lloyd Wallace, Laura Mayes and Tom Gale

At the end of each BOF day, young people took part in a ceremony, inspired by the Olympic closing ceremonies. Holding Olympic, British, French and Paris 2024 flags, young people formed a parade as they walked around the hall until finally meeting their star Olympian of the day for a Q&A session.

FUEL is a Holiday Activity and Food programme designed to provide Wiltshire children eligible for benefit-related free school meals, a nutritious lunch each day and the opportunity to take part in a range of practical, physical and hands-on activities. These include robotics workshops, circus skills, sporting sessions, talent shows, animal encounters and arts and crafts workshops.

Learn by Design has delivered the FUEL programme on behalf of Wiltshire Council since 2021. Thousands of young people have taken part in the programme, every school holiday, across the county. As part of the camps, Learn by Design deliver a series of workshops including robotics and optics. We’re also delighted to work with a range of providers including Phunky Foods, Always.Cooking, Clare’s Circus and Active Wiltshire, boosting the range of activities provided.

This Easter, we welcomed Wild Science and Wildlife Displays to the team. They provided young people with up-close animal encounters. We visited Marlborough Community Centre on Wednesday where Wild Science wowed young people with a range of creatures, including a 1-year-old Carolina Corn Snake and Barnaby the Rabbit!

Lime Kiln Leisure Centre staff also got in on the fun as they held a tarantula brought along by Wildlife Display. The Wiltshire facility shared on Facebook:

“Last week Lime Kiln staff got to meet a few animals. Thank you to Bryan at Wildlife Displays who allowed us to hold them. Bryan was here for the Easter FUEL camp (Learn by Design).”

The FUEL camps took place across four days, from Monday 3rd April until Thursday 6th April.

Applications for Easter are closed. Please follow us on Twitter (@bydesigngroup), Facebook (Learn by Design) and Linkedin (Learn by Design – By Design Group) to keep updated on future FUEL camps.

The next FUEL camp will be in Summer 2023.

For more information on the Holiday Activity and Food programme in Wiltshire, families can email

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