Whizz-Kidz adapted rock climbing - girl on climbing wall

A charity for young wheelchair users, Whizz-Kidz, is collaborating with CareTech Foundation to encourage disabled people to be more independent and socially engaged with accessible activity days.

Using funding from CareTech Foundation, Whizz-Kidz will deliver 12 ‘Kidz Max Days’ over the next three years for at least 220 young wheelchair users across the UK.

The partnership’s key focus is on enabling young wheelchair users to be more independent, socially engaged and enjoy improved health and wellbeing.

This summer, Whizz-Kidz will host four adventurous multi-activity days that will include adapted rock climbing, abseiling and water sports for 60 young disabled people and their families.

The multi-activity days will give young people the opportunity to try fun new activities that may otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Jonathan Freeman, CEO at CareTech Foundation said: “We are delighted to partner with Whizz-Kidz to bring adventurous fun to over 200 children and their families.

“This exciting and innovative scheme will allow young wheelchair users to be more mobile and to feel included. Wheelchair users face huge barriers to access local facilities and this problem has been heightened by the pandemic.

“We are passionate about supporting people with physical disabilities and these crucial funds will provide much needed assistance.”

Whizz-Kidz will also introduce a Buddy Scheme and Family Network to help young people and families feel less isolated.

The new online and in-person ‘Buddy’ scheme will be included in the programme and used to match older or more experienced wheelchair users with younger and less experienced wheelchair users to help encourage them both to share their lived experience with one another and push the boundaries of what they think to be possible as a wheelchair user.

The charity’s Families Network will be a key tool in connecting families and carers of young wheelchair users, building a community that facilitates peer-to-peer support for those who have daily responsibilities to care for a young wheelchair user.

Willz, 11, recently attended a ski session hosted by Whizz-Kidz in Swansea, Wales.

His mum, Eve, said: “There is nothing in our local community that I’m aware of for young wheelchair users to challenge themselves and meet others in similar positions. Whizz-Kidz has allowed us to meet families with whom we can share support and make meaningful friendships. We loved Skiing and now try to take Willz regularly. You have made him feel less isolated and given him the realisation that there are many wheelchair users out there.”

The adventurous activities will be designed to encourage everyone to push the boundaries of what they thought was possible for a wheelchair user, building confidence, and raising aspirations for the future.

Director of Services at Whizz-Kidz Jon Sawford said: “We are delighted to partner with CareTech Foundation for this exciting Kidz Max Days project, providing accessible fun for all the family.

“Each of these confidence-building activities are tailored to the young wheelchair users who sign up, so they can try something new, learn skills, make friends and have fun.

“These Kidz Max Days, along with other services we provide at Whizz-Kidz for young people, aim to reduce isolation, enhance health and wellbeing, improve confidence, increase employability opportunities and build leadership skills.”

The initial Kidz Max Days pilot scheme that launches in summer 2022 will be open to 60 young wheelchair users and their families. Building on its success, Whizz-Kidz plans to then host four Kidz Max Days each year for a further two years, growing in capacity to be able to include up to a further 160 young people and their families.

Earlier this year, Simplyhealth, a UK health solutions company, helped more young wheelchair users in the UK gain independence, sponsoring their mobility equipment through Whizz-Kidz with a generous donation of over £45,000.

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