Monday, 2 February 2015

How an autistic trampolining club came on Leaps and Bounds...

The last time I wrote on this blog about a good cause was to give publicity to Will Wearmouth’s bike ride to France in aid of the British Legion. Suffice to say Will did amazingly well, achieved his goal with flying colours and raised a fantastic amount in the process.

This time I want to just give a blog (and, I hope, twitter) shout-out to a wonderful trampolining club for autistic children in Liverpool, run by my cousin Stephanie Graston. Leaps and Bounds – formerly JMUpers – was operated by John Moores University, but through Stephanie’s tireless energy and fundraising all the money is now ploughed back into the club. Through her work it has kept its home at I M Marsh, part of the JMU campus, and she has expanded through word of mouth to run a happy, successful and well-loved club with at least 100 children on her books.

I know many of the parents are incredibly grateful for Stephanie’s friendly, relaxed approach, her dedication and above all affection for and understanding of the children at the club and the pressures faced by their families. For many the club is a lifeline where those with similar experiences, so it is not only a chance for the children to gain a huge amount from trampolining (Stephanie is doing an MA into the benefits of trampolining and exercise for autistic children), but it is also a chance for parents to get together. And trampolines aren’t the only activity on offer for the children. With the help of a dedicated team, Stephanie runs parties, trips out and all manner of fundraising activities which includes all children, no matter how severe their autism. In essence, the club has grown over the past few years from a trampolining club into so much more, and I can only be amazed at Stephanie’s endless energy and patience.

So please do pop over to the Leaps and Bounds Facebook page and give it a ‘like’, I know Steph would be really grateful. If ever an example is needed for the Big Society (remember that?) in action, then surely this is one of the best.

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