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Olympic and Paralympic athletes visit Easter FUEL camps

Wiltshire Council's FUEL programme has formed a partnership with the British Olympic Foundation to deliver Olympic Sport taster sessions.

Published 14 April 2023

British Paralympic table tennis player, Will Bayley MBE was just one of several Olympic and Paralympic athletes who attended Wiltshire's Easter FUEL camps in Devizes and Chippenham this week to inspire and enhance the experience for the children attending.

Wiltshire Council's FUEL programme has formed a partnership with the British Olympic Foundation to deliver Olympic Sport taster sessions as part of the FUEL camps taking place during the Easter holidays.

Will Bayley won gold at the 2016 Summer Paralympic games and was World Champion in 2014. He also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2019.

FUEL participants were also joined by Paralympic athlete Chris Skelley MBE, who won gold at men's para judo at Tokyo 2020 and Wiltshire Olympians, high jumper Tom Gale who competed at Tokyo 2020 and freestyle skier Lloyd Wallace who competed at the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics.

Throughout the week athletes have attended Olympic days hosted at Calne, Devizes, Melksham and Chippenham FUEL camps. They joined participants in sporting sessions delivered by British Judo and Table Tennis England, sitting alongside participants whilst enjoying a healthy lunch and holding question and answer sessions with the children.

The FUEL camps, funded by the Department of Education, provide children with a nutritious lunch each day and the opportunity to take part in a range of practical, physical and hands on activities including robotics workshops, circus skills, sporting sessions, talent shows, and arts and crafts workshops.

There are ten FUEL camps running across the county during the Easter school holidays for children eligible for benefit related free school meals.

Also present were Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Lucy Townsend, Corporate Director for People and Helean Hughes, Director of Education and Skills.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Leisure, said: "The FUEL programme and our partnership with the British Olympic Foundation supports Wiltshire Council's aim of tackling inequalities and empowering people to live full, healthy, and enriched lives.

"This was a very exciting opportunity for children and young people to take part in and be inspired by Olympic and Paralympic sport."

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "I have been lucky enough to visit a FUEL camp and see the children having a fabulous time and being inspired by the athletes. The FUEL camps not only provide hot food, healthy eating advice and a range of activities, but also support the young people's overall wellbeing. The addition of Olympic Sport taster sessions at four of the camps will enhance the experience for the children attending even further."

Jamie Piggins, Olympic Relations Manager at Team GB, said: "The British Olympic Foundation is delighted to have partnered with Wiltshire Council's FUEL Programme to offer local children the chance to take part in and be inspired by Olympic sport. This partnership has allowed us to trial a new model of delivery, providing feedback and insight that will inform future programmes."

For more information about the Holiday Activity and Food Programme in Wiltshire, families can email fuelprogramme@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window).

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