Kevin Darke

Darke picks up award

Award for Foundation staff member.

The Foundation of Light’s Making Moves co-ordinator Kevin Darke is celebrating after picking up an award recognising his commitment to developing sporting opportunities for disabled youngsters across the region.

Kevin received the Contribution to Disability Award at the inaugural Sunderland Echo Sports Awards earlier this year for his efforts to expand inclusion through sport in the North East.

It’s fantastic to see the country get behind the Paralympics. The athletes competing will inspire future generations by showing what can be achieved through the power of sport while increasing awareness and changing attitudes towards disabilities

- Kevin Darke

Sponsored by EDF Energy, the ceremony took place at the Stadium of Light and honoured the very best sporting talents in Sunderland, their clubs and coaches.

On receiving the award, Kevin said: “It is fantastic and a great achievement for what we do at the Foundation of Light.

“We have a great time and try and promote as many opportunities as possible in a range of sporting activities for young people with a wide range of disabilities.

“It is something I have always had a passion for, inclusion in and through sports, and it has gone from there.”

Making Moves, the Foundation of Light’s disability coaching team, provides opportunities for youngsters and children with disabilities to take part in a wide variety of sports. 

Sessions can be focussed on delivery of coaching to disabled pupils, work with non disabled pupils to develop disability awareness or can be ran to teachers helping them understand how to include disabled pupils in non-disabled sessions.

Kevin added: “We run a range of activities from football specialist courses to multi-sport courses, inclusion programmes, disability awareness programmes, sign language, in-curriculum activities and more.

“In the past 12 months the Foundation has become the pilot club in the North of England for Down’s Syndrome coaching, which expands a substantial offering that includes in and after-school coaching, the Learning Difficulties League, Pan Disability weekend sessions and sign language coaching.”

Looking ahead, Kevin believes the UK hosting this summer’s Paralympic Games, expected to be the biggest and most high profile in the competition’s 52-year history, will break down barriers and help raise disability awareness.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see the country get behind the Paralympics. The athletes competing will inspire future generations by showing what can be achieved through the power of sport while increasing awareness and changing attitudes towards disabilities.

“With the Paralympics being so local it has given us a great opportunity to talk about disability in new ways, such as our disability awareness pilot where we used sport to educate non-disabled primary school children about challenges like visual and mobility impairments.

“We hope to build on that and expand our offering further to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to realise their true potential.”