Reach for the stars

By Trustee Gill Petty and rider Matthew Parker

We know that inclusion boosts morale, reduces depression and anxiety and creates feelings of value and happiness. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s not that easy for everyone to feel included.

Now as much as ever, my charity work needs me to include those most vulnerable.

I’m lucky, I have no disabilities, I’m safe and life is simple. But consider those living with disabilities now. The world can be tough for us all, and tougher than ever in COVID, especially if your disability means that communication is a daily frustration.

Many of the children who ride with Riding for the Disabled use Makaton to support their communication, and as a coach I use Makaton more and more in my interactions to make sure everyone can be included. I see the difference that clear communication makes to understanding and enjoyment, and involvement.

This is why we have created a video that everyone can understand, enjoy and sign/sing along to. Using Makaton sign language, and S-Club Sevens ‘Reach for the Stars’ we can ensure that everyone is involved by communicating to include all. And in times like these, who doesn’t want to reach for the stars!?

The video was edited by one of regular riders Matthew Parker. Here’s what he had to say about creating it:

“I really enjoyed making the Makaton video, it is definitely something I have not done before although I have done similar things at college. I only really had one problem and that was with my laptop not being happy with my editing programme! I already knew a lot about editing this kind of thing, but it was a nice challenge to be able to do it without the help from my college tutors. There is obviously (for me at least) parts that could be tweaked if I were to do it again. Editing and videography is a passion of mine and it was fantastic that I could use my skills and knowledge to create this masterpiece. It is something I would love to do again in the future.”

“I am currently shielding from coronavirus due to my underlying health problems and so it was fantastic to have a project which connected me to others and helped to relieve the mental anxiety of isolation in these scary times. I will always remember this time when I watch the video.”

“I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did making it.”

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