On 30 August it is National Paralympic Day and with this in mind we have chosen Ellie Simmonds as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.
Ellie is a British Paralympian swimmer who has achondroplasia dwarfism. She came to national attention when she competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13. In London 2012 she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, where she won another two golds setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle. In addition, she has won ten gold World Championship titles.
Ellie started swimming at the age of five and competed against able-bodied children at the age of eight. At ten years old, Ellie’s talent was spotted at a disability event and she was entered onto the British Swimming talent programme. She worked her way through to be selected as the youngest member of a senior British Swimming squad for the 2006 IPC World Championships at 12 years and three weeks.
Ellie swims in the S6 disability category. This category is for swimmers with short stature, amputations of both arms or moderate coordination problems on one side of their body.
In 2008 Ellie was voted BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and in 2009 she was awarded an MBE becoming the youngest person ever to do so. In the 2013 New Year Honours she was award an OBE for services to Paralympic Sport.
To find out more about Ellie and her achievements here http://www.elliesimmonds.com/
Laura Mothersole – Girlguiding UK
2014 is the centenary year for the Brownies and as July is ‘Make a Difference to Children’ month we have chosen a young local girl who has devoted her spare time to the Girlguiding movement as our Inspirational Diversity Champion
Laura first started as a Brownie and then became a Guide. When she became too old to be a Guide she decided she wanted to stay with Girlguiding and became a Young Leader. She did this for a number of years until she was old enough to train to be an Adult Leader. She now helps at four different Rainbow, Brownie and Guide units every week and attends activities with them at weekends.
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK it gives girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. It also builds girls’confidence and raises their aspirations and gives them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. Without the dedication of volunteers like Laura girls and young women would not be able to experience the many things that Brownies and Guides can give them. Laura often spends her own annual leave from work attending weekend events with her Guides and Brownies it could be anything, weekend camps, splash days at Danson Lake, Summer Fetes, trips to London or her most recent outing being the Brownie Day at Drusillas Animal Park in East Sussex where 1,500 Brownies and Leaders met to celebrate the Brownie Centenary.
You might think that this is all Laura does and she has no time for anything else. Well you’d be wrong! Like all busy people Laura seems to find time for other things as well, she loves her music and film and is a huge sports fan, having been a rugby player herself she is often to be found cheering on her beloved London Wasps RFC or watching England Rugby both the men and women! She recently has given her support to the England Women’s Football team and soon will be attending her first England Men and Women’s hockey internationals.
If you are interested in becoming a leader like Laura, check out the Girlguiding website at https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/home.aspx find out what it’s all about and may be get involved.
Helping people to grow older in a happy and healthy way is the subject of a major new research programme at the University of Greenwich.
In response to the challenges posed to society by rapid demographic change, in which the number of older people is increasing far more quickly than other sections of the population, the university is launching its Centre for Positive Ageing.
Researchers will investigate a variety of areas that affect older people – such as pain, falls, dementia and other long-term conditions, housing and access to technology – in order to help individuals live healthier and more fulfilling lives, supported by better health and social care services. More … http://www2.gre.ac.uk/research/news/articles/a2789-positive-ageing-research-centre-aims-to-set-national-agenda