DISABILITY SPORT: SOME children do anything to get out of PE lessons at school, but for others, the opportunities to play sport don't exist.
One young woman hopes to change that. Dawn Tolcher has just been appointed Wirral Council's new disability sport development officer.
Dawn said: "My job is looking after the sports people with a disability within Wirral and supporting them to play sport.
"We're involved in the whole spectrum of disability: physical, learning, mental, emotional, behavioural."
The 23-year-old started in her new role last month, after working on a voluntary basis for a number of years.
A degree in sport recreation and psychology at Liverpool Hope University College led to a month's work experience with the disability team. She took up her new position after 10 months as Merseyside's netball development officer.
"We deal with all sorts of different problems," Dawn explained. "For example, I've just had a parent on the phone whose daughter is deaf and blind, but the school didn't have anyone to take her swimming, so her mum has been sitting on the side during school swimming lessons. Now we've matched her up with someone who can sit with her.
"Really we're here providing opportunities and guiding people. We run different events across the year. We've got a swimming gala coming up in the middle of November and over 100 children are involved with that.
"In the October half term we had a camp running across Wirral for different activities. Again, over 100 children were involved. The camp operated all over the place. On the Tuesday, we had archery in Woodchurch, then tennis in the tennis club," Dawn added. "We also had all sorts of sports clubs running at Bebington School."
Although Dawn deals with adults with disabilities, most of the work involves children.
"We have a mailing list which is a list of children with disabilities," she said.
"We try to encourage involvement by all children with disabilities, and we're especially keen to involve children that are in mainstream schools to make sure they're getting the support they need," she said. "Schools are very supportive, and they're really our key partner."
The post of disability awareness officer is part of the department of education and culture on Wirral Council. The role has been in place for six years, and Dawn is now keen to build awareness of the work they do.
"In the future, I want to be providing more opportunities, but also to keep building on the opportunities that are there. We need to support children through sport.
"We need to get building on what's there and keep developing it."