PROFESSIONAL athlete Ezekiel Ewulo is set to visit a school in Somerset to raise funds to build a swimming pool.

The Mendip School, who care for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN), is looking to build a pool so students don’t have to travel to go swimming.

Sports For Champions (SFC), organisers of the event, visit schools in the UK with their team of professional athletes to inspire children to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Parents, or friends of the school, are being asked to make a donation to fund the visit, as well as raise money for a swimming pool.

Somerset County Gazette:

VISION: The proposed plans for the swimming pool at The Mendip School

A spokesperson for The Mendip School said: “When the school was built there was not funding in place to include a pool.

“The school has now been running for five years and would like to increase the facilities available to students and the community. We are excited about sharing the plans with the community and the opportunities it could bring to the students.

“Swimming is the most popular sport in adults in the UK and evidence suggests a strong link between physical activity and the reduced risk of so called lifestyle diseases such as coronary heart disease and obesity, hypertension, cancer and osteoporosis as well as improved mental health.

“Those with learning disabilities are twice as likely to be obese and have, on average, a 17-year reduced life expectancy (Mencap). Sport England Active Lives surveys have shown that 43.1% of adults with learning disabilities are classed as inactive, compared to the national average of 25.2%.

“Evidence also suggest that mental health problems may be higher in people with a learning disability than in those without a learning disability.

“The pool aims to provide a solution to help towards some of these issues for students and the wider community.”

Somerset County Gazette:

PLANS: For the pool in Shepton Mallet

So, to help the Shepton Mallet school fundraise, SFC organised a visit with long jumper Mr Ewulo, which was set to take place on November 26.

Due to the lockdown, the visit will no longer take place in November, but will be rearranged for a later date.

During the visit, Mr Ewulo will tell his story and inspire pupils to lead healthier lifestyles. He will also offer a physical activity class, and a question and answer session.

“While we’re not all athletically inclined we strongly encourage participation, because all youth have talent and require inspiration to pursue their dreams - whatever they may be,” said a spokesperson for SFC.

“During the assembly, SFC athletes show medals and tell their story, hard work, lessons, and insights shared to capture the imagination of all and inspire healthier active lifestyles.

“Athletes discuss challenges on the road to success, with resilience, nutrition, diet, and dedication forming key topics. Fitness is essential for every young person’s general wellbeing in physical and mental health.

“It is also proven to be a strong booster of learning potential or brain power. By inspiring children as champions of tomorrow, SFC envision youth growing in all walks of life as healthy, [pro] active community-minded talents.”

Somerset County Gazette:

ATHLETE: Ezekiel Ewulo plans to visit the school

Mr Ewulo, who achieved his first gold medal in 2005, is excited to visit the school.

“I was always an athletic teenager, geared towards sports and fitness, but it was an accident when I ended up discovering an innate talent for the long jump,” he said.

“My first love had always been football, until I incurred an injury that took me away from the sport, and I took to the athletics track looking for a new passion to sink my teeth into.

“I was led through a variety of sports, until an instructor directed me to the long jump because of my height as I was almost six feet tall already! Immediately, I was enthralled with the sport, and my training schedule spiralled from there, and that took me into National Competitions.”

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