Tuesday Club

Head Teacher Quote:

The Tuesday Club is a credit to the school and those who organise it. The commitment and dedication of the volunteers makes a tangible difference to the lives of those young people who attend. For many of them it is the highlight of their week.

Why did we start to run the club?

To fill a gap in provision for students with physical and mental disabilities that was identified in the Sports College Audit prior to the school achieving specialist status.

What was the starting point?

Following a series of meetings between the Lead Co-ordinator of the North Shields Disability Forum and the Director of Specialism at John Spence, the Tuesday Club was founded on 9th February 2002.

Members of the North Shields Disability Forum were contacted to inform them of this new club and student volunteers to assist at the club were identified within the school.

On the first evening 12 young people between the ages of 5 and 21, with a wide range of special needs attended the club supported by 12 volunteers from the John Spence student population.

Disabilities included: Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, Autism, Epilepsy, Communication Problems Spina Bifida and Moderate Learning Difficulties.

What are the aims of the club?

To provide young people with disabilities the opportunity to access sport in a friendly and caring environment.

History of the Club

In the early days things were very basic. Every Tuesday evening the Director of Specialism and his group of student volunteers would set up the schools only trampoline, get out a couple of basketballs, some cricket equipment, a football, a table tennis table and a TOPS bag. The youngsters and their carers would use the equipment supported by the volunteers. Normally for the final 30 minutes of the club everyone would come together for an adapted game of Rounders.

There was no funding attached to the club. The Sports College let the facilities free of charge and the participants paid no fees. Any little extras came from the student volunteers who organised bag packs, bicycle rides and non uniform days to raise money. This enables us to have annual Christmas parties for the club. Each student volunteer is allocated a sum of money to purchase a present for one of the club members. The volunteers organise food, music and games making the evening a night to remember for all concerned.

As time progressed, numbers increased and the club became more specialised and sophisticated in what it could offer.

With support from Northumberland FA. we were able to get a football coach for 12 weeks who did an excellent job. The club established its own football team “The Sharks” who have played several matches against clubs similar to ourselves in the Northumberland area. They have also participated in two tournaments organised by the Northumberland FA.

In October 2004 the school made a successful bid to the Big Lottery for a grant to build a Sports Hall. The Hall was opened in July 2005 and has been used since then as a base for the club. The extra space with wheelchair access, disabled toilets etc. has attracted new members and we now have 50+ students from all over North Tyneside and beyond on the register.

A further significant development in the clubs history has been created through the involvement of the local School Sports Partnership which now funds the use of the new facility as well as providing funding for the North Tyneside Disability Co-ordinator to attend the club on a weekly basis. Her involvement has helped develop the club for a wider audience.

A successful Barclays New Futures Bid in 04/05 helped us purchase 2 new trampolines for the club and 12 club members supported by 12 club leaders / carers attended a residential weekend at the Calvert Trust Centre, Low Crancleugh, Kielder in May 2005. Club members were able to experience abseiling, sailing for the first time in their lives.

Links with the North Tyneside Tennis partnership helped us bring in 2 tennis coaches for 10 weeks. The Sports College is now funding a trampoline / rebound coach for 2 hours every Tuesday evening. Representatives from the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership have recently visited the club and are planning to provide some badminton coaching in the near future.

What has been the impact and achievements to date?

1. Impact on the young people

Parental responses to Tuesday Club Questionnaire

Impact of the club on developing

Made a significant difference

Made some difference

Made no difference





Social skills




Motivation to participate in sport.








Physical skills




Parental respite












Comments from parents relating to the young people

“We have noticed a great difference in the overall fitness of Christopher”

“The club has helped Melissa to lose a lot of weight over the last 6 months”

“Appears more comfortable talking to unknown adults and peers”

“The club has made Andrew more understanding about other peoples’ disabilities. It also tires him out”

“Andrew’s confidence has grown as has his ability to communicate”

“Amazed the club is free considering the venue, apparatus and specialised help that is there”

“Both boys are overweight and it’s impossible to let them play out so fun exercise is very useful”

“Having the opportunity to meet socially with other school friends makes a lot of difference to the children”

“The club gives her something to look forward to”

“Hayley now listens to the coaches eg. time to get off the trampoline. She has learned how to take turns”

“I like the fact that Andrew takes part in organised games / activities and that he is mixing with mainstream students as this companionship is now lacking. He cannot wait for Tuesdays to go to his club”

Young people responses to Tuesday Club Questionnaire

Do you like attending the club?

100% Yes

Favourite activities?

  1. Trampolining
  2. Football
  3. Tennis

What do you enjoy most?

“Meeting new friends”
“Making friends and taking part in sports”
“Bobby he’s a good man”
“Seeing Carl” (he’s one of the original leaders)

Is there anything you don’t enjoy?

100% No

How do you rate the Tuesday Club

Great - 60%
OK - 40%
Not so Good - 0%

2. Impact on the student volunteers

Student Volunteer responses to Tuesday Club questionnaire

Impact of the Tuesday club in developing:



Self confidence



Social skills (getting on with others / working as part of a team)



Raising awareness of others needs



Communication skills



Feel good – about yourself



Desire to work with special needs children



Comments from student volunteers

“I find it easier to approach new people and converse with them”

“It has helped me listen more to others and to make myself be heard”

“It has helped me gain confidence as a person and has helped me understand how other people interact with one another”

“Helping at the club has raised my awareness and helped me gain confidence. I intend to work with special needs children in the future”


Of the 12 original student volunteers 4 went on to gain the Princess Diana Memorial Award for their work at the club, whilst another won the North Tyneside Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2004.

In 2007 9 members of the school population gained the Princess Diana Memorial Award for their work at the club.

From 2002-2007 30+ different volunteers gained their Millennium Volunteers Award for the work they did at the club and beyond.

As the reputation of the club has developed over the years we now attract leaders from several schools throughout the area.

One of the most significant aspects of the club is the wonderful atmosphere and the sincerity of the friendships that have grown between the young people and the student volunteers. 3 student volunteers give up their own time at weekends and in holidays to take their friend from the club out socially to the shops, local sports centre or just for a walk.

In May 06 the club was voted the North Tyneside Club of the Year for Inclusion.

Recent Developments

The club now uses the full Sports Hall (x2 full size Basketball courts) from 5.00pm-7.00pm every Tuesday evening.

As well as the recreational sports opportunities some club members now compete in both local and regional competitions in Athletics, Gymnastics and Trampoline.

Support from our school sports partnership has enabled us to fund the services of a sport specific coach in each of these activities. Numbers have increased significantly as more and more families bring their youngsters to the club.

More recently successful bids to Awards for All, the Lord Mayor’s Fund and the Norwich Union “Join our Team Initiative have secured the club’s future for the foreseeable future.

Since moving into the new Sports Hall and developing a partnership approach with the SSP, North Tyneside Tennis, North Tyneside Badminton and the Northumberland FA. the club is now on a much firmer footing.

The employment of the North Tyneside Disability Co-ordinator on Tuesday evenings ensures standards continue to rise.