Claire & The Russell Family
15th November 2019

“Being active has always been second nature to me and my family. It’s been so important for all of our development.” Claire, a part-time hairdresser & full-time mum, does everything she can for her family to be active in their local community.

“I’ve not time for myself anymore, forever running around with my kids!” Claire admits she isn’t quite as active as she would like to be but feels that her dad’s passed the baton on and it’s her responsibility to ensure her family enjoy sport, as much as she did.

“My dad ran youth football over at Dulwich Park for years… that led to me being really sporty and being the only girl in the school team! It gave me confidence when I was growing up that went past sport, the boys in the team were my mates too and they stuck up for me in the classroom. Sport has helped my boys, Louis and Charlie, in that respect too.”

Louis and Charlie, who are both Community Club members, have Global Developmental Delay and Galasctosemia, which requires a special diet. Both have struggled with speech and language growing up.

Claire believes exposing the boys to physical activity and sport has been extremely beneficial, not just for health improvements but also social skills. “Children with my boys’ conditions are very shy, withdrawn and have little confidence, whereas mine are the complete opposite. Sport has given them a reason to mix with different types of people, and those skills picked up, transfer to other parts of life like when we go on holiday!”

It hasn’t always been easy for their family to be active though, but Claire definitely cites living in urban London as a major help.

“There are so many opportunities living in London. My boys are nervous wrecks around dogs, together with their disability, and that’s made finding suitable activities difficult. Living in London though has meant we’ve tried 5 or 6 local parks and found Norwood Park. My sister is always asking me to move to Kent – there are more animals in the countryside, there is no way we could!”

As well as attending Club Lambeth, Charlie and Louis attend their church’s youth centre, specialist swimming sessions (where Claire has become the 2nd teacher), youth clubs and after school sport. Claire also has Ollie-ray, aged 4 and is thankful for multi-purpose centres in London. “If I didn’t bring the twins to activities, I wouldn’t be their favourite person… that’s for sure! When i bring them to your club, I can take Ollie-ray to the ball pit too at Brixton Rec. I have to be with him, he’s got so much energy but that gives Charlie and Louis independence. They don’t always need me around.”

It’s clear being active in the community has helped Charlie and Louis’ development, whether that’s improving their confidence, learning to deal with anxiety or giving independence. However, we’d like to take a minute to thank Claire for her efforts as a super-mum – keep up the amazing work Claire!


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