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Latest news and events

Olivia, a KEEN London coach who is running the London Marathon in 2017A MARATHON EFFORT
Olivia's 26 miles ahead

If you’d like to support a superhuman effort - and raise funds for KEEN — Coach Olivia Rudgard will be running the London Marathon in April. Olivia is a familiar KEEN face: she’s been a coach for over a year and has volunteered in all three centres. This will be her first ever marathon, so why not give her training a boost by sponsoring her here.

FANTASTIC FUNDRAISING
More great support

At KEEN London, we are very fortunate to have corporate partners who support our work with great enthusiasm and commitment.

Tideway logoOur great friends and supporters at Tideway, presented Trustee Patrick with a HUGE cheque at their Christmas Fayre. Tideway staff had raised over £4800 through a variety of events and initiatives. Julia Fitzgerald, Chair of Tideway's Charity Committee, said: "We are delighted to continue supporting the hugely important work KEEN London does. As well as continuing to provide volunteer support at KEEN events, our team is delighted to have been able to raise this money for such a worthy cause.”

cheque presentation by Tideway

Sarasin & PartnersEnormous thanks are also due to Sarasin & Partners. They held a Christmas Jumper Day, which brought their total fundraising efforts for the year to over £20,000.

At the end of the year, we also received generous grants of £5000 from the Artemis Charitable Foundation and £2500 from the Worshipful Company of Pewterers. These awards will go a long way towards ensuring our unique, free service is available to over 115 families with additional needs in

VOTE FOR US IN THE AVIVA COMMUNITY FUND

Aviva Community FundPlease take a couple of minutes to register and vote for KEEN London in the Aviva Community Fund. We want to take a group of athletes to the Norfolk coast at Easter. For many it will be the first time they’ve stayed away from home and they’ll have the chance to enjoy a host of outdoor activities and create some really special memories.

You can register and vote here: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-2105 Everyone who registers receives 10 votes, so please support us!

WE'VE JOINED THE BEYONDME PORTFOLIO

BeyondMeBeyondMe is an innovative movement matching professionals with charities to help create a better world. We’re hoping to work with a BeyondMe team to help recruit many more volunteers to deliver our unique service. Find out more here: https://beyondme.org/projects/view/building-an-active-pool-of-volunteers/

SUPER STUBBERS!
Another successful Summer residential

This year’s Summer residential had a new venue – Stubbers Adventure Centre in Essex – and more laughs, excitement and new experiences than ever before.  North London Co-ordinator, Andy Whitby gave us the lowdown.

“We arrived at Stubbers on Friday evening full of excitement! With our own catering as well as garden to run off steam, we soon settled into Maple Lodge, our accommodation for the weekend. After a big meal we burned off our excitement with a bonfire, marshmallows and camp songs, including KEEN favourite, the Moose Song.

“Saturday morning saw us split into our four teams for the activities: Kingfisher, Eagle, Emu and Nightingale (spelling KEEN!). We all raced about, completing our first four big activities, including: climbing, sailing, orienteering, a team challenge, bell boating, inflatable sofa and – would you believe? – DRIVING!

“By the evening we were all exhausted, after some down time we went for our ‘night walk.’ We were so tired we were all tucked up before the stars came out, although we were treated to a spectacular sunset from the top of the hill.

“On Sunday all teams completed their three remaining big activities. The serenity of sailing was idyllic, and so many athletes wowed audiences with phenomenal performances on the climbing wall. There was no doubt, though, about the two favourite activities of the weekend: the inflatable sofa and 4x4 jeep driving! ‘It’s the best day of my life,’ said one athlete – and many more agreed.

“It was a joy to observe the bravery and the excitement of the athletes over an action-packed weekend. Of course, an enormous thank you to our volunteer coaches for making the whole weekend possible”.

Keen Summer residential 2016
     
Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016
     
Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016
     
Keen South London Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016
     
Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016 Keen Summer residential 2016

AHOY, LONDON!
Athletes take to the Thames

Tideway logoThe second highlight of the Summer was a boat trip on the Thames, supported by our good friends at Tideway. Tideway employees raised funds to give a terrific day out to a group of nine athletes, and joined us as coaches on the day. We started with a trip down the river on a Thames Clipper before taking to the air on the Emirates AirLine and finishing up with some time on the beach at Royal Docks.

Tideway volunteer Emily McKenna said: “It was a really enjoyable day and was so rewarding to see the children enjoying the sunshine and having fun. I will definitely help out with more KEEN events in the future.”

Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing
     
Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing
     
Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing
     
Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing Keen Summer 2016 Tideway outing

FANTASTIC FUNDRAISING
Summer fun and sports galore

Sarasin & Partners logoOur great friends at Sarasin & Partners have made a huge difference to our work with some amazing fundraising efforts. Partner Mark Fairbanks Smith completed the 80 mile Hadrian’s Wall Challenge, raising £2,792 and another £2,200 was raised at the firm’s charity golf day. And their Summer party proved to be an amazing evening all round, raising over £9,300. 

Lucy Walker from Sarasin & Partners told us, “Staff voted to support KEEN in December, after seeing how they transform the lives of young people and their families. We are delighted to have already beaten our 2016 fundraising target, but are not sitting on our laurels – our next event is later this month, in conjunction with the City Giving Day, where we are cycling the 240 miles to Paris, and also hosting a bake sale! We look forward to supporting KEEN in the years to come.”

A huge thank you to everyone at Sarasin from the entire KEEN London family.

NEW FRIENDS FOR A NEW YEAR
Three great new corporate partners

We are thrilled to announce three new corporate partners who will be supporting KEEN in 2016 and beyond.  A very warm welcome to The Chaucer Foundation, Tideway and Sarasin & Partners LLP.   

The Chaucer Foundation is the charitable foundation of Chaucer Syndicates, a leading Lloyds insurer and reinsurer. The foundation is dedicated to supporting local projects, particularly those which help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their full potential. KEEN London will benefit from an annual grant for the next three years and we hope to also welcome Chaucer employees as volunteers.

Tideway is the company behind the Thames Tideway Tunnel — a major new sewer, urgently needed to protect the tidal River Thames from pollution. The 25km ‘super sewer’, from west to east London, will help protect the river from the millions of tonnes of sewage that pour into it every year from the city’s Victorian sewers. This exciting development for the capital is a great fit for KEEN, as we also grow in the next few years, and we’re looking forward to working with Tideway and their partners as they fundraise and volunteer.

Sarasin & Partners LLP, the asset management group based in the City, will also be fundraising for KEEN throughout 2016 and we are very much looking forward to also providing their employees with opportunities to volunteer at weekend and holiday sessions.

A very warm welcome to the KEEN London family to all our new friends. We can’t wait to work with you and grow together!

The Chaucer Foundation Sarasin & Partners Tideway

SOUTH LONDON, HERE WE COME!
More big news for 2016

As well as welcoming new supporters, new coaches and — of course — new athletes, this year will also see a huge new development for KEEN. For the first time, we will be offering sessions south of the river.  The sessions will begin in the Summer term and will be held on Saturdays at the Lilian Baylis School in Lambeth. 

Nicole Curtin, our Senior Co-ordinator says, “We have known for a long time that there is a demand for KEEN’s unique service in South London so we’re delighted to be heading to Lambeth. We can’t wait to make new friends and welcome many new members to the KEEN London family”.

If you know any families who would benefit from attending KEEN sessions, or anyone who would be interested in joining as a coach, please contact nicole@keenlondon.org

We’ll let you know all the finalised details about this new milestone in our next newsletter.


Lilian Bayliss Technology School

WATCH OUR NEW KEEN LONDON VIDEO!

MAGICAL TIMES AT MEDINA VALLEY

Our second annual Easter trip to the Isle of Wight was a whirlwind of wildlife and wild outdoor adventures. This was a first-time residential for most of the athletes, and for some it was their first trip away from home. Coach Kamal sent us this report:

Friday:
The journey for the highly anticipated Isle of Wight residential began with a quick vote on the films to watch en route to Portsmouth. The Lego Movie & Paddington were the selected films and ‘thanks’ to some Good Friday traffic, we were able to watch them both! After crossing over to the Isle of Wight via ferry, we arrived at the Medina Valley Centre and were warmly welcomed by some familiar faces.

After a quick briefing by the Medina Valley Centre team, dinner was scheduled a little earlier which was welcome news after the long journey down. Due to the weather, the re energised Keen athletes engaged in some creative indoor activities which included arts & crafts, pool and some intense table football games! These were all of course accompanied by giant connect four games, dominoes and the odd chess game. To bring it all together we were treated to some delightful piano music which was played by the athletes and by some of our talented coaches.

After quite a productive evening, the athletes had created some beautiful Easter cards which were designed with some colourful Easter eggs and drawings with heartfelt messages inside for their loved ones back home. The creativity didn't stop there as colourful items of jewellery ranging from necklaces to bracelets were also produced by Keen’s finest!

Saturday:
Everyone was up early and ready for a packed day of activities which began with a trip to the research and field study centre. The athletes were shown the various types of wildlife around the centre which included all sorts of marine life.

Canoeing & sailing were next, with the athletes being split into two groups as they ventured onto the Medina estuary! Thanks to the team at the Medina Valley Centre, all of the athletes had a great time on the water as they were all smiles and no one had fallen in (coaches included!).

After lunch we marched towards the woods for the shelter building challenge! After some much needed advice and tips from the experienced Medina Valley team, we split up into teams in order to compete for the best shelter in the woods. These shelters of course needed to be practical for a night’s stay and also needed each team to produce some sort of entertainment to share with the group, be it a song or story. After the shelters were made, the proud teams had a photo taken inside each of their respective shelters with no clear winner at the end! As we sat around as a group, each team took it in turns to entertain. This included a gorilla song which involved the whole group and one unfortunate athlete /coach who ends up with the gorilla’s snot!! A rap song composed by the artist formerly known as J.O.E and thanks to a creative genius, a limbo club!! Athletes and coaches were lining up to have a go at a make shift limbo line which was tied in between two trees! Our athletes also came across a bee fly which was quite a sight as we were educated about them by the knowledgeable Medina Valley team.

After returning to the centre before we started the last activity before dinner, it was time to mark the special day as it was Alicia’s 13th birthday!!! Ella kindly gave Alicia her birthday present and card as we sang her a big happy birthday J

The next activity was falconry which was amazing as we got to see the ‘Harry Potter’ owl amongst many impressive birds that graced us with their presence. From lying down and having the birds fly right over us, to a brave coach holding his hands directly above his head as a hoop for a large bird to fly through, it was quite a show!

After completing the main course of dinner, the kind team at Medina Valley brought out a massive cake which they had made just for Alicia's birthday! We all sang and wished her a very happy birthday and enjoyed the cake very much.

The last activity of the day saw us return to the woods where we had previously built the shelters for a camp fire. The setting presented an opportunity for our athletes to share some scary stories with us as we trembled under the night sky.. Thankfully to overcome any residual fear, we were treated to marshmallows to toast and a good ol’ sing song courtesy of the Medina Valley resident singer/musician Dan. Before we left the camp fire our athletes and coaches ended the night with the popular ‘Moose song’ that was sung last year!

Sunday:
The last day meant getting those last games of table football, pool, dominoes and giant connect four in however as it was Easter Sunday, an Easter egg hunt had been set up. With some 40+ eggs hidden around the centre, our athletes were busy scurrying around and tracking those eggs and in no time at all had found all of them! After the hunt had concluded what better way was there to celebrate than to do a big hokey cokey!!!

The last activity was orienteering and we were told that it was a brand new course that had been laid out for the first time. This involved finding 20 flags which were deliberately laid out across the various types of terrain near the woodland. New course or not, team Jurhani had found all of the 20 flags in just eleven minutes!! This had set the time to beat for the new course as the Medina Valley team were very impressed by the effort.

After packing and waving goodbye to our lovely hosts we made our way back to London, via quite a nice route through Westminster. Much like the popular song from the Lego Movie, everything had indeed been awesome!

Medina Valley Medina Valley Medina Valley
     
Medina Valley Medina Valley Medina Valley
     
Medina Valley Medina Valley Medina Valley
     
Medina Valley Medina Valley Medina Valley

777 RUNNERS VISIT KEEN

The amazing and intrepid 777 runners paid a very special visit to our Sunday morning North London session on 26 April. They brought with them an enormous cheque for £80,000 - the amount they raised for KEEN by completing 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents.

SEVEN MARATHONS, SEVEN CONTINENTS, SEVEN DAYS – MORE MADCAP ADVENTURERS SUPPORTING KEEN LONDON!

777 Marathon Challenge2015 will kick off with the most adventurous and exciting fundraising challenge in the history of KEEN London. We’re thrilled to have been selected as the UK charity beneficiary for the 1Above 777 Marathon Challenge. Six friends will be running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. The challenge will start in King George Island in Antarctica on 19 January. The team will fly to South America (Punta Arenas), North America (Houston), Europe (London), Africa (Cairo) and Asia (Singapore) before their final run in Sydney on 25th January.

It’s an epic journey of 43,500km, 52 flying hours and 295km running distance. The team are being generously supported by 1Above energy drinks and the Travel Channel and we can’t wait to follow their progress.

Look out for updates on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also like to gather a crowd to support and run with them in Hyde Park on 22 January 2015, depending on how energetic you feel, details of the route below – you can donate here. They’ll certainly deserve our cheers!

Date: Thursday 22nd January
Start time: 11am-ish (but they're hoping to be at the start from around 10.30)
Place: Albert Memorial, Hyde Park

Details of the route:

  • START outside the Albert Memorial in Hyde park. There should be a bunch of us there so should be obvious. We aim to start around 11am (we land at 9:40am) so perhaps get there from 10:30 to be safe?
  • 4 Laps clockwise of Hyde Park.
  • On 5th lap we head east at Hyde Park Corner down Constitution Hill towards the river through Trafalgar Square / Nelson's Column and along The Strand.
  • We come back along the Victoria Embankment until we hit Big Ben.
  • Chuck a right back along the finishing section of the London Marathon down to the end of Birdcage Walk.
  • Turn into St James' Park for 4 laps around the lake.
  • On the 5th lap we peel off half way round to finish along The Mall at Buckingham Palace.

You'll find a map here.

THE TANDAM TEAM SESSION AT KEEN

Tandem Boys – London to Amsterdam – 26 September 2014We were delighted to welcome the Tandam 2014 team to our North London session on Sunday 30 November. The team rode their six-man tandem from London to Amsterdam in September and raised over £16,000 for KEEN. It was amazing to see the bike – a real feat of engineering which is over five metres long and weighs over 500kg. Once the team had reacquainted themselves with the necessary skills to ride the bike, some of our athletes and coaches were able to try it for themselves. They soon realised just how much of a feat riding it al the way to Amsterdam must have been – especially turning corners!

Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau, who was one of the team, said "The bike wasn’t easy to master but we were determined to complete the challenge and raise as much money as we could for such a great cause."

The Ham & High article:

Ham & High article on the Tandam session

Many thanks to the Tandam team for all the efforts and for making Sunday's session so memorable. See the gallery and more on twitter...

EAST LONDON COACHES WIN AT THE TEAM LONDON AWARDS
Our East London coaches are Team London Awards Winners! They picked up the Team of the Year Award in the Sports & Healthy Living Category at City Hall. The Awards, presented by Mayor Boris Johnson, celebrate the outstanding contribution made by Londoners to the city’s Olympic volunteering legacy. The East London team was represented at the Awards by coaches Danni and Tee, and Co-ordinator Nicole. They were presented with their award by Paralympian, and 7/7 survivor, Martine Wright.

Our new base in East London has been an amazing success,. From a standing start less than a year ago, Nicole and the team were welcoming 19 athletes by the end of the Summer term. We're sure there will be many more new athletes and coaches this term and can't wait to meet them all!

KEEN East London coaches win Team London Award
     
KEEN East London coaches win Team London Award KEEN East London coaches win Team London Award KEEN East London coaches win Team London Award

ONE HOME-MADE BIKE. SIX SEATS. 12 MEN. 36 HOURS. LONDON TO AMSTERDAM. ALL TO RAISE FUNDS FOR KEEN LONDON!
This must be the wackiest fundraiser we've ever seen! A six-man tandem will be setting off from Buckingham Palace at dawn on 26 September and heading for the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The bike is a one-of-a-kind engineering marvel and and the 12 pedallers will be donating all the money they raise to KEEN. We are immensely grateful to the guys for their tremendous efforts in making this challenge happen. And also to the behind-the-scenes brains who not only came up with the idea but are also making it happen.

Read all about it and please support and share their wheely great efforts. Thanks guys!!

See the interview with Tom Pellereau in the Herts Advertiser...


Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJFabulous fundraising absail by our friends at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, September 2014
Our fabulous supporters at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ reached new heights in their fundraising efforts today. 47 members of staff abseiled from the 16th floor of their building in the City of London - a drop of over 71 metres!

Getting into the "jumping off a building" theme, Super Mario was joined by Bat Girl, some Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and more than one Batman!

Many, many thanks to everyone who took part, and everyone who sponsored and cheered them on! The money you've raised will make a huge difference to our athletes and their families.

See photos on facebook...


Medina Valley Centre 2014KEEN visits Medina Valley Centre, Easter 2014
Following the amazing success of our Summer residential trips, we're heading further afield with an Easter TEEN KEEN trip to the Isle of Wight. A party of 30, including 12 athletes, hopped on the ferry and headed to the beautiful Medina Valley Centre. Here's what they got up to...

Friday:
Andrew was full of knowledge from the moment we went onto the ferry, about the how the salt condenses the water as the ferry drives forward to the different types of seagull that were flying past the window.
At the centre between activities Tobi played some nice piano music while games of giant connect four, chess and table football were being played by Ernie, Valentino, Jurhani, Pelumi & Mayowa.
The night hike gave Andrew and opportunity to use his bird calls in order to attract any birds, namely cuckoo's.

Saturday:
Shelter building in the woods was quite a success with Jurhani, Valetino, Andrew in my team and contributing to what was a high but spacious shelter! Valentino then sang the old school batman song which resulted in our team in shouting 'BATMAN!!' which entertained us in a technology free (TV) environment. Jurhani sang the 'Happy' song from Despicable Me 2 and then treated us to two hip hop songs that he had written himself!
We then sat as a group and were entertained by each group's form of entertainment which came in the form of an excellent and very catchy song by Rose and Julie-Ann 'There was a moose!' and Julie-Ann's song 'Ukulele'. These songs were accompanied by stories from Valentino and Rebecca.

The next activities involved canoeing and outdoor team building events. Both were thoroughly enjoyable with the weather being nice and sunny too.

We were then treated to falconry where we saw some extravagant birds including owls and even a vulture! The athletes were given an opportunity to hold the birds and see them up close.

After dinner we returned to the woods and sat around a lovely campfire where we played chinese whispers and then sang some more songs and told more stories. Ernie came up with a cracker and surprised everyone in more ways than one when he announced that would sing a 'parody' no less of the 'Ukulele' song that was sung by Julie-Ann earlier in the day. Not only was it a great rendition of the song including dance moves, but it was actually a parody!! Shanice then told everyone a funny story which involved her bumping her head many times which was then followed by a scary story which was told by Jurhani. In between Rebecca had shared a short story as well.

Sunday:
Things looked rather wet outside however that didn't dampen anyone’s spirits (no pun intended). Orienteering was the name of the game and after we'd all dressed ourselves appropriately with the finest waterproof gear that the Medina Centre had to offer, we walked back into familiar territory past the woods and onto some open land. After a short brief we all split up into groups in search of the 20 flags which were deliberately laid out by navigating our way around various types of terrain by using the maps that were given to us. Jurhani, Pelumi and Mayowa were the victors as they were the first to successfully find all 20 points in no time at all.

Thanks for the write up Kamal.

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


Christmas Party 2012KEEN London Christmas Party, 8 December 2013
An awesome day with over 160 athletes, friends, coaches, brothers and sisters, grandparents and uncles and aunts having a great time with KEEN's Got Talent, a magic show, bouncy castles, yummy food and cake, Santa, pressies and laughter all round...Our performers included a great dance routine by Ellemae followed by awesome solo singing from Judith, Shanice, Nathan A, Hamilton, Ernie, Gabriel Meth and superb bongo playing from Felix and Gopal.
Mr Ree entertained us with some clever magic, while DJ Keith 'Smiley' played great tunes throughout the afternoon.

A special thanks to all of the wonderful support from you our volunteers and to Patrick, Nicole C, Karen, Jill Robinson, Lindsay, Eleanor, Aaron, Jack J, Rebecca, Emma B, Mihaela, Bethany S, Claire R and Camilla for the fantastic 'behind the scenes' set-up work before and during the party.Your assistance ensured that the catering and entertainment was well received by everyone who attended!

A very special thank you too to Ankit and the Augentius team who supported the Christmas party and made it such a success by coming along and lending great support to our athletes; it was very much appeciated by all of the KEEN family.

Finally, we hope that you all have a safe and happy Christmas, we look forward to a great New Year in 2014.

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


East London Begins!!

A new KEEN venture for the first time in London for well over 12 years brought much excitement... our first East London session! Lots of home visits and work behind the scenes by many people ensured that our first session in East London ran as if the operation had been going for years. Many thanks to our trustees and local Councillor Michael Desmond for coming to our opening and as always, to our great coaches who made sure that what we offer is as good as ever. There were lots of really happy children engaging superbly with our experienced session leader Kaush, and many other regular coaches from Tufnell Park. We are already involved with 15 families in East London and we are aiming to increase our capacity upward in the coming months. A resounding success so far!

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


Alexandra Palace the people's palaceAlexandra Palace October 2013

Another fantastic trip with 22 athletes and over 30 enthusiastic and willing volunteers at this lovely venue; great skating from Manolis, Shine, Sam B (welcome back!), Adam V, Elias, Andrew K, John, Tony and Julie-Ann Tyler, Gabriel Meth, Jermaine, Aaron K and many others.  Many of our youngsters can skate unaided, have improved each time they come and find it difficult to leave when the time is up. Our athletes love this activity and to see such levels of confidence and levels of ability is most encouraging and a real testament to our youngsters and their levels of determination!

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


Blue Sky October

Another blue sky day allowed for lots of outdoor fun. A big thanks to all the enthusiastic coaching in the variety of activities on offer, ribbon twirling, cycling, obstacle courses, scooters, all the favourites (dodge ball, what's the time, Grandmothers footsteps.), space hopping, basketball, cricket and football.

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


KEEN London does Bollywood and other fun 

Another fun-filled day saw us welcome the 'Dance for Good' Bollywood troupe to our morning session, thanks a bunch for organising that for us, Chandhni!! 

Stand out athletes today were Felix, Gopal, Iulen, Ellemae, Alexander and Hamilton who all made a special effort to become involved with the dancing and other group activities. Lots of different types of fun and a steady increase in athlete participation is wholly down to the awesome support and enthusiasm from our 65+ volunteers!! KEEN just couldn't operate without you all, THANK YOU!!

See photos on facebook...


KEEN London in Baby London feature

Baby London magazine coverKEEN London is the subject of a three page feature in the Autumn issue of Baby London magazine.

It's available in newsagents now.

Baby London spread


Hindleap Warren Residential August 2013

Certainly the highlight of the year, our residential surpassed last year for fun and laughter and sheer quality in every respect. A party of 58 with 17 athletes, 38 volunteers and 3 parents; orienteering, archery, climbing, pond dipping, ropes course, swimming, obstacle courses, Irish and Scottish dancing, drama, sport and untold LAUGHTER were on offer throughout the weekend… A particular mention must go to our athletes for their willingness to travel out of their comfort zones and try pursuits that at times were very challenging ...Andrew G demonstrated once again why his knowledge of creatures is so impressive, Amy spent much of the weekend laughing and had a great evening on Saturday in her new dress, her confidence on the climbing wall too, she was up there 5 or 6 times and made it look so easy – well done! Andrew Kay made orienteering and climbing look easy and even beat one of the instructors! Joe J had a highly successful weekend and in particular loved being in the pool. Valentino, Ed K, Rebecca and John Jo were particularly kind to others throughout the trip, and this was commented on by quite a few coaches. One of the stars of the weekend, Ella, was happy and joyful in everything that she tried and she constantly had a smile on her face, no matter how muddy she got, great behaviour too, Ella, awesome!!

Ernie, Andrew G and Valentino for excellent team work on the orienteering task. If it wasn't for their amazing map reading skills we would have probably got lost. They never lost focus; they had their eyes on the prize!!! Ernie demonstrated his water skills superbly and perhaps should be re-named 'Bob'! Sasha, Yasmin and Shanice showed much character and spirit, Sasha demonstrating her happiness with a constant smile…Yasmin beaming after her pamper night and hearing her laugh out loud is a joy to behold!! Shanice also looked after Abigail particularly well over the weekend. Gabriel, Manolis and Jonathan K were excellent at taking part in new activities, and all the smiles demonstrated that they were achieving lots in completely new areas of adventure. Our star athlete Felix (otherwise known as Hercules), excelled in everything that he did; swimming, ropes course, archery and climbing, well done Felix!!

A big, big thank you to all 58 of you who came and provided everyone with such a memorable and fun time and to our fantastic volunteers who, provided such great care and fun for our athletes from start to finish…roll on next year, it can’t come soon enough!!

See photos from the gallery… and more photos on facebook...


Thames Valley Adventure ParkSummer Picnic
Thames Valley Adventure Playground July 2013

A beautifully sunny day, our buses turned up on time and we were away...two very helpful senior coaches Daniel and Karen ensured that athletes and families arrived safely by mid-day in this place of immense fun. Highlights of the day were the water jet guns (ask Daniel our senior coach and ‘head of security’), the glorious sunshine, the awesome sensory rooms, arts and crafts creations, 2, 3 and 4 wheel bikes, go-karts, golf, dressing up costumes and of course the food, glorious food!! Ellemae, Sasha and Elias were over the moon with excitement, Jermaine and his sisters had a very civilised picnic, Pardis and Ernie were in heaven on the multitude of different bikes and lots of parents had a lovely, relaxing day and as always, our volunteers step up to the mark in providing such awesome mentoring support and respite for families.
A MASSIVE THANK YOU to all the volunteers and family members who made this such a great success. It’s easy to see why this event is always a huge favourite for all members of our athlete’s families and why we will keep returning to this fantastic venue year after year!!.

See photos on facebook...


Kids count logoKEEN London, House of Commons Kids Count awards,
June 2013

Once again, our volunteers and athletes were rewarded with a special commendation for their outstanding contribution to the community. We were presented with our award by James Brokenshire MP and the event was hosted by Nick Evans MP, Deputy Speaker of the House. KEEN London stalwarts and senior volunteers Karen and Daniel were joined by Sasha and Andrew G, along with Renata, our chairman of trustees Alan and coordinator Scott at a lovely evening on the Thames...everyone had a great time and we were very proud to win another award (our 3rd award in 12 months for contribution to the community).

kidscount awards 2013 kidscount awards 2013 kidscount awards 2013

See photos from the gallery and more photos on facebook...


Bikes and scooters at KEEN London, June 2013

The bikes and scooters came out today for our very first session on two wheels. WOW, what a success. Ed Morris, Aaron, Manolis, Elias and Mia were notable participants and children who sometimes find accessing activities difficult. We will be bringing these activities to sessions more often and the fact that almost every athlete had a go was a real credit to them and their fortitude. Brett England was a great bike rider helping many athletes and also being very generous with sharing, Joe Davies and Ed Morris both rode a bike for the very first time. Shine, Nathan, Joe Jenkins, Adam Viner and Mia all had great fun on the scooters as you'll see in the photos.

See photos on facebook...


swiss cottage leisure centre logo

Swimming at Swiss Cottage Pool, June 2013

Another successful trip witnessed 24 athletes and 20 coaches venture to the mightily impressive Swiss Cottage Leisure complex.  Nathan D and Daniel H demonstrated much enthusiasm and so much movement…they’d certainly have slept well that evening!  Yasmin and Sasha had lots of fun judging by their smiles while they continued to soak both pool and poolside coaches, much to their bemusement!  Shine, Aaron and Manolis were in their element too and we were particularly impressed by the amount of lengths that athletes completed throughout the two sessions.


The Pirate CastleCanoeing/Canal Boat trip, May 2013, Pirate Castle, Camden

We had another very enjoyable day on the canal at Pirate Castle in Camden. After a thorough safety briefing, everyone got the their life-jackets on and hopped on board, either in canoes or on the canal boat. For some athletes, this was their first ever time afloat and most of them took to it like the proverbial ducks to water!

A lovely day weather wise, KEEN London decamped to our favourite Canoeing and Canal Boat venue, the Pirate Castle in Camden.  Nathan C, Joe D, Jermaine, Ernie, Manolis and Yasmin all showed great confidence and no small amount of skill in paddling and steering their boats through the canal in Camden and the Regents Park area of London.  Shine captained his boat particularly well where they narrowly (by only about 1 metre) beat the larger crewed boat... Other athletes enjoyed the Canal Boat trips where they travelled to Little Venice out west passed Paddington with Jessica, Daniel H and Andrew K becoming very excited with the many sights’ along the way. Many played ‘Eye-Spy’ and enjoyed waving to random members of the public- we’ll certainly be coming back again next year!!

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers for putting up with being splashed (Nathan + Yasmin), the chaotic scenes while we were setting-up and generally mucking in and making the day a huge success as you always do!

See photos on facebook...


London Sea Life Aquarium logoUnderwater Adventures – London Sea Life Aquarium,
— March 2013

St Patrick's Day brought with it Irelands best known export...yes, rain!! What better reason than to go visit some 'wet friends' at London's premier aquarium. Nathan D had a ball and this year took his time to walk through patiently with mum and look at each of the tanks slowly, excellent effort!, Sasha said hello to the rays at the tactile pool area, Manolis loved the sharks and sat down next to their tank for about 15 minutes, Valentino touched the starfish, Shine got up close to the penguins and James WA received a conservation medal for supporting a sustainable fishing programme. Andrew Goldsmith was in his element as he was regularly seen teaching other athletes and coaches facts about many of the creatures in the tanks...certainly the brains of KEEN London!! Thank you to Daniel Maine and Karen Coulton for standing in the rain and ensuring that things ran smoothly and to everyone else who came for ensuring our athletes stayed safe and had great fun!

See photos on facebook...


Castle ClimbingTEEN KEEN January-August 2013
Our 3rd TEEN KEEN event of the term was at the Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington.... regulars Elias and Aimes climbed with much aplomb while the confidence of new climbers Yasmin and Nathan C grew with each foothold they took... TEEN KEEN is becoming an integral part of what we offer with events running most weeks (usually Tuesday or Wednesday early evening and we regularly go bowling, see a movie, go ice skating, climbing and swimming at the Archway Pool too!

Regulars Elias 10 Events Shine 7 Events Nathan C 7 Events, Amy S and Adam L 6 each

See photos on facebook of climbing here and bowling here...


It snowed but still they came! January 2013

It looked like a bleak day weather wise, but the ground was covered in the magical white stuff....Is KEEN still on they asked? Of course, come along, it was clearly well worth the journey as everyone had a ball! WET SHOES and a fun spirit came out as snow ball fights, a new KEEN snowman/woman was built and the playground was just a winter wonderland...a very special day in a magical setting! The England twins got dressed up in jumpers and hats, Valentino and Sasha mucked in and built the new KEEN snowman and Yasmin was hell bent on attacking the camera man with a snowball, with much success I might add! Awesome effort by everyone who made the effort to get there!!

See photos on facebook...


BIG NEWS...KEEN IS GROWING AND HEADING EAST!

We are delighted to announce that KEEN London is heading East, with a new venue and even more one-to-one fun for disabled children.

From November, we will be running sessions from our second base, at The Petchey Academy in Hackney. These will be in addition to our existing sessions in Tufnell Park and we’re looking forward to welcoming many more new athletes, families and coaches. The new sessions will run on Saturdays from 12 - 2pm and we’ll be able to take advantage of all the fantastic sports and games facilities at Petchey.

We know that there will be a demand for our unique blend of fun and one-to-one support and we’re now fundraising fast to raise the £45,000 we need to cover our start-up and running costs. We have some funding in place but are looking for corporate and individual donors to support our move.

Of course, we‘re also looking for new athletes and coaches to join the KEEN family. If you, or anyone you know, would be be interested in joining us in Hackney, please contact Scott for more information.

And if you can help support our fundraising, visit our fundraising pages for all the information you need.

We can’t wait to make loads of new friends and bring the special KEEN magic to Hackney!

KEEN expands


Christmas Party 2012KEEN London Christmas Party, 9 December 2012

51 athletes, 55 coaches and 32 parents and guests came out in force to celebrate Christmas at the KEEN London Christmas Party.

The day started with our annual KEEN’s Got Talent offering where Ellamae impressed with her dancing skills and we heard the brilliant vocal talents of Judith, Sasha, James WA, Brett and his coach Jack, and later on the brother-sister duo of Ikenna and Onyi – good job guys!

Then we had a visit from our very special guest for the day: straight from his North Pole workshop, Santa came to visit KEEN London! Lots of very excited athletes received a present and some were more keen than others (not naming any names, Felix) while others were happy to sit back and let Santa come to them (again, no names, Jack).

The rest of our party was spent eating and drinking and being merry, courtesy of Sainsbury's, the dedication of our catering team (Jill, Kathleen and many others) and DJ Smiley, who once again provided the soundtrack. The music was greatly appreciated by many of our athletes, with Felix, Jack, Elias, Jermaine, Ed K, Shanice and many others creating some stunning dance routines!

This was a great end to an even greater year and couldn’t have happened without all the planning, organisation and general mucking-n provided by all at KEEN London, so a huge thank you to everyone and Merry Christmas!

Photos to come soon!


Castle ClimbingTEEN KEEN Castle Climbing wall Tuesday 4 December

Elias, Amy, Adam and Shine are becoming experts at climbing!...Our third climbing excursion sees all four athletes not only climbing but now belaying each other too (Anchor person while the other person climbs). Adam is awesome as he climbs with ease, smiling from ear to ear while Amy and Elias have progressed from climbing only six feet to over twelve in only three visits. This is an awesome level of progress and next term we are increasing TEEN KEEN by an extra session per month!

 


Rowans Ten Pin BowlingTEEN KEEN Ten Pin Bowling Wednesday 23 November

Another high octane event with James Wilson-Austin and G1444iverny hitting it off trying to out bowl each other once again...the coaches were no match for these two as strike after strike so James narrowly win this epic battle! Sasha, being the relaxed person she is was happy hitting down the odd pin, smiling from ear to ear!

See photos from TEEN KEEN in 2012...

 


Archway Leisure CentreSwimming at Archway Pool 18 November

James, Nathan D, Giverny and Sasha joined 20 other athletes and over 30 coaches at this awesome venue. The flume ride, waterfall, current ride were awesome and the beach style entrance made entering the water easy for everyone. New athletes Iulen and Jermaine had a blast, while Yasmin spent the whole session splashing anyone she knew. Nuno and Elias enjoyed putting their heads under while Manolis was overjoyed with excitement the whole time. The most pleasing thing to see was how many smiles were to be seen. Back here in January!


Castle ClimbingTEEN KEEN Castle Climbing Wall Tuesday 13 November

Our second climbing adventure took place at the impressive Castle Centre in Stoke Newington. A much easier journey ensured that everyone arrived relaxed and ready to attack the impressive rock faces
at this awesome venue. Our Climbing experts Elias, Adam L and Aimes were joined by Shine and Yasmin. The confidence of our athletes is a sight to behold and demonstrates that physical challenges are well within reach for our youngsters.

 


KEEN does magic! Sunday 11 November 2012

We had two very special visitors to KEEN when Alan and Jill (and their bright orange hair!)
turned up to KEEN to woo everyone with their special talents....the magic string and pencil
trick went down a treat and Ernie was convinced he knew how it was done... Jack loved
the Punch and Judy show while Jermaine and Aaron K got really involved in singing and clapping.
The highlight of the day was cops and robbers which truly appeared to be magic... how ever do they
do that??... was the popular cry!


Mile End ClimbingTEEN KEEN Mile End Climbing Wall Wednesday 7 November 2012

After an awfully long commute for some athletes and their parents TEEN KEEN had it's first climbing adventure... An awesome evening's climbing began with Elias overcoming his initial fear and getting
himself up higher than he'd ever been before. Adam L was a reveleation too as he comfortably climbed to the ceiliing, lots of confidence and a huge smile! Aimes after initial reservations, had a ball on the ropes and shouted "I love climbing".

Sasha once again showed how great a leader she is by belaying the other athletes as well as getting to the top of the wall in double-quick time! It was decided that as climbing was so successful, TEEN KEEN in two weeks would also be a climbing session but at another venue.

 

 


Olympic Torch RelayKaush, Millie and Cameron carry the Olympic torch for KEEN

Kaush ran on 21 July (day 64). Scroll along the video until 12.47 and you'll see her
http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay/day64Day 64 Olympic Torch relay route

Millie ran on 22 July (day 65). Scroll along to 9.29 and you'll see her appear from around the corner! http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay/day65
Day 65 Olympic Torch relay route

Cameron ran on 26 July (day 69). Scroll along to 12.29 for his leg. http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay/day69
Day 65 Olympic Torch relay route

More coverage of the Gold Challenge Boccia event in the Islington Gazzette

Article on KEEN fundraising with Gold Challenge Boccia in the Islington Gazzette


KEEN hard at play at Boccia in the Ham & High
Article on KEEN fundraising with Gold Challenge Boccia in the Ham and High


The Pirate CastleCanoeing/Canal Boat trip, May 2012, Pirate Castle, Camden

We had another very enjoyable day on the canal at Pirate Castle in Camden. After a thorough safety briefing, everyone got the their life-jackets on and hopped on board, either in canoes or on the canal boat. For some athletes, this was their first ever time afloat and most of them took to it like the proverbial ducks to water!

 


Science Museum logo 

Science Museum Sleepover, May 2012

A group of athletes and coaches spent an inspirational night at the Science Museum Sleepover. This very hands-on experience gave the athletes the chance to try some experiments, build rockets and learn some really cool science facts. All the athletes had an amazing time including James who won a prize for the best green car design, Adam L who loved all the shiny objects and Amy who became a telescope expert. The coaches didn’t have the best night’s sleep but everyone agreed it was a night to remember!


Kids count logoKEEN wins Best Community Project award at Kids Count awards

Five members of KEEN London were very privileged to attend an awards ceremony last night on the terrace of the House of Commons in London. KEEN London were attending the Houses of Parliament to collect a Kidscount 'Best Community Project' award and were represented by athletes James and Sasha as well as senior volunteer Emma Pearce. Chair of Trustees Alan Pattison, along with new co-ordinator Scott McDonald also attended the glamorous event. Sasha and James were thrilled to meet and have their picture taken with Olympic Gold Medallist Darren Campbell, to meet the Home secretary the Rt Hon. Theresa May and the Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans, and to be in such an historic and iconic British location.

James said "Liverpool and Chelsea are playing tonight but this is so much better, this is one of the best things I've ever done!". Sasha said "I am so excited to be with Members of Parliament and to have met Darren Campbell."... The smiles on their faces were there for all to see and they both represented KEEN London with immense pride.

KEEN London wins the Kids Count award KEEN London wins the Kids Count award KEEN London wins the Kids Count award
KEEN London wins the Kids Count award KEEN London wins the Kids Count award

Olympic Torch RelayKEEN IS 10!

2012 is a huge year for KEEN, not least because it’s our 10th birthday!  As everyone knows, the best way to celebrate a birthday is with cake, games and balloons and that’s just what we did at our party on 29th April.

When KEEN first started, there was just a handful of athletes and coaches but, at our biggest ever session, we were joined by around 150 athletes, coaches, parents, trustees and fundraisers - a real testament to the hard work of everyone who has been involved in the last 10 years. There was face-painting, pinata-bashing and cake-eating.  All topped off with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and, of course, a record-breaking hokey-cokey.

Thank you to everyone who made it such a special event.

See photos from the gallery…


Olympic Torch RelayOlyimpic torch relay
— 21, 23 and 26 July, 2012

As the excitement around London 2012 builds, we're thrilled that three members of the KEEN London family have been selected to carry the Olympic torch as it makes its way to the opening ceremony. Coaches Kaush and Millie, and Co-ordinator Cameron will be carrying the flame in the final stages of its journey to the Olympic Stadium. They were chosen because of the great work they do with the KEEN and their commitment to the athletes and their families. Each of them will carry the flame for around 300 metres before passing it on.

Cameron says, "This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us all and we're so proud to be doing it for KEEN. We hope that as many of our friends as possible will come and cheer us on".

Kaush will be carrying the flame on 21st July in Waltham Forest Millie will be in Bromley on the 23rd July Cameron will be in Lambeth on 26th July - the day before the opening ceremony!

Read the article about Cameron in 'This is Bristol'.

We'll provide more details when they are available.


London Sea Life Aquarium logoUnderwater Adventures – London Sea Life Aquarium
— 11 March, 2012

Away from the frantic fun at a normal session, KEEN went on a water world exploration at the London Sea Life Aquarium. 39 Athletes, 17 parents and 27 coaches all enjoyed the delights of a morning surrounded by animals from their rivers and seas.

For some this was an entirely new experience visiting the aquarium and for others it was a great chance to see the improvements recently made. Louis is the resident KEEN expert on animals and acted as a tour guide for his coach explaining the habitats, water temperatures and diets of each creature. Joe J, Aaron and Sam B were thoroughly absorbed in looking into the tanks of big fishes. Julie-Ann was a bit more timid especially when it came to the sharks, but quickly got over the fear. A new feature of the aquarium is the penguins and Judith particularly enjoyed watching them swim, jump and dive about. Nathan D set out on a mission to “find Nemo” and after much exploration he did in fact find him as well as few of his brothers and sisters.

The aquarium was great fun for all – Ellamae and Daniel enjoyed it so much that they even went round it twice!

Our thanks to the wonderful staff at the aquarium for allowing us to avoid the queues and for your support inside. Thank you to the parents who stayed with their athletes – your support was crucial. The coaches who gave up their time and did their best keeping our athletes safe, thank you for your help. Finally to the athletes who had a great time, thanks for making it a fun event.


Team London awards winnerKEEN WINS IN FIRST TEAM LONDON AWARDS
— 1 March 2012
We have always known what an amazing group of people our coaches are — and now theyíve got an award to prove it!

KEEN London coaches picked up the Best Team Award in the Increasing Youth Opportunities category at the first Mayor of London's Team London Awards on 1st March.

The Awards celebrate the positive effect volunteering can have in communities and recognise the unsung heroes who give up their time to help others.

KEEN was represented at the award ceremony by Emma Pearce, Androulla Kolatsis, Charlotte Lake and Patrick Smears. Arsenal player Kieran Gibbs presented their award and they also met Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the eveningí's host, comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Speaking about the Awards, Boris Johnson said, "I am always deeply humbled by the heroic stories of the thousands of volunteers I meet each day, who are playing their part in helping to make this the best big city in the world".

Patrick says, "It was a real privilege to attend on behalf of KEEN London, and we are all extremely proud of the hard work that all the KEEN London coaches put in, every week, to make a difference to the lives of children facing huge challenges."

team KEEN were winners at the Team London awards   receiving the award at the Team London awards

Photos courtesy of James O Jenkins.


IAlexandra Palace the people's palacecy Fun - Ice Skating
— January 29th 2012

Sunday was a mix excitement for many and apprehension for some – but a great turnout of 38 athletes supported by 62 coaches came along for Ice Skating and Alexandra Palace.

For some athletes like Pardis, Lulu and Elias, being on the ice was as natural as walking on land. Their confidence must have been infectious as many of the first time skaters quickly were overcome with the excitement of a new experience. David and James Q did fantastically well given that trying to stay upright was a challenge.

Well done to all the other athletes who did amazingly well and for the coaches who supported them to do so.

A special mention to Rebecca who after only her second time on the ice is an absolute speed demon. Mum emailed me after to say they plan to buy her a pair of skates — so watch out for next year, she may set a new ice-speed record!

Thanks to all the amazing coaches (especially the ones who were tentative about getting on the ice), the parents who stayed to watch or help and the wonderful staff at Alexandra Palace who helped make it a fantastic day

See the gallery for photos…


KEEN's Got TalentKEEN's Got Talent Christmas Party
— December 11th 2011

Back by popular demand the theme for our Christmas Party was KEEN’s Got Talent and from the “talent on show” it did not disappoint.  In the lead up to the day we had a few talent Sundays helping to inspire and encourage the athletes. Peter Gardini the magician, Derek Paravicini the savant pianist (at the creative: space concert) and a show “the Magician’s Daughter” all served as inspiration for our own talent show.

Morris Charitable Trust logoAs with all major events it is necessary to have financial support and this year we were fortunate enough to have this from the Morris Charitable Trust. Without their help it would have not been the success it was.

It was incredible turn out of people, a record 54 athletes, 48 parents and visitors supported by 87 all came along. To help open the show we were lucky enough to a breakdance crew from the UCL Dance Society kick off the proceedings. Then we were treated to an array of talents from the athletes: Ellamae performed a beautiful ballet piece; Ernie was dynamic on his ACDC air guitar solo; Onyi and ShaniceUCL Dance Society logo both sang powerful ballads; Andrew G had the crowd in laughter with his comedy routine; there was drama with Eastenders inspired skit by John-Jo, Ed K and Giverny; Mason and Dante performed a story told with puppets; Ella displayed her musical prowess with a rendition from the Sound of Music; Lulu and Brett showed off there amazing hoola-hooping skills; there was an epic star wars Jedi battle between Andrew K and Jonathan and it was as if one half Wham had come to perform when Hamilton sang "Last Christmas".

Away from the delights of the KEEN’s Got Talent there was plenty going on. Face painting, arts n’ crafts and a popular favourite decorating (and especially eating) gingerbread Christmas tree biscuits. For those with more energy we had not one, but two bouncy castles to try wear some athletes out.

To fuel all this performing, creating and bouncing a lavish spread of food was provided. A special thank you to all the families (and some volunteers) who brought plates of food – just like any good Christmas meal people looked pretty full and satisfied.

KEEN’s Got Talent could not have managed without its hosts Cameron (the unfunny one) and especially James (who was the talented humorous one). James himself capped off the show with a heart stirring song and I think it brought a few tears. The final performance was from a Salsa troupe again from the UCL Dance Society.

Hands on London logoTo round off an amazing day Santa came with a sack full of wonderful gifts for the athletes and judging by their excitement they were very pleased to see him.

A massive thank you to everyone who helped with the day – from our regular coaches, the trustees, new volunteers from Hands on London, Campbell House and UCL, parents, the UCL Dance Society, DJ Smiley the Morris Charitable Trust and of course the athletes themselves it was fantastic occasion.

See photos in the gallery...


KEEN London cookbook in the Ham & High
read the article about the KEEN London cookbook from the Ham and High
Click on the image to read the article in the Ham & High


The Mayor of IslingtonTea, biscuits and special chairs — Afternoon Tea with the Mayor
— November 13th 2011

You know life is going places when you’re invited to afternoon tea by the Mayor of Islington. The worshipful Mayor Phil Kelly and councillor Catherine West kindly entertained members of KEEN (or it might have been us who entertained them!) – Alan our chairperson, Emma a senior coach, Cameron the coordinator, Anna a KEEN mum and her two amazing boys/KEEN Athletes Jonathan and Andrew.

It was a very exciting opportunity for all, but in particular for Jonathan and Andrew. In between a lavish spread of biscuits, cake, tea and fruit there was plenty to do. We talked about KEEN and what makes it fun, how it supports families and how the council could support us. We proudly got to show off our new KEEN cookbook and discuss experience of cooking down the road at the business design centre.

The two athletes got to explore the Mayor’s office and also the council chambers. Once inside they both had the privilege of sitting in the Mayor’s very own special chair, but it was the microphones that captured their attention the most – across the Public Address System the boys gave a rousing rendition of the “hokey cokey”.

Before leaving Jonathan and Andrew tested everyone’s knowledge of Star Wars (I have to say I severely overrated my expertise in this area!). The trip obviously was a memorable experience as the next day Jonathan was boasting at school about meeting the Mayor.

Our sincerest thank you to Mayor Phil Kelly and councillor Catherine West for the experience and the chance to enlighten you about the great work of KEEN. We’d love to see you both at a session to meet the rest of our lovely coaches and athletes.

See the gallery for photos…


Show time: The Magician's Daughter
— November 20th 2011

Jacksons Lane theatre is multi-art’s theatre in Highgate and was the venue our KEEN session. 37 athletes, 6 parents and 38 coaches came to see the show “The Magician’s Daughter”.

The show was inspired by Shakespeare’s “The tempest” tells the story of Miranda’s daughter adventures across a magical faraway island. Using a blend of puppetry and song this show was entirely different experience from our typically energetic Sunday sessions.

Jacksons Lane logoOur thanks to all the staff at Jacksons Lane for accommodating our group, especially to Becky and Tim. For more information on Jackson’s Lane Theatre such as upcoming shows and courses for children see http://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/


Musical Madness: Creative Space Concert
— October 30th 2011

A few KEEN parents are regulars at the Creative:Space concerts and it was on their recommendation KEEN decided to attend the event. 24 athletes, 11 parents and 22 coaches all came to enjoy in the day.

The concert featured the Adriano Adewale Group, Mike Poyser on the tuba and renowned pianist Derek Paravicini (a musical savant who is blind and has severe learning difficulties). Both our athletes and coaches enjoyed a great time interacting with the music through the use of instruments, dance and or course fun.

The “Creative:Space” events are unique, fun and interactive concerts specifically designed for disabled children and their families to enjoy music, dance and craft activities in a safe, relaxed environment. If you want further information on this and the other great work the charity create does, please see http://createarts.org.uk/

Our thank you to Create, especially Anna Schilling and Nicky Goulder for hosting such an amazing event!

See photos from the gallery...


Abra-KEEN-dabra: Magic Workshop
— October 16th 2011

KEEN’s Got Talent took its first step in preparing our athletes for the big event on December 11th. We had a magician come visit KEEN last Sunday

The wonderful Peter Gardini came and put a performance and workshop for our budding magicians.

From the opening act a large crowd gathered and were enthralled in the performance. Pretty soon Peter was had members of audience up as assistants helping to perform tricks. James was a very adept stage hand and definitely has future in magical performance. In part two, Peter worked with small groups and individuals helping to teach fine magic tricks. Onyi, Gabriel, Lord and Judith were all attentive students.

Aside to his skills in magic, Peter was also very handy with the guitar. Our sessions ended, as always, with a hokey cokey – but this time we had an excellent musical accompaniment!

A huge thank you to Peter for giving up his day, you put on an excellent show. If you are looking for a magician/performer please check out his website www.astonmagic.co.uk and support him. He gave his time for almost no charge and as a small charity this make a big difference. Thank you to all the wonderful coaches and of course the athletes who got involved – we are expecting big things of you for KEEN’s Got talentCameron

See photos from the gallery...


swiss cottage leisure centre logoSPLASH OUT: SWIMMING SESSION
— 9 October 2011

After our late mini-heat wave there was nothing better than cooling off for a swim. 22 KEEN athletes and 34 KEEN coaches turned up to get wet at on Sunday. The staff at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre were able to again hire out to us the exclusive use of their teaching pool for the afternoon.

There was no shortage of excitement as form the word “go” the athletes and coaches were changed and straight into the pool. Ed K and John-Jo lead the way and were like fish in water. Toby who doesn’t often come to sessions also made an appearance and pretty soon was giving John-Jo a race for his money. Jonathan and Andrew were right at home playing spaceships and pirates on the high seas. There were some less confident swimmers, but they did not lack courage. Gabby and John made a great effort getting in and experiencing the water.

A thank you to all the parents who helped with the changing of athletes, the coaches for making the effort to come along and Haley and her team at pool for a fantastic afternoon — Cameron

See photos from the gallery...


Autism London logo Legoland logo

LEGOLAND DAY OUT
17 August 2011

As KEEN has its own holiday over the summer school break, we don't usually run any events. But when Autism London kindly offered a trip to Legoland to our athletes, we jumped at the chance!

For many this was a totally new experience and one they were unlikely to forget. Lukas really loved making his own Lego characters, while Stefan, after the 4D movie said, "I've never seen anything like it!" Sam and his parents Ingrid and Gordon loved the trip saying it was "nice to go with other families/ volunteers who are familiar with children with special needs." Nathan's mum Lisa was just so happy that with help of her volunteer (Kaush) her son was able to engage and enjoy it. All agreed that being able to fast track through queues made such an important difference to the children's experiences. A big thank you Ethney and Autism London who organised the event and to everyone who helped make it an amazing trip.

See photos from the gallery...


UK Sports Assocation for People with Learning Disability logoONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY...

Help us raise funds with the National Charity Darts Marathon 2011.

We’re delighted to be teaming up with the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability who are organising the 2011 National Charity Darts Marathon. During the week of 16–23 September, teams across the country will be competing in a four hour darts marathon, hoping to score as many double-tops and raise as much money as possible.

Find out how to get involved...


Gold Challenge logoJOIN THE EXCITEMENT AROUND LONDON 2012...
TRY OLYMPIC SPORTS...
AND RAISE VALUABLE FUNDS FOR KEEN LONDON!

With next year’s Olympic Games on our doorstep, here’s a fantastic opportunity to try a new sport or challenge and raise funds for KEEN London.

The Gold Challenge gives you the chance to test your sporting prowess by trying out Olympic sports. You can take part as an individual or a team, it’s easy to get involved and every pound you raise will support our unique work bringing one-to-one fun to disabled kids.

Find out how to get involved...


The Pirate CastleAhoy me maties: Canal Boat and Canoeing @ the Pirate Castle
– 26 June 2011

When London get’s hot there’s no better place to cool off than in water. So it was lucky KEEN London went Canal boating and Canoeing on Sunday’s hot summer heat wave. 36 KEEN athletes and 33 KEEN Coaches made their way to the Pirate Castle on Regent’s Canal in Camden.

Darren and John, our canoeing instructors were fantastic as we had a few nervous paddlers as well as some very enthusiastic ones. In the big blue and yellow bell boats the KEEN athletes and coaches were paddling up and down the canal with a fair bit of splash. It was great to see so many first time paddlers giving it a go.

Jim was the Canal boat captain and did a great job of ferrying us up and down the canal. The athletes and coaches had lots to keep them busy. Going through tunnels and under bridges, passing large expensive houses and part of London Zoo, waving to other boats and people on the towpath and feeding the ducks scraps of bread (and sometimes feeding themselves too!).

Well done to all the coaches who supported the athletes, to the parents who came to watch (and did their best to find the venue) and of course to The Pirate Castle for helping to make a fantastic day out – Cameron

See photos from the gallery...

 

The Goof Eating Company LtdKEEN enters the kitchen: Creative Cooking – Sunday 12 June 2011

Part two of KEEN’s big weekend was our first ever Cooking Session. 28 KEEN athletes and 24 coaches got there hands (and some of them their faces and clothes) dirty whipping up some unique creations.

The venue was the café at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The man responsible was Liam from the Good Eating Company. He not only provided the facilities, but sorted the ingredients, the running of the day, the cleaning up and also provided wonderful teas and coffees for parents staying to watch. His team were nothing short of amazing and a big thank you to them for making it happen.

From the word go the café was a busy hubbub of creations from chocolaty rice krispie cakes to delicious gingerbread men. Lukas was an expert at his icing of gingerbread men, while John showed that eating the chocolate was better than waiting for it to be made into his rice krispees cakes. Whilst this was all going on, athletes were also treated to pancakes and smoothies.

Well done to all the athletes with their cooking and thank you to parents and coaches who supported them. A thanks also to Steve and Lamprini for taking some wonderful photos that should eventually end up as part of the KEEN Cookbook (we’ll be selling it at the end of the year). Once thank you to Liam and his team at the Good Eating Company, a fantastic day – Cameron

See the photos from the gallery…


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the hub
The Royal ParksQedis

Competing for KEEN – KEEN Olympics and Q Challenge – Saturday 11 June 2011

The sun smiled on KEEN’s coaches and athletes as they took part in the first KEEN Olympics held in London. 18 “rearing-to-go” athletes and an amazing 47 coaches came to Regents Park to jump, throw and run their way to glory.  The day also doubled as “ChallengeQ” where KEEN’s corporate partner Qedis had many of their employees cycle from Paris, Brighton and Ealing as well as walk the Thames Path all in the name of fundraising for KEEN!

Unofficially Qedis broke the £10,000 mark, which is an amazing achievement. We are most grateful and we look forward to hearing the final total.

It was great to see the athletes taking part in the events, from hurdles, bean bag shot put to speed fishing and moon hopper racing. The highlight was the group football match (complete with giant goals and football) which had some very exciting moments to report from. Lolo deflected and survived a fast travelling shot and Nathan A got straight in despite the ball being bigger than him. Sasha “bibs” team played with courage but they were no match for the awesome combination of Stefan and James. The game ended 4-0, with James scoring a hat trick and winning the fair play cup.

Shortly after the cyclists from Paris (who had started the day before) and Brighton were greeted at the finishing line with great fan fare from all the coaches and athletes. The day concluded with our medal ceremony and the biggest hokey cokey I have ever been in! 

Well done to all the athletes who took part, thank you to the coaches (so many of whom came) and to the staff at The Hub and Regent’s Park. Finally a huge thanks to Qedis: to all those cyclists and walkers who toiled their way to Regents Park, to their organisers Gemma, Sarah, Mark and Simon, the yummy BBQ and of course all those who helped fundraise that amazing total. Well done! – Cameron

See photos from the gallery…

Thames Valley Adventure ParkKEEN picnic – 6 June 2011
Thames Valley Adventure Playground

Even an overcast day with a few spots of rain couldn’t dampen the excitement of KEEN’s annual picnic. 34 athletes, 28 parents and 38 volunteer coaches came to the oasis which is Thames Valley Adventure Playground.

The buses and the exclusive hire of the venue would not have been possible without the support of Qedis, for whom KEEN is their Charity of the Year. Not only were they able to help fund the trip, but they provided amazing volunteers to come along too.

After the hour long journey, the wait was worth it. The athletes who had come the year before headed for their favourite parts of the playground, but those who hadn’t been before found the excitement of so many choices almost overwhelming.

Nathan D, Parsa and Ed all found the toy cars and trains very exciting. The mini golf course proved hugely popular with athletes and parents and it was busy all day. The music room had some great sounds coming from it with Onyi and Ikenna belting some interesting tunes out. The bike and go-cart track was busy too, Elias, Tony and Julie-Ann were seen racing were about.

Some will call it bravery, others would say madness, but despite the chillier weather KEEN Coordinator Cameron let the athletes take a free shot with the water cannon. James was chief gunner and did a marvellous job of soaking him right through.

The day ended with a great big hokey-cokey and athletes, families and coaches all went home tired, but definitely happy

A final thank you to the Athletes, Coaches, Parents, Qedis and Thames Valley Adventure Playground who helped make the day one to remember — Cameron.

See photos from the gallery…

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Alexandra Palace the people's palaceWet and Wild: Swimming Session – 27 March 27 2011

There’s nothing quite like the experience of being in water to really take people out of their comfort zones. For the KEEN athletes it was a long awaited opportunity to “immerse” themselves into a KEEN swimming session.

20 KEEN athletes and 26 KEEN coaches, as well as some dedicated parents turned up to get wet on Sunday. The staff at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre were able to let us hire the exclusive use of their learner pool for the afternoon.

With swimming costumes on there was little hesitation as coaches and athletes splashed straight into the pool. In no time at all the pool was abuzz with balls, floating mats and the sounds of excitement being had.

Joe D was intent on demonstrating his duck diving skills, while Sasha, Chanz and James were in fierce competition trying to race each other. Amy, a little nervous, overcame her initial fears and was happily splashing around. It was a real pleasure to see Anmol back at KEEN after such a long absence, as it was to see his Dad, Inder, who kindly helped out in the water. At the end of the session we did the hokey cokey – which is far more challenging to do in the water! Well done to Joe J, Parsa and Pardis for joining in. As a few coaches remarked, they have never seen so many smiling faces at a session.

A thank you to all the parents who helped with the changing of athletes, the coaches for making the effort to come along and Jema and her team at the pool for a fantastic afternoon. - Cameron


Alexandra Palace the people's palace: Figure skating fantastic: Ice skating – 30 January 2011

With a newly refurbished ice skating rink, Alexandra Palace was ripe to receive the enthusiastic KEEN athletes. On Sunday 30th January, 28 excited athletes along with the support of their 39 coaches took to the ice.

For Jonathan and Andrew it was their first time skating and to begin with they were a wee-bit apprehensive. With some gentle encouragement they were moving round the rink in no time. It was reported by mum that Jonathan spent most of the next today telling everyone at school that "ice skating is amazing!"

It was also a first time for Darrell to be on the ice, but for him it was a bit more challenging as he made his debut in his wheelchair. Whizzing around on the ice, while being pushed by his coach Luisa was a new experience for him. After a few laps it became a little too much for him, but did so well giving it a go.

Confidence wasn’t an issue for two of our other athletes – Gabby and Elias. They both showed no fear when faced with the practice of skating. Gabby with his support of two coaches managed to attempt keeping upright, while Elias needed very little support, he even had his own skates!

There many other regular athletes who all did very well and seem to be improving every year KEEN does this trip. Well done to all the athletes for giving it go and thank you to the coaches for supporting them. It’s a popular session and we’ve already had a few requests to repeat the trip – Cameron.

See our photos from the gallery


tambourineMusic Storytelling:
Music Box visit KEEN London

Sunday 9 January 2011

When new toys are given at Christmas, often they might be initially played with after opening and then discarded to one side in favour of something else. Well, with KEEN’s brand-new instruments which were bought with the Islington South Area Committee generous grant, they were definitely well used last Sunday. A group called “Music Box” consisiting of the musical duo Pete and Sharon came to KEEN to run a music storytelling workshop. 20 Athletes and 33 coaches took part in the session.

To supplement KEEN’s own instruments, they brought a variety of unusual metal and wooden noise-making contraptions. The new sounds and textures intrigued the athletes and within a short time an orchestra of noise ensued. Pete on guitar and Sharon leading the group took the athletes and coaches on a musical journey incorporating rhythms, tempos, songs and movement.

Following the session, once the athletes had gone home, 15 coaches stayed behind and Music Box then ran a training workshop. The coaches learnt about creating rhythms within small groups and then trying to combine them into a large group. They then had to use their creativity to complete a story about the golden bird using words and instrumental sounds.

Lots of fun and laughter was had by both coaches and athletes. Thank you to Pete and Sharon of Music Box for visiting us and for making the day a wonderful experience. Look out for the next musical madness session!

See our gallery for photos


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Hi Coaches

KEEN is having a fCharity Roller Disco event in aid of KEEN Londonundraising event and we need your support...

Roller Disco Charity Fundraiser

Thursday 3rd February, 8pm till late
Roller Disco Vauxhall, Renaissance Rooms
Tickets £6

www.rollerdisco.com

See the poster for more details.

If you want to come along then you need to be on the guest list.

So you and anyone else you know can...
Go to Facebook
Type "KEEN Roller Disco Fundraiser" or try the linkhttp://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157870230931617


Qedis logoBRAND NEW PARTNERS FOR A BRAND NEW YEAR
Qedis signs up KEEN London as Charity of the Year
We are absolutely delighted to announce that Qedis, a dynamic and forward-thinking management consultancy, has named KEEN London as its charity of the year for 2011. The company has a very innovative approach to working with its clients, people and the community - a big part of which is "giving back".

Qedis is full of energetic and eager sportsmen and women who just love to take on a challenge. They've got some amazing and adventurous ideas to raise funds and get involved with KEEN's work - watch this space to find out just what they've got planned for the year.

Paramjit Uppal, Qedis CEO says, We like to 'give back' because it's the right thing to do, especially when it's for a cause that our people are passionate about. We can't wait to get started working with KEEN".

To find out more about Qedis, visit their website.


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KEEN's Got Talent Christmas Party: 12 December 2010
Generously sponsored by Islington Council's South Area Committee

A typical Christmas party is one full of food, presents and fun activities, but for the KEEN annual event it included all this and more. The party served as an opportunity for the KEEN athletes to be in the spot light. We were supported this year by a generous grant from the Islington South Area Committee, which helped make the day possible. The theme for 2010 was “KEEN’s Got Talent” and involved our athletes getting up in front of the audience to show off their talents.

We had a fantastic turn out of families and supporters – a staggering 34 athletes, 24 parents and 53 coaches/supporters turned up for the event.   There was plenty to do with face painters on hand, a table full of gingerbread men to decorate, a sensory/music corner, DJ Smiley and his music, a giant bouncy castle and plenty of food and drink to fuel the energy needed for the day. 

However the highlights were of course the performances. Ellamae kicked off the show with her well-rehearsed acapella version of “Silent Night”. We then followed it up with Judith and her coach Emily doing a dance routine to Kylie Minogue. Hamilton then busted out is Michael Jackson moves and voice. Both Onyi and Didi showed their musical abilities singing and rapping, Louis displayed his animal impressions, while Ella demonstrated her supreme talent of singing the exact lyrics to a Hannah Montana song. However it was the comedy duo – Giverny and James - who stole the show. The jokes were timed to perfection and they had the audience rolling in laughter. Well done to everyone who had a go.

The final group effort with all the voices of parents, coaches and kids combined, was our “8 days of KEEN Christmas” Carol. Lots of fun - we hope to do another even better group performance next year. But no Christmas Party is complete without a visit from the man in red – Santa. All the athletes were apparently well-behaved enough to receive a present.

Thank you to all who participated in the event. To all the coaches who were there either the previous day setting up or at the event - your immense support is hugely appreciated by KEEN and its families. Thank you to the parents who joined in and provided plates of food. To the Bridge City Trust who funded the event which included the majority of the food, decorations, hire of equipment and a brand new set of musical instruments which we will no doubt be using in our new music sessions. Finally congratulations to all the athletes who performed so well – you should be really proud!

Already looking forward to next year – Cameron

See our photos on the gallery...


Running for KEEN London: 2010’s Fundraising Events

 : Run to the Beat Half Marathon – 26 September 2010

13.1 miles pounding the pavement, coupled with the fundraising/training preparation is what our amazing charity runners did for KEEN London. This year we had entrants participating in 2 events - The Run to The Beat and Royal Parks Half Marathon.

With a delayed start due to problems on the Jubilee Line it was a somewhat chaotic beginning to the day. Sunshine came and went, slightly chilly at times, but as whole, a nice day for the run. KEEN London had 29 runners competing along a course set with music stages at various points along the way. My personal favourite was running to the “Baywatch” theme tune (though it did make me feel I should run in slow motion). Well done to all the runners – a special mention goes out to Michael Wakefield who did the entire course dressed as a teletubby. 

: Royal Parks Half Marathon – 10 October 2010

A beautifully sun filled day had Hyde Park buzzing with runners and supporters. There were 3 KEEN London runners and 1 walker taking on the course. Well done to all those who competed, special mention to Akvile who ran courageously with a not-quite-recovered chest infection. 

As they made their way through the course, we had several of the KEEN athletes and their many coaches watching on from the idyllic Lido Café park. We had moon hopper racing, football and general fun on the playground. A big thank you to the kids and their coaches who came to support. Also thank you to the wonderful staff at the Lido Café.

We are still counting the exact total, but it looks like we have achieved our target of £10,000!!!! A massive congratulations and thank you to all those who contributed in the two events – this money will help to keep KEEN London’s activities free for disabled kids to attend! Keep a look out for the GOLD CHALLENGE which will be the next annual fundraising event - Cameron

See photos of the day...


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climb london logoGoing to new heights: Rock climbing session - 28 November 2010GLL logo

Looking the part in helmets and harnesses, 14 brave KEEN London athletes took on the climbing walls at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre.  We had 27 wonderful KEEN coaches and 4 excellent Climb London instructors encouraging them up the rock faces.

Louis and Adam V boldly went up the walls first to show everyone how it was done. Adam V - the quiet and capable - managed to work his way and down the walls several times with lizard-like ability.  Louis was more like a howler monkey leaping his way up, but far from quietly. His coaches did a fantastic job of encouraging him up the last few inches despite is very vocal protests of wanting to come down.

Joe D was not only very taken with climbing (he said he loved it more than cricket!), he did an excellent job of helping to belay his fellow athletes up and down the wall. Ella, with her tremendous strength managed to get up part of the way, as too did Parsa. Onyi and Ikenna persisted making it to the top several times, while Didi gave a couple of goes too. A few athletes, not so sure of the wall – Manolis and Aaron attempted to climb and made a fantastic effort.  

However it was the stand-out-star of the day Pardis with her climbing feats. In the session she managed a staggering total of going up and down 12 times!!! She conquered her fears and truly showed what an amazing climber she is. Look out for her name when she summits Mt Everest.

Thank you again to the wonderful team at Climb London and our dedicated KEEN Coaches for making this an outstanding experience for our athletes - Cameron

See the photos from the gallery...


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art session accessories  KEEN 'Art n Crafts' - 14th November 2010

At KEEN this Sunday freelance illustrator and art workshop facilitator Harriet Rowe ran a fantastic 'Art n Crafts' session, allowing the Athletes at KEEN to express themselves in a very fun (and messy) way! Harriet used a wide range of art supplies, including neon poster paints, glitter, felt, finger paints and foam stamps, to give the Athletes a chance to work with whatever they enjoyed the most.

She also faciliated some 'drawing to music' and 'body tracing' art exercises: Athletes stood against long rolls of paper taped to the wall while their Coache(s) drew around their body, then the Athletes were able to colour in/decorate their body shape on the paper and take home a life-sized replica of themselves!†The amazing arty activites were enjoyed by both Athletes and Coaches alike....even the Coach who came in wearing a white top and left wearing a multi-coloured one!

Harriet, who is currently also studying for Level 2 Certificate in Art Therapy Skills, says: "I really enjoy volunteering for KEEN, as it is very rewarding to see the Athletes getting so much pleasure from my art activities. I feel that art gives the Athletes a chance to express themselves in such a free and fun way. I am already thinking up new ideas for my next art and crafts workshop at KEEN!"

To see pictures of KEEN's mini-artists please click here.


scary halloween pumpkinFrightening Fun: KEEN Halloween Sunday – 31st October

As the doors opened for KEEN on a suitably dreary dark morning the oddest looking characters appeared. Cackling witches, frightening skeletons, spelling-binding wizards, axe welding maniacs, dainty fairies, a cowboy, the Joker and Darth Vader himself all turned out for KEEN London's Halloween Sunday.

29 creepily costumed Athletes and 46 Coaches took part in a Sunday filled with horror, surprises and of course fun. There was an “eye and spoon” race, What's the time Mr Ogre?, a ghost hunt, Halloween arts and crafts, spiderweb spinning, a dance off to Michael Jackson's thriller and the messy, but fun - mummy making race!

“Fang you” to everyone who came, and especially those who made the effort in costumes. It really was an awesome day. Take a look at our photos!


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FIFA World Cup logo: KEEN World Cup – 27 June 2010

As football fever grips the nation - and England are still in with a chance - the excitement spreads to KEEN London, where our World Cup competition may overshadow even its counterpart in South Africa.

KEEN London athletes representing teams from England, USA, France, Germany, Spain and Ghana competed in a variety of football-themed challenges, racking up points for their country as they demonstrated skills in dribbling, passing, and shooting goals - and for the exuberance of their post-goal celebrations. What's more, the athletes got their chance to combine all those skills for a match, where the competition was tough: despite the very hot weather, Giverny and James giving the strongest of a number of enthusiastic performances.

For those whose strongest skills lie away from the pitch, points were also available for dancing to a variety of football-themed songs, and for artistic merit in colouring in the competing nations' flags.

Encouragement and cheering are always important at KEEN, and a number of our athletes, including Nathan (and indeed several of their coaches!) especially enjoyed using tinsel pom-poms, balloons and the sheer weight of their enthusiasm to maintain an atmosphere of heigtened excitement throughout the day - and not a vuvuzela in sight!

Given the immense heat - and all the excitement and exercise - the half time refreshments of squash were very welcome. Coaches and athletes all appreciated the chance to sit down for a few moments of rest before getting stuck back in.

The World Cup can have only one winner, but that is not true at KEEN: the spirit of international good will was so great that nobody even thought to compare the teams' scores - and, all athletes went home with a small prize to celebrate their achievement.

See photos from the gallery…


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Thames Valley Adventure Park: KEEN picnic – 6 June 2010

There are places in the world that can often be endowed with the words “special”, “unique” and “inspiring”. Some places fall short of these descriptions, but the Thames Valley Adventure Playground justly deserves such accolades. Set in an idyllic location, the playground is purpose built for people with disabilities – a fact making it unique.  

This year’s annual picnic was held here and the members of KEEN London were able to judge for themselves what an extraordinary place it is. The day could not have happened without the generous sponsorship of the News International Staff Association Charities Committee.

It took two bus loads to deliver our 31 athletes, 27 parents and 40 volunteer coaches to the playground nestled away near Maidenhead. The weather was pleasant, the atmosphere both fun and relaxing, the only complaint — as one volunteer expressed it — was “there’s almost too much to do here!”

With such an expansive space filled with an array of things to do, it took sometime for the athletes to fully explore the area. The soft play room proved an instant winner for many with its ball pool and slides. Aaron and Elias were quick to find the swings and in no time were trying to reach new heights. The water castle was a popular place to cool off in. Anmol and John being big fans of all things water, were in their element. Elsewhere the sand pit kept Mo and Parsa thoroughly engaged.

Inside many athletes made full use of the costumes – we had Hadi the Policeman (doing a great job of arresting Maria Lisa), Felix the Sailor and Pardis the blond-bombshell-princess. Outside Shine and Sasha discovered the bike and go-cart area, while Onyi was showing off her sporting prowess on the mini-golf course. At the other end of the playground Adam and Hannah were hooked on the exhilarating zip wire ride.

Meanwhile inside the music room,  there was an event of considerable magnitude. What is sure to be a landmark point in history – three talented KEEN athletes, came together to create “The Magical Knights”. Comprising of Ikenna on drums, Giverny on the tambourine and the irrepressible front man James on guitar and lead vocals, they created a sound like no other. If you’re a record company reading this I would be quick to sign them up.

Finally for those whose taste was more subdued, the Sensory Room and the annex perched on the lake edge allowed for quiet time to relax in.

A final thank you to the Athletes, Coaches, Parents, the News Internatinoal Staff Association Charities Committee and Thames Valley Adventure Playground who helped make the day one to remember for some time to come — Cameron.

See photos from the gallery…

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Kentish Town City Farm logo: Pony riding – 16 May 2010

The rain Gods smiled on us today, holding back the downpour until late afternoon. That meant 22 athletes and 39 coaches were able to stay dry and fully appreciate the wonderful activities Kentish Town City Farm has to offer.

The farm, located in a dense urban area, is a wonderful place for people to visit. They have a range of farm animals – pigs, sheep, ducks, goats, a turkey, a cow and of course ponies. Their riding school, which is run by trained volunteers, is a very popular activity. A big thank you to the staff and volunteers at the farm, whose help in supporting the athletes to ride, was greatly appreciated.

The highlight of the day was of course the pony riding. A large number of the athletes conquered their initial fears to really enjoy the experience of riding around on a pony. Shine, Mo, Louis, Judith, Sam, Joe, Nathan, Sarah, Sasha, James and Ella with the support of their dedicated coaches managed each to have a turn. Giverny, another athlete feeling the same fear, was surprised how brave she could be.

For Gabriel O-M, ponies are one his two favourite animals (the other being cats, followed closely by pigs). He seemed very comfortable being lead around on the ponies, and if he had the choice, I’m sure he would have stayed on for longer!

Manolis, Gabriel B-R, Shanice and Aaron, while not quite able to have a ride, took the opportunity to interact with the ponies.

Beyond the riding school, the athletes got a chance to get up close and personal with many of the other farm animals. The lone turkey, as James called it “evil”, took a liking to few of the coaches (especially Kartik’s red shorts). The chickens and ducks were a firm favourite with Parsa. Shanice, not so fond of riding, was encouraged to pat the cow, pigs and even the goats. Speaking of goats, Pardis was very fond of these animals, so much so, if her parents had let her, I’m sure she would have taken one home.

A fantastic day, marked by some great achievements of the athletes and also an amazing turn out of volunteer coaches! Thanks to everyone for making a wonderful experience – Cameron

See photos from the gallery…
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KEEN London on TV!

Get your televisions ready... KEEN London will be on screen 19 March 2010. Thanks to:

 AND

They will be showing a segment starring two of our superstar athletes Aaron and Giverny. Airing:

Alternate Process: BBC 1?Between 6:30-7pm?(As part of the news)?

There will also hopefully be two short teasers on breakfast and Lunchtime Bulletins the following day.

The Sport Relief programme is 7pm-12am BBC 1 this Friday following the news (watch the clip on the BBC website). I urge you to support it as they have been an integral part of KEEN's expansion – Cameron

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: Run to the Beat Half Marathon — Sunday 26 September 2010

For those who missed out on a place in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, fear not. To accommodate the strong interest of people wishing to compete and fundraise for KEEN London, we have decided to have entries in the Run to the Beat Half Marathon on Sunday 26 September. Find out how you can get involved...

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: The Parks Half Marathon — Sunday 10 October 2010

KEEN London's annual fundraising event this year is the Royal Parks Half Marathon. With lots of time to prepare, this is the perfect event for you to get in-shape for the beach or that BBQ summer we will hopefully have. Or it might even be that challenge you've been secretly yearning for to show the world what you're made of. 

 

All places have unfortunately sold old! If you missed out please see above how to be involved in our other event, Run to the Beat Half Marathon.

We may have a limited number of charity places available at a later date, but you will need to fundraise a minimum of £350 to be eligible for one of these. Find out how you can get involved...

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Second session

For some time now KEEN London has been bursting at the seams, with huge demand for our services but no capacity to take on more athletes from our long waiting list. Early this year, thanks to generous sponsorship from Sports Relief and others, we will be running a second session in the afternoon.

 

Taking a different country each week, we will hold a themed session, with sporting and craft activities, exercise and music, all related to the week's chosen country. Each athlete will keep a scrap-book, to record their experiences from the session, ending the term with their very own atlas of the countries visited. This will allow us to provide activities that challenge some of our more capable athletes, as well as taking on new athletes in both the new and existing sessions — all of course wih KEEN's unique one-to-one coaching supporting each athlete and tailoring the session precisely to their needs.

The new sessions have been designed for athletes who like to use their imagination and creative skills, and work together in groups. The sessions involve a mixture of arts and crafts, role play, singing and dancing. There will be long running themes that are developed from week to week. For example, the first theme will be "an around the world trip" and so each week the group will "visit" a different country! Once we have found the country on the map and flown there on our magic carpet, we might get a taste of the culture by learning local songs or dances, or do a bit of site seeing and then make a souvenir of the trip. All this will happen between 2.15 and 3.45 on a Sunday afternoon, so it's lucky that magic carpets fly so fast!

So far we have trips planned to France and New Zealand — at KEEN, the world's our oyster!

If you think this sounds like something your child would enjoy, please get in contact to register your interest.

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Science Museum logo : a visit to the Science Museum

Water, wacky machines, switches, glass elevators and flies in 3D – the Science Museum had it all. On Sunday 14 March, 24 athletes and 47 coaches, not to mention several mothers giving up their mother’s day, got a chance to explore the museum.

“Fly Me to the Moon 3D” an IMAX film about 3 flies who stow away on the first flight to the moon, was a new experience for many of our athletes. Anmol, while not a fan of the glasses, enjoyed the music. Sam spent his time trying to catch the flies coming out the screen and Pace — a big science fan — found it really interesting.

Elsewhere our athletes got a chance to interact with the two hands-on galleries. In “The Garden” a multi-sensory playground, Aaron, Jake and Shine got stuck into with the water play activities. Felix loved the bubble show and Nathan found the area a great source of freedom, getting involved all parts of it.

Way up on the third floor was the “Launch-pad” full of science and technology activities. Sasha was obsessed with the grain pit, and in fact she has found her calling in life working the machine. John-Jo was the expert showing his coach around and how things worked, while Gabriel and James enjoyed exploring the different exhibits.

Some of other athletes also found excitement in other parts of the museum. Parsa, with his love of trains, inspected any exhibit to do with this, often wanting to see what was under and on top them. Elias enjoyed watching the glass lift and Hamilton found the tactile experience of the red plastic drapes engaging.

A fantastic day was had by all, so good that for some athletes such as Darrell, they didn’t want it to end – Cameron.

See photos from the gallery…
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Alexandra Palace : ice skating

It was a cold morning outside and as you expect, cold inside the rink as well. Despite the frosty start, KEEN London’s ice skating trip ended up being great fun.  On Sunday 7 February we had 30 Athletes and 40 coaches supporting them along with a few parents, many of whom made it on the ice as well.

It was Rebecca’s first time on the ice and while her first few laps were spent clinging to the edge, she was very soon speeding away unaided, so fast that she sometimes left her coach Charlotte for dead. We had to call another coach Barbara, who has professional ice skating experience, to try and keep up. 

In contrast Elias, not so confident on ice, did extremely well. With the support of his coaches Ujjwal and Damola he managed to do a few laps, albeit sometimes the wrong way, around the ice

It was fantastic to see the Tylers – John-Jo, Tony and Julie-Ann – being able to come along for their first session in a while. Tony and John-Jo appeared very adept on the ice, while little 4-year old Julia-Ann had a great time.

The coaches did a great job of encouraging the athletes to push their limits. Gabriel, Joe and at times Hamilton, managed to get off the wall when they were aided by coach either side to give them extra balance.

On the flip side, it was James encouraging the coaches to push their limits. A very competitive skater, James spent the majority of his time challenging the coaches to race – which he consistently won!

However my favourite success story was John’s first time trying to skate. John finds new environments incredibly challenging and as result is very hesitant. But with patience and plenty of encouragement he came into the building, put on the skates, walked in the skates and finally tried placing his feet on the ice. For anyone who knows John this a fantastic achievement!

Well done to all the other athletes, you all can be proud of your own personal achievements. Also thank you to the Coaches and Parents who supported them – Cameron.

See photos from the gallery...

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Sainsbury's: The KEEN Christmas party

Like all good Christmas events, the KEEN London Christmas party had all the right ingredients to make it a success – a disco, decorations, fun activities, delicious food and of course Santa himself.  A big amount credit goes to our sponsors of this year’s event the Sainsbury’s HR department.

This year we had a total of 31 Athletes and 31 Coaches and many parents that came along to join in the festivities. Some of the athletes definitely came prepared for it – well done to Rebecca and Shine – the winners of the best dressed competition.

It was extra special for one person – Kate Baker – who after many years of commitment to KEEN has stood down as chairperson to concentrate on her work as a doctor. Thank you for all your hard work and effort Kate.

We had a sumptuous array of food that was purchased with Sainsbury’s donation, but also each family kindly brought a plate to say thank you to coaches and their work over the last year.

There was a fantastic range of activities to do – gingerbread men decorating, disco dancing, face painting, a bubble machine, instant snow, arts ‘n’ crafts, a story telling fairy and the popular favourite - balloon animals!

But the highlight of anything Christmas was the appearance of Santa and his sack full of presents. Every Athlete according to Santa had been good and deserved a gift.

A big thank you goes out to Sainsbury’s our sponsor, DJ Smiley providing the music, Ben Backhouse our photographer, Lucy and Joanne our face painters and Neil the balloon animal maker. Obviously a final thanks goes to all the coaches, parents and finally the athletes for making it a brilliant event!

We look forward to an even better and bigger event next year - Cameron

See photos from the gallery...

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KEEN residential 2013 - Hindleap Warren KEEN London 10th birthday celebrations
© KEEN London 2016