Everyday Heroes: Chloe Hunt
Chloe is an 18 year old boccia, kurling and gymnastics coach from Thirsk, a small market town in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire where she runs a session called Primetime. The Primetime programme engages with lonely and isolated members of the local communities, using age appropriate sports and activities as a draw, but incorporating a 'tea break' so that they can chat and socialise.
There are many remarkable things about this group, but one of them is definitely their coach, Chloe Hunt. Chloe was born with cerebral palsy, erbs palsy and scoliosis of the spine. Her mother was told that she would never be able to hold or carry anything and that she would require full-time care. Chloe is currently preparing for the Special Olympics in Sheffield next year where she will participate on the beam, floor, bars and vault!
Gymnastics has undoubtedly physically turning her life around and a friend who encouraged her to join a gymnastics club at the age of 14 certainly deserves some of the credit. When she joined she was in a wheelchair having been told that she would always be bound to one, she certainly couldn’t do a forward roll. “It has made me stronger and much slimmer and trimmer than some of my conditions might have made me.”
Chloe struggled both academically and socially at school, however, is thriving in the Primetime environment. Unable to access college due to her learning and physical difficulties Chloe decided to start volunteering and ending up shadowing another coach who quickly became her mentor. However, when he left she agreed to take the Primetime session on and has gone from strength to strength.
Chloe makes up a lot of the game herself, spending hours planning her weekly session and even making her family practice the games at home beforehand to help with her confidence. "I prefer to practice the sessions the night before to make sure that it runs smoothly… I find it easier to know what to do on the day then… You have to deal with other disabilities, there are people in wheelchairs, those who are able and some who struggle to concentrate or remember. I adapt the games for their needs.”
Chloe wants to keep coaching and although she is finding it challenging she is currently undertaking her level one in gymnastics. She is clearly ambitious and wants to be taken seriously as a coach, “A qualification will mean that people continue to take notice of me.”
For Chloe it is a chance not to blend into the background, but to be able to take charge and know that people are paying attention to her. "It is good for me to get out and speak in front of people to help build my confidence… I want older people to think that there is something out there for them… I don't want them to think I am old now and my life is over… I like making them happy and seeing that they are out and doing things. I like being with them and I really enjoy it.”
Share your thought's on Chloe's story plus any coaching stories of your own using #CoachingHeroes on twitter
Feeling inspired by Chloe's story?
Sainsbury's Inclusive Community Training
You could play an important role in making active lives possible via this workshop supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by EFDS and Sports Coach UK.
This three hour practical workshop and online resources, will support you to:
- Learn about practical tools to support inclusive delivery
- Explore creative ideas to support disabled people to take part in physical activity and sport
- Learn about local groups, activities and further training opportunities.