A trampolinist enjoyed a night on the red carpet at a sports awards ceremony for his work with a Banbury club.
Michael Bunyan, 24, was selected for the TSB Young Leaders Programme, run in partnership with Sported, for his work with Ricochet Trampoline Club..
The 24-year-old and his mother Karen were invited to the Pride of Sport Awards in London on Thursday night (December 6).
Ricochet's ethos is that no matter what troubles you are having, once you’re on a trampoline, you can’t help but bounce your troubles away.
“It’s what we want for all our members at Ricochet Trampoline Club,” said Karen, who opened the club more than three years ago.
“The area is a little deprived and I know a lot of youngsters can easily stray into the wrong crowd. But by coming here, we’re offering them hope and a place to feel safe.
“We have members with different disabilities, including ADHD, autism, as we want everyone to integrate… it means our members are friends with people they might not necessarily even come into contact with,” she says.
Michael has Asperger’s, and Karen says that coaching has helped him grow in confidence.
“He’s our technical wizard and he likes it as he knows nobody is judging him, and he can understand the anxieties that some of our members have,” she says.
“People make friends across boundaries, which is amazing. Everybody claps when someone does something, we are truly a little family.”
There are about 130 full time members of the club, aged from two to 60.
Karen said: “You can’t trampoline and not smile. Youngsters can let off any aggression just bouncing away, leave calmer and happier.”
Members are sometimes referred by their school or doctor, and the club works hard to make sure any difficulties they have are dealt with in the best possible way.
“We might have a recovering anorexic come to us, for example,” says Karen.
“We teach them that exercise can be fun and rewarding, but also explain how important it is to have a healthy diet to keep up with the sport. We work with whoever needs us.
"We will do one on one sessions if the person needs it, our aim is to make it as open as possible to everyone.
“By coming here, we build awareness, confidence, respect, and a future… for that hour or however long they bounce, they don’t have a care in the world.
"And they know they can aim as high as they want for anything else.”