Making CADS count

With the end of term holidays fast approaching, Seashell Trust’s CADS activity programme is getting ready to open its doors to local kids with and without disabilities. This week, we look at some commonly asked questions about how we’re able to offer activities to meet a wide range of needs, and why exactly that’s so important.

So how does CADS work?

CADS stands for Children’s Able and Disabled Sports, and was created with the whole aim of providing sports activities for all children. Now, more than ten years after our very first CADS, we’ve worked alongside professional artists, musicians and dancers to offer more leisure activities, and we’re able to offer several clubs during term time as well as all-day programmes over the holidays.

The clubs are more focused; they’re all structured around an activity, so we have our Climbing club on Tuesdays, Basketball on Thursdays. During the holidays, we usually run activities from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon so the days are packed with a lot of different activities.

What does inclusion look like?

You mean in terms of practicalities, or…?

Let’s start with the practical.

At Seashell, we are able to open our CADS up to all levels of ability, so there can be children with a wide range of different needs. Our staff and volunteers are responsible for leading the session and supporting the group as a whole; for some children with more complex needs, they might need one-to-one support as well, which we are able to arrange.

Sports and art and other activities are great in themselves, and we think it’s important that all kids have opportunities to enjoy them. But at CADS, games are also social events, they’re about bringing people together, and we want to give everyone the chance to play as part of a team, or to cheer one another on when they try the climbing wall, or to get competitive and work harder. For example, kids who have communication difficulties sometimes find that sports are a really good way to start interacting with other children – when you’re already part of a shared activity, it’s easier to make yourself understood.

And that’s why inclusive sports matters?

Well, there are other benefits you can talk about. Sport can be used to keep you healthy, or to boost self-esteem, or to help you regulate your moods, and those are all good things too.

What’s really important, I think, is that sport is fun. Anyone can play sport, no matter what level of ability. CADS just gives more children the chance to enjoy it together.

Our next CADS holiday programme is the 21st-22nd December. To book your child's place, please see online booking form here. If you are interested in volunteering with CADS to make inclusive sport available for more children, please contact