Inclusive gymnastics champion
377. Kay Salter
A 74 year old gymnastics coach from Bexley, London who has coached over 1,800 young people with disabilities through gymnastic classes over the past 30 years.
Kay Salter has been a coach at The Falcon Spartak Gym Club in Sidcup, Kent – part of Special Olympics London and London Gymnastics – for the past 30 years. She runs multiple weekly gymnastics sessions for young people with learning and physical disabilities, dedicating hours of her time nearly every day to volunteer as a coach.
For a number of decades Kay has been recognised as a leading champion for disability gymnastics, running sessions through the Special Olympics GB sports programme. The gym club works with around 60 young people each year, meaning Kay has helped a total of 1,800 young people since she started volunteering. Several of the other coaches at the club are also former disabled gymnasts, who have remained in the sport thanks to Kay’s guidance, tutelage and inspiration.
Kay got involved in disability gymnastics after speaking to parents of children with dyslexia and Down’s syndrome and hearing that they dreaded sports days and similar events. She was moved by this and saw an urgent need for working at a much slower pace and breaking down the very basic skills to help young people with disabilities achieve. Prime Minister
In 2000 Kay co-founded a national competition for disability gymnasts in Poole that has since seen over 2,000 young people compete from across the UK. This competition is aimed at the grassroots of the sport and is open to any gymnast with any disability. It provides a safe, welcoming environment that encourages disability gymnasts to excel and show what they can achieve. Kay encourages disabled gymnasts of all ages and abilities to learn their skills in smaller groups and at their own pace. She works alongside the advice of two physiotherapists to establish individual programmes of activity and behaviour management plans for all gymnasts so they can integrate easily.
David Cameron said:
“Kay has dedicated four decades of her life to making sure young people of all abilities are able to get involved in gymnastics. The incredible impact she has on the lives of those she coaches is shown by the number of gymnasts she inspires to return to the club as coaches themselves. Kay has been a driving force in inclusive sport and thoroughly deserves to be a recognised as a Point of Light.”
“I am amazed to receive this award and feel extremely honoured, however sincere thanks must go to the parents who have allowed their child to come and work in the gym with us over the years and to all the coaches that have also been involved. Thank you so much.”
Local MP, Jo Johnson, said: “I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Kay Salter has been presented with the Point of Light Award by the Prime Minister. Sports clubs, which are such important centres for the local community, simply would not be able to function without people like Kay doing the hard work behind the scenes. I am delighted to hear that she is getting the recognition she deserves, and would like to wish everyone at the Falcon Spartak Gym Club well for the future.”