Three of the O’s first team squad took time out on Tuesday afternoon to visit ELHAP, a local adventure playground based in Woodford Bridge, that is open to visiting special and mainstream schools for morning and afternoon adventure play sessions throughout term time as well as holiday playschemes and term time Saturday Clubs throughout the year for disabled and disadvantaged children from across North East London and Essex areas.
Just a couple of miles from the O’s training ground, goalkeeper Alex Cisak, midfielder Nigel Atangana and defender Yvan Erichot, popped into the charity to tour the facilities and meet the children, young people and staff, gaining an insight into the important work that ELHAP has to offer.
A spokesperson for the charity said, “All our playschemes provide much needed adventure play opportunities. ELHAP believes every child needs to have fun, to make mess, to have time and space to be themselves.”
The club will also be supporting ELHAP on Saturdaay as they have been invited to attend the game against Yeovil Town, utilising the new Fans For Diversity Hub.
Some of the charities volunteers will be in and around the ground shaking their buckets as donations are always gratefully received and the money put to excellent use. Currently work is being undertaken in the ELHAP Orchard Project. This is a completely unique and new project for young people and adults with learning disabilities.
The Orchard Project has transformed from the ELHAP Day Service that ran for over 20 years. Rather than being based on leisure and recreation, the new Orchard Project focuses on nature, horticulture, arts, skills development and adventure.
Based in ELHAP’s own ancient Orchard nature reserve, service users access one of three groups:
1) Young People who are transitioning into adulthood and who may not ‘fit’ into the more common day services or colleges. Young people can access the service one or two days a week whilst in their final years of school to help the transition process.
2) Adults who need or want to develop their work based skills, including supported volunteering with children, carpentry, horticulture and gardening.
3) Adults with specialist needs who need day opportunities that focus on nature, arts and wildlife.
Rachel Joseph, ELHAP Development Manager, said afterwards, “It was fantastic having the players visit us. The support and partnerships between organisations in their local communities can really help awareness and today has had such a positive effect – the children have loved it. We can’t wait to come to the stadium on Saturday and hope that we can maintain a close link with the club.”
And facility manager, Rob Dighton, said, “So many of our children, families and staff are die-hard Leyton Orient fans, so the support of the club is especially relevant. We’re so grateful – we love Leyton Orient!”
Some of the children and their families will also be the pre-match flag bearers at Saturday’s game whilst others will be taking penalties against Orient’s mascot Theo at half time. Please give them your support.
For more information on ELHAP please go to www.ELHAP.org.uk or call 020 8550 2636