19 September 2022

Kids with disabilities given the opportunity to 'Spin Out' and learn circus skills

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Isaac Fletcher and Emma Davidson

Warehouse Circus coach Isaac Fletcher and Minister for Disability Emma Davidson at a Youth Spin Out class in Chifley. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

A unique weekly program run by Canberra’s youth circus organisation, Warehouse Circus, has been announced as one of 14 Disability Inclusion Grant recipients.

“Spin Out” aims to create a fun and engaging environment for children with all abilities to participate in, learn performance and social skills, and make new friends.

It also aims to help children and young adults with autism feel better connected to the community, while building their confidence and skillset.

Warehouse Circus coach and head of social circus Isaac Fletcher said Spin Out was all-abilities inclusive.

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“It’s for pretty much anybody who won’t fit into a standard program, who’s really keen to get engaged, use their body and jump around,” Isaac said.

“[Spin Out] started out a bit over a decade ago with a specific class for people with complex disabilities, but it’s grown to much more than that now.

“It caters for anybody who wants to have a go and get into it. It has been so beneficial for many families. If a kid just wants to come in and play in the corner, then we’re absolutely in support of that.”

Spin Out began as an in-school project for two ACT Schools, Black Mountain and Woden, in 2013 and was initially funded for a year.

After it took off, grants became available to continue funding the classes both in and outside of schools.

Isaac said Warehouse Circus runs youth and adult group classes as well as private classes for kids who need more support.

Participants are taught skills such as juggling, spinning plates, hoops, beam, unicycle, tumbling, trampoline and aerial activities, which are all adapted to each individual.

Warehouse Circus, ACT

Warehouse Circus holds several classes each week for children with mixed abilities. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Isaac said his favourite part of the job was getting to know the kids and learning how to engage them.

“I wholeheartedly support any program that can let kids be kids, regardless of their ability,” he said.

“The benefits [of the program] are very realistic. The most valuable thing the kids get out of this is a space is that they’re able to be themselves, self explore and challenge themselves.

“Seeing the kids grow in confidence and feel excited to come here to feel accepted with all abilities being welcomed is just fantastic.”

ACT Minister for Disability Emma Davidson said the ACT Government valued the work that community organisations were doing in supporting people with disabilities.

“I’ve been having a great time checking out some of the programs that people are running, and seeing the difference that it makes to people’s lives to be able to come and do something that they love and that makes them feel great,” she said.

“When it comes down to it, everyone deserves to feel joy, and there is nothing that’s going to do that for you quite like doing something physical, while also having spaces to do it.”

To find out more or register for a Spin Out class, visit Warehouse Circus.

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