Over the past 2 months, British Taekwondo has been working in partnership with Manchester United Foundation to coordinate and deliver an Inclusive Taekwondo Project to some of the foundation’s partner schools.

After a successful partnership project in 2023 that saw 2 SEN schools receive a block of taekwondo delivery and a visit to the 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Prix held in Manchester, both organisations wanted to develop on this, and offer the opportunity to more young people across the region.

This project saw 6 different SEN and mainstream secondary schools across Greater Manchester taking part in Taekwondo taster sessions over a 6-week period, with the aim of introducing the pupils to taekwondo and help build their confidence towards physical activity.  In the final week of the project, these schools were invited down to our National Taekwondo Centre for a celebration event and were given the chance to show off their taekwondo skills in front of some of the GB Taekwondo athletes.

Manchester United Foundation’s CEO, John Shiels, popped down to the celebration event, ‘To come to a sporting venue like this, and to have Olympic and Paralympic athletes present and engaging with the children, will hopefully inspire them to enjoy exercise and physical activity. Everything is always about the young people, and they’ve obviously had a fantastic time today, you can see that.’

Olympic athlete Caden Cunningham also got himself involved when the schools came down, ‘For me, it’s really important to get involved in these events. I started in a school, so it rings home for me. Also, so much goes on in a child’s mind, so it’s so good to have something to funnel that into and express themselves and opportunities like today allow them to do that.’

Our Manchester Development Officer, Sophie Jameson, led this project alongside the foundation and has been able to see first-hand the impact taekwondo has had on some of these children. ‘Everyone left with a smile on their face and that’s all we really ask for.

When talking about the importance of projects and events like this, Sophie said ‘It’s great to be able to demonstrate how inclusive Taekwondo really is and how the different variations of the sport can be adapted to meet so many needs. I think projects like this really show that and to have both SEN and mainstream schools joining together at the celebration event and enjoying getting involved collectively is a big step forward in breaking down barriers for these young people. More than anything, events like this give people a positive experience with sport and that in itself can have a massive impact on their relationship with physical activity.’

In the two weeks since the celebration event, British Taekwondo has received some amazing feedback from the schools, our coaches, and Manchester United Foundation coaches, and we will be looking to grow this partnership into the future to ensure we continue to give people opportunities to try Taekwondo and use our sport to engage and inspire young people.

Thank you to JM Taekwondo’s Jason Mayoh, and community coach Leyla Palser for joining this project and inspiring these young people to find their own voice and confidence in physical activity!

Thank you to GB Taekwondo and their athletes, Beth Munro, Caden Cunningham, Josh Tobin, and Logan Miller for supporting this event.

If you would like to get in touch about offering Taekwondo to your school/ group, or have an interest in finding out more about how to get involved in the sport, please contact Sophie at manchester.development@britishtaekwondo.org.