Minnie & Dylan from Redwood School in Rochdale took part in the AQA Unlocking Potential programme in the 2017/18 academic year. As part of the programme, they have to deliver a social action project that brings a benefit to their local community. The film below tells their story...

All students at Redwood school in Rochdale have some form of special educational need and studies have shown that outside of PE lessons at school, they were very inactive. Minnie & Dylan both felt this was a really powerful statement and so as part of the AQA Unlocking Potential programme they went away to plan and deliver a social action project that would help more students at Redwood school get active.

Alongside Jenna Downing, their athlete mentor, they planned a whole series of events and activities to help students develop a passion for sport and exercise. These events included an inclusive obstacle race that everyone from their school was able to take part in. Minnie & Dylan explained more about how inclusive the event was:

We’ve got clever ways of letting wheelchair users take part as well. On the balance beam section we put a line on the floor and they have to keep one wheel on that line and on the stepping stones section they could go in and out of the stones.

The AQA Unlocking Potential programme is run by world class athletes who acts as a mentor to the young people throughout the programme. Jenna Downing is a former champion inline skater and was really impressed by the impact Minnie & Dylan’s sessions had on the other students:

It’s just been fantastic seeing 76 students get involved in something practical, getting active with big smiles on their faces…

The progress both Dylan and Minnie have made since the being on the programme is amazing to see. Dylan was mute and wasn’t able to talk to adults and Minnie was very shy and wouldn’t really talk to people either. Both were really inspired by Jenna and some of the obstacles she has overcome in her life and as Dylan said, ‘If she can make such a change, why can’t I?’

Minnie & Dylan on stage with athlete mentor Jenna Downing

Following the video shoot, both Minnie & Dylan attended the AQA Unlocking Potential Celebration event in London in July 2018. Despite being nervous, both went up on stage and with Jenna, talked about their experiences on the programme in front of over 120 people. As Minnie says about the programme - ‘It changes everything... for the better.’