A man with cerebral palsy who works for a care organisation has overcome his condition to become a qualified coach in a Paralympic sport.
Determined Matthew Palamarczuk, 29, teaches a sport called Boccia to the residents at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham where he works as an admin assistant.
Becasuse of his fantastic work he has also won the Promoting of Fulfilled Lives award, sponsored by Boots Care Services, at the Wales Care Awards.
The glittering awards night at City Hall, Cardiff, which celebrates best practice for the care sector in Wales, is run by Care Forum Wales.
Matthew, from Gresford, has gained a Boccia Leaders Award to teach the Paralympic sport.
The target ball game which is similar to bowls is for athletes with disabilities that have a major impact on motor skills.
To gain the award, Matthew had to show that he is proficient in things such as teaching skills, understanding the needs of players and empowering them, introducing creativity and fun into sessions, and structuring activities.
Despite his condition, which keeps him wheelchair bound, and severely restricts his movement and speech, Matthew has become an integral part of the admin team at Pendine Park.
Matthew fell in love with the sport whilst watching it for the first time during the London Paralympic Games of 2012.
Great Britain sent a full team of nine players into the games and won two medals, a silver and bronze.
Matthew said: “I’ve been playing Boccia for over a year. I like throwing the balls and seeing how close I can get them to the target.
“The game is a lot of fun and it’s very competitive and I definitely play to win.
“The residents enjoy it as well, and I enjoy teaching it to them.”
Matthew’s condition certainly hasn’t stopped him from being active. He belongs to the Riding for the Disabled Association in Llanfynydd, near Wrexham, goes on annual skiing holidays the French Alps, and has a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. He has been working at Pendine Park care organisation for over a year.
Matthew added: “The cerebral palsy makes it harder to get around because I can’t walk and it also makes it much harder for me to speak. My speech is stilted.
“But I just get on with it. There’s no point getting worked up about it.
“I’m very lucky to have friends and family who have supported me throughout my life.
“I work at Pendine Park on a normal PC and I also use a tablet because my condition makes it hard for me to write.
“I was just looking for something to do so I asked if I could help out at Pendine Park. They were so impressed with my work that they put me on the books. This is my first proper job.
“I like working at Pendine Park a lot because I like the people here.”
Christine Jones, 70, a resident at Bryn Bella care home at Pendine Park care organisation, said: “I enjoy playing Boccia – it’s something different. Matt is so good at setting it up – he definitely knows what he’s doing that’s for sure, and he’s very enthusiastic.”
Bryn Bella care home resident Tracey Wilde, 50, added: “I like doing art at Pendine Park. I do drawing, painting, and colouring in the art classes. I like to draw pictures of houses, animals and plants.”
Nicky Clarke, activities and wellbeing coordinator at Bryn Bella said: “The residents really enjoy it. They look forward to it, and we have a bit of a laugh and a bit of a joke. It’s just something a bit different and it gets their muscles going. It’s getting more and more popular with the residents.
“Matt is very enthusiastic. We look forward to seeing him at work every morning with his nice big smile. It’s brilliant that he’s brought this new game into the home. He’s very proactive and very determined.”
For more information about Boccia visit www.gb-boccia.org and for more information about Pendine Park care organisation visit www.pendinepark.com or call 01978 720 242.