Salford cheerleading

A Salford-based special abilities cheerleading group has taken home the gold for England after winning the World Championships in Florida.

England’s first special abilities unified pom team were awarded the gold last week at the International Cheerleading Union World Cheerleading Championships 2024.

Carol Corbishley, from Eccles, said her 15-year-old daughter, Jazmyne, was “absolutely elated” to win gold. 

“We’re still trying to take in what they did and what they won,” she added. 

Image of Jazmyne and her mum, Carol.

Georgina Stafford, from Salford originally, teaches the team of 11 cheerleaders with special educational needs and disabilities at The Power House in Swinton.

She said: “It’s just incredible, it’s an incredible achievement for the girls, they’ve worked so hard for it. I would say it’s hands down my greatest achievement as a coach.”

Georgina said the team is an amazing safe space for the girls to socialise.

Salford cheerleading
Image of the coach, Georgina.

“We get to see the true characters of the young people. We get to see them being happy, enjoying themselves and we get to see them being social with each other as well,” Georgina added. 

“This doesn’t always happen in society as people with disabilities are sometimes kept away from normal mainstream activities.

“It’s great to see them being able to do what their neurotypical peers are doing.

“A lot of the narrative about a young person growing up with a disability is about what they’ll never be able to do or what they can’t do, rather than what they can do.”

Carol also hopes that this achievement will be able to encourage other sports teams to offer a special abilities section.

Carol said: “It feels like we’re paving the way for something bigger in the future.

“It was wonderful to be the first team but we hope that this shows other teams that you can put a team of athletes together with special needs and that they can achieve what their neurotypical peers can achieve.”

Carol said that the cheer team has helped Jazmyne, who has ADHD, autism and dyspraxia, socialise better.

She added: “Typically children with additional needs don’t have many friends outside of school because all the people they go to school with all have similar difficulties.

“But she’s got a great group of friends that she can now see outside of school. For her, that’s massive because she is quite a social person.”

Helen Tate, from Bolton, said the competition has been “the experience of a lifetime” for her 19-year-old daughter, Emily, who has Down syndrome.

Image of Helen’s daughter, Emily.

Helen added: “To see your child being presented with a gold medal while hearing the national anthem is a moment that no parent will ever forget.”

Helen said the girls have developed “such strong bonds” with each other and the neurotypical unified partners on the team.

Georgina said a lot of the athletes would “love to go back” and defend their title next year, however this may depend on funding.

Georgina added: “We’re just going to focus on growing our team at the moment.”

One Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *