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CEO offers free paddle boarding to disabled children

Benjamin Peters in a canoe
Benjamin Peters in a canoe Image credit: bbc.co.uk

The CEO of WhatsupUK has changed the lives of disabled children and their families by offering free paddle boarding sessions in Somerset.

Benjamin Peters (pictured above) launched the organisation after realising how difficult it was to find a suitable activity for his daughter, who has autism, and other youngsters with various levels of disabilities.

WhatsupUK asks customers to make a donation so it can provide free paddle boarding to disabled children using adapted boards.

One person who has benefitted by the scheme is 11-year-old Oliva Hearle from Somerset who has not had a pleasant experience on the water.

Her mum Emmy told the BBC: "I saw her standing up on the water and I was just stunned and lost for words at how brave she was.

"She's a different confident person now.

"Liv had swimming lessons when she was younger and they didn't go very well but since doing paddle boarding she's taken them up again.

"It's been life changing."

Oscar from Somerset has also found a new lease of life with the paddle boarding sessions.

The seven-year-old is an incomplete paraplegic after being involved in a spinal cord injury when he was four.

His mother Nikki Arnold said: "Oscar couldn't to do any physio for a year, he really needed this.

"We're so lucky because Ben is the only person in the UK with these boards that allow disabled people to take part.

Mr Peters said: "Facilities to help families that use social care services were just not there during Covid, so being able to provide ways to help disabled children get out there and get socialised again is everything."

Benjamin Peters intends to install a mobile disabled changing unit in 2022 so more disabled people can access his service.