Youngsters with additional needs are being given a kickstart in boosting their confidence with the help of a South Tyneside kickboxer.
Jade Orne has launched a series of camps specialising in the martial art for youngsters aged from five to 16 who attend the Odd Socks group.
The foundation, created by mums Nicola Winthorpe and Lynsey Baxter, provides a place where families of youngsters with a range of disabilities can go for help, advice and support.
Since the first camps took place at Hebburn Martial Arts Centre, on the Victoria Road Industrial Estate, in November, the number of children taking part has grown.
Some youngsters - who have a range of special needs including autism, ADHD and Aspergers - are now looking to compete in mainstream competitions.
Jade, 32, said: “Since November we have been running six-week programme, but we have some who have excelled at the basic training and could soon be competing in mainstream competitions.
I never thought when I first started the classes, I would have young people at a level to compete.Jade Orne
“When I started I had around eight children attending, but now we have around 20 young people taking part.
“It’s brilliant and the kids are amazing. I am in the process of applying for licences, and hopefully in a few months’ time we will see some of the young people competing.
“I never thought when I first started the classes I would have young people at a level to compete.”
Mrs Winthorpe said: “The feedback we’ve had from parents since the children started the classes are that they are becoming much more confident in themselves.
“They are also enjoying the social side of it too, they have made friends and are enjoying working together.
“There’s not a lot of classes that accommodate young people with additional needs, so to see them thrive in a class designed for them is brilliant to see.
“The parents also benefit from the classes, as it gives them a chance to sit and chat to each other.
“We are all so excited about the fact our kids are going to soon be competing within mainstream competitions.
“It’s just so nice they are going to be included.”
For more information on Odd Socks, visit Odd Socks Foundation on Facebook.