A team of competitive cheerleaders from Thornton Heath is achieving great things at both regional and national levels.
The NM Jets Cheer and Dance Programme, a not-for-profit organisation that prides itself on being fully inclusive, was established 10 years ago. It has grown to encompass several squads, each featuring around 20 athletes.
In 2017, the Jets’ All Stars team came third at the prestigious Future Cheer Internationals, the largest cheer and dance competition in Europe.
In 2014, Jets squads received first place trophies at the FC National Schools Competition. Next year they will be again competing in the Internationals as well as in regional contests.
The programme developed out of a desire to extend the opportunities open to students at Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls, where the squads train.
It has since evolved into an independent operation that draws athletes from the surrounding areas as well as from the school.
Run by volunteers who are passionate about diversity, equality, inclusion and body-positivity, the programme provides fresh opportunities for young people to achieve and feel good about themselves.
The group is part-funded by BBC Children in Need but also raises funds independently.
Over the years, the Jets have supported an ice hockey team, appeared in a music video with MOBO winners Krept and Konan, featured on Radio 1 and performed at a wedding.
Programme Director Jourdon Campbell, said: “Cheerleading is not only a great cardio work-out but also teaches valuable life skills such as the importance of preparation, commitment and how to work as part of a team; every squad member plays an important role in the routines from the flyer to the back spot.
“The cheerleaders learn to respect and support each other, even those on other teams. The more experienced participants mentor the younger ones and several try their hand at coaching. Trust, communication and confidence are major factors when completing stunts and it’s lovely to watch the camaraderie and self-confidence grow as each season progresses.”
The Jets are currently looking for a paid dance tutor who is accustomed to training to national competition standards and can commit to weekly after-school sessions in term-time only.
If you can help, please get in touch with Jourdon: firstname.lastname@example.org