Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Little Kickers CEO, Christine Stanschus, ranks No.50 on the W100


— PROFIT and Canadian Business unveil 18th annual list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs

PROFIT and Canadian Business today ranked Christine Stanschus No. 50 on the 18th annual W100 list of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs. Published today at PROFITguide.com, the W100 ranks female entrepreneurs using a proprietary formula that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the businesses they own and manage.

“The members of the 2016 W100 each possess the talent and tenacity to start and grow a successful business,” said James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business.  “Their remarkable achievements serve as proof that ambitious, risk-taking female entrepreneurs are integral to the growth of the Canadian economy."

“Little Kickers is honoured to be on the W100 ranking,” says CEO Christine Stanschus. “This achievement reflects the strength of our product and the incredible dedication of our team.”

"Thanks to our network of passionate and hardworking franchisees, the business has flourished since it's creation back in 2002."

Full W100 editorial coverage will also appear in the June 2016 issue of Canadian Business and online at Chatelaine.com.

www.LittleKickers.co.uk

www.Facebook.com/LittleKickers

www.Twitter.com/LittleKickers 


About the W100

Now in its 18th year, the W100 ranking of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs is Canada's largest celebration of achievement by women business owners. Produced by the editors of PROFIT and Canadian Business, the rankings and extended coverage of the women honoured are published in print and online. Applicants to the 2016 W100 were ranked using a proprietary formula that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the companies they own and manage. To see this year's complete ranking and find links to full W100 editorial coverage, visit http://www.profitguide.com/w100.

Little Kickers boasts four different football classes each tailored to a different age group. However, we have two core beliefs that we take into every session.
Firstly, we believe in something we call “Play not Push”. It means teaching football in a fun, pressure-free environment. We want to give children a positive introduction to sport as a whole, not just football, so they’re more likely to stay healthy and active throughout their lives.

Secondly, we believe football can be educational. Coached in the right way it can stimulate imagination and aid early development skills such as learning colours and numbers, following instructions and playing as a team.

It’s an approach that has bagged us numerous awards and helped us expand globally over the last 12 years. And like all our Kickers, we never stop learning. We’re continually improving and updating our classes, based on feedback and input from child health specialists as well as our network of over 1,500 football coaches worldwide.

Media contact
Daniel Brownlie - dbrownlie@littlekickers.co.uk 


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Jadon: Kicking On Regardless



Little Kickers run fun-filled sessions for everyone! We are commonly asked whether we are able to include children with what are perceived to be disabilities. We want to include absolutely everybody, our classes are designed so that no child feels isolated and everyone can progress at their own rate with a helping hand being offered every step of the way by our amazing coaches.

We've had some fantastic feedback from parents who feel that their children's social skills have improved at an amazing rate. We've always emphasised the idea that we are #MoreThanJustFootball, but we are so pleased it's recognised by you as well!

We'd like you to meet Claire. Claires son, Jadon, has been enjoying our classes like every other Little Kicker. Jadon, however, has a condition known as Fibular Hemimelia. 

We'll let Claire tell you a little more...

Jadon has been going to Little Kickers for some time now, he absolutely loves it! 

Jadon was born with Fibular Hemimelia a condition that causes a partial or total lack of fibular bone. He wears a prosthetic leg but please don't let that that will stop him from doing what he loves!


I have to admit, when Jadon was around 11 months old, he sadly had to have his amputation. I am so pleased to say, however, that he bounced back with such resilience and at an incredible rate. He soon became the active two year old we know today. 

He lets nothing stand in his way and you will never hear him moan about a thing! He is my little brave monkey, a nickname we gave to him due to his cheeky nature!

We love coming to Little Kickers, thank you for the wonderful classes. They have given him so much confidence, he simply loves it. Coach Adam is great with him and all the kids. I find it helps his balance and co-ordination not to mention his listening skills.

We LOVE hearing that Jadon is continuing to enjoy his classes. 

To find out more visit: http://www.fibularhemimelia.uk or www.facebook.com/fibularhemimeliaawareness/

Remembering Tyler


We were very sad to hear that we tragically lost one of Little Kickers, Tyler, late last year. Here, his father Steve, talks to us about his story and explains what is now being done to leave a lasting legacy. 

Tyler was born at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, on Monday 7th January 2013. If I had to use one word to best describe Tyler, it would be cheeky. He was the kind of child that made an instant impression and if you walked into a room you couldn't fail to notice him. Whether because of his beautiful big blue eyes, his infectious smile or simply because he was the one running round making the most noise, you knew he was there. This was particularly evident during his attendance at Little Kickers' sessions, where he would often be seen running round the hall pretending to be an aeroplane or lifting his shirt up to show everyone his belly. He always had a big cheeky smile on his face.
          
He was very intelligent boy. He asked questions constantly, soaking information up like a sponge and always managing to surprise us with his level of knowledge, particularly when it came to dinosaurs and animals. Tyler loved to sing and dance to everything! From Baa Baa Black Sheep to Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off', he just didn't stop.


There was also a very caring side to Tyler and he could always tell when something wasn't quite right and be there to give you a kiss or a 'big squeeze'. In March 2015 Tyler became a big brother to his Sister, Pixie, and from day one they were completely besotted with each other. He was the Entertainer and She was his Audience. Whether it was playing 'Peek-a-boo' or begrudgingly letting her play with his trains, he was always there for her. His caring nature was particularly visible when it came to Pixie and he would always give her a cuddle and tell her it's ok if she was upset. He even managed to give her a kiss and say goodbye before being taken away in the ambulance on the 6th November 2015. He was an amazing little boy.


In November 2015, Tyler was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Group A Streptococcus, which caused Septicaemia.  From the moment we arrived, Tyler had the undivided attention of an amazing team of people. I could tell that there were some very special people looking after him, not just from their ability as medical practitioners, but also in the way they cared for him. They were incredible, trying absolutely everything to save Tyler. Sadly, his little body couldn't keep battling – it gave up after his sixth cardiac arrest, just as the team were preparing him for a heart and lung bypass.


Group A Streptococcus is a bacterium that can cause a wide range of infections. People may also carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most strep infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo (a skin infection). Occasionally these bacteria can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases. 


These bacteria are spread through direct contact with mucus from the nose or throat of people who are sick with a strep infection or through contact with infected wounds or sores on the skin. The bacteria may also be spread through contract with people without actual symptoms but who carry the bacteria in their throat or on their skin. Those with symptoms are most likely to spread the infection and people who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are much less contagious. 

Sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury.  In sepsis, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection.  This can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys.  Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death.



Sadly Tyler contracted both of these conditions and wasn’t able to fight them.  Tyler passed away on November 6th 2015. 

 We have been amazed by the support of our friends and family. Tyler's 'Just Giving' page was actually set up by a family friend as a way for people to make a donation in memory of Tyler if they wished to. Having seen first-hand the remarkable work at GOSH, we decided to develop his Just Giving page and set up The Tyler Stephen Reader Brighter Future Fund as a way to remember him while raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Tyler was too special to leave this world without making a mark and we feel that his Brighter Future Fund is a fitting legacy to his memory and also allows us to track what has been raised from each of our fundraising events. Since Tyler passed away we have raised over £11,500. We’ve got so many plans for the year ahead but all lead up to 'Tyler's Playtime Ball'. This will be the 1st Annual Tyler Reader Charity Ball and is being held at The Conservatory at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden on Saturday 12th November 2016. The process of planning these events has given us a sense of purpose and something to focus on at such a difficult time. It helps us to honour Tyler's memory and remember the happiness he brought to us.

If you too would like to donate, simply visit www.justgiving.com/Tyler-Reader.
Follow the story on Twitter: @Remember_Tyler
If you would like to help Sponsor Tyler's Playtime Ball please contact Steve on RememberTyler@hotmail.com









Monday, 14 December 2015

Spotlight: An Interview With Jacqui Oatley


We were over the moon that Jacqui agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to hold a conversation with us. Jacqui is a fabulous presenter on many sports shows, including the BBC's live women's football coverage, plus she anchored the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup held in Canada earlier this year. Jacqui was also the first woman to commentate on Match of the Day. She talks to us today about her experiences going into the World Cup tournament and the impact it's had on the women's game. A huge thank you to Jacqui, here is what she had to say...



We loved watching the World Cup, it was gripping throughout (we loved your coverage too!) What were your thoughts going into the World Cup and how did they live up to expectations? 

Thanks. I was a little worried about England's prospects. Nobody was too sure about who would play in which positions and it seemed the players weren't too sure what to expect, so it was a time of uncertainty. The opening France game was a real concern as the players apparently had no confidence in their ability to retain the ball and attack, but we were all delighted that the team grew into the tournament and were able to have a real impact.

What has seen the biggest impact since the World Cup?

Awareness. The main thing I notice is that people know about the England women's team now: the players, managers, etc. I'm often stopped by fans outside their Premier League clubs and they want to talk about the women, not the men. I'm astounded by it because it's so new. But I'm delighted that people finally know that women can play football to a high standard! It's just such a shame it's taken so long. Now they need to buy tickets for matches and develop a culture of going back every home game.

What do you think is the best way forward for grassroots football?

Good facilities, good coaches, supportive (but not domineering) parents and enthusiastic young players wanting to get the best out of themselves and each other.

It was really interesting to see the media coverage that came with the World Cup - the togetherness of the team was well documented but it was also clear to see from any interviews or coverage of the team. Obviously the talent in the squad was incredible, in terms of the spirit they demonstrated, how much of an impact do you think that had on their success? 

I think the players deserve a huge amount of credit for the way they worked their way through the tournament. It seems they were stung by criticism after the France game but they didn't let it get them down. They made sure they again stuck to their game plan in the following games and played to their maximum. To be devastated by not beating the reigning world champions in the semi-finals shows how far they had come.

In all circuits of the game, what do you think creates a successful team/player? 

Individuals looking after themselves properly, eating the right foods, training the right way with the right mindset and encouraging those around them to do the same. Challenging themselves and each other to break new boundaries - not be content with doing things the way they’ve always been done, just for the sake of it. Above all, the team must be greater than the sum of its parts. Team organisation, spirit and desire can take you a long way. 

Especially within the women's game, what can be done, in your opinion, to continue to build on the success we've had this year? 

Everyone needs to do their bit - players and teams must strive to be better and more professional. Fans must buy tickets and merchandise and encourage friends and family to do the same. That will encourage media outlets to want to be involved but the media doesn’t owe the game anything as such. Large crowds and an exciting spectacle will attract sponsors and media alike. 

We are very pleased to have a very talented group of coaches. Who were your role models growing up within the game? Did you have a female coach/footballer that you remember looking up to?

No! Sadly, women’s football wasn’t on television when I was very young. Then I saw Hope Powell and Karen Walker’s generation for just one season on Channel 4. I never had a favourite female player, only male players at my local club. Steve Bull of Wolverhampton Wanderers and England was plastered all over my bedroom walls! I’m so happy that young girls now have a raft of star players to look up to - not only with England but at their local clubs too. 

A big thank you to Jacqui once again for allowing us the time to interview her. A truly great insight from a wonderfully talented lady.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Cooking With Kids: Spaghetti & meatballs (with hidden veg sauce)


We are very lucky to have spoken to Robert Prendergast. Robert, who was Head Chef for the England Women's team during their stay in Canada for the World Cup, has very kindly cooked up a recipe for you to try out with your kids. 

Whilst looking after the English Ladies World Cup team in Canada recently we had to be very aware of diet and ensuring the team and staff got a balanced, healthy yet varied selection of menus. Understanding what we eat is very important and has a lasting effect on our attitude, bodies and energy levels. To proceed in the world of professional sport we need to be educated and committed to eating correctly. - Robert Prendergast


For the meatballs

·          300g good quality pork sausages (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
·          500g lean beef mince
·          1 small onion, coarsely grated
·          1 carrot, finely grated
·          1 tbsp dried oregano
·          50g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
·          1 medium egg
·          1 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce
·         1 tbsp olive oil
·         1 courgette, coarsely grated
·         3 garlic cloves, finely grated
·         1 tbsp tomato purée
·         Pinch caster sugar
·         Splash red wine vinegar
·         2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

 To serve
  • ·           Cooked spaghetti

Method

1.   Children: Squeeze all the sausage meat out of the sausage skins into a large bowl and add the mince. Tip all the rest of the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl and season with black pepper then squish everything together through your hands until completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure they don’t taste any of the raw mix.
2.     
      Children: Roll the meatball mix into walnut-sized balls and place them on a plate – this is a job children as young as 2 can help with and a great job to help teach older children basic division.
3.     
      Grown ups: While the children are rolling the meatballs make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 5 mins until soft and mushy. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar leave for 1 min then tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. If your children like courgettes then you can leave the sauce chunky. But if, like mine, they hate courgettes then blitz the sauce with a hand blender – either way continue to simmer sauce gently while you cook the meatballs. If your child is confident with heat, from 7+ they can cook the sauce with supervision.
4.     
      Grown ups: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and, working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides then pop them into the sauce – continue to simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring very gently until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with cooked spaghetti, extra grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves your child has picked and torn.

Healthy eating is important for everyone, especially children, to ensure that they receive all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Eating well and being physically active will improve your children’s health as well as their ability to learn and achieve at school. Encouraging your children to eat healthily now will make them more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle as they get older.

Modern society has us surrounded by high sugary drinks and foods. We know we need to watch how much sugar we eat each day, but the new guidelines mean that we need to try to reduce this even further.
The problem is that too much sugar means extra calories, which in turn can lead to stored fat in the body and diseases like heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Around a quarter of the added sugar in kids’ diets comes from sugary drinks. That’s why the new advice is that sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet. Swap to water; lower-fat milks; sugar free, diet and no added sugar drinks instead.
Eating too much sugar can also cause tooth decay, so be sure to clean your teeth twice a day and check your kids are doing the same.


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