If you have been at the rink before a game and seen the team warming up, you will have seen our lovely retro design purple jerseys, maybe you have wondered what they are about… 

In the past, the Bristol Honda Pitbulls have worked with many charities to raise money/awareness, including Make-A-Wish Foundation & Mind, the club even came out of their comfort zone, swapping sticks and skates for boots and playing a charity football game for Feeding Dreams Africa, as well as our most recent and very successful Ukraine appeal. 

For the 2021-22 season, the club have teamed up with Oasis Academy in Brislington, one of three schools that have a specialist unit supporting children with autism. Autism is becoming diagnosed more frequently as we learn more about it, and it’s currently estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with it, as well as one in every 100 children, something which the club can relate to directly. 

With the help of our jersey providers Dunamis Sports, we ran a competition for the design of our warm-up jerseys for all students at Oasis Academy. The club narrowed all the entries down to two but couldn’t split those final two, so they were merged. The two designs were created by Freddie Fullergreen and Isabel Porter. We would like to thank Alex Styles from Dunamis Sports who kindly donated these jerseys to the club for the cause. 

To coincide with Autism Awareness Week, the game against the Oxford City Stars on April 2nd will see the team wear the purple warm-up jerseys in the game. Freddie and Isabel will be guests of the club at the game and will present the man of the match awards. There will be an uncapped auction before the game in the bar with all proceeds going to the Specialist Centre at Oasis Academy. Each jersey (excluding shirt off his back, which will be Mike Hargreaves’) will go to the highest bidder, you will get the opportunity to have a picture with the player and a certificate of authenticity.  

Below is some more information about the Specialist Centre at Oasis Academy and why it is so important to students who have been diagnosed with autism. 

The Specialist Centre is in a separate wing of the academy and is for secondary aged students all of whom have a diagnosis of Autism and/or Speech Language & Communication needs with an Education & Health Care Plan. The Centre has a dedicated team of teachers, support and pastoral staff, and students are educated in one of the six teaching groups based on their ages and needs. 

To support the learning needs of the students, they learn in a calm, structured and purposeful environment in which they feel safe and secure. They learn and develop both their academic skills alongside their social and emotional skills, supported by an experienced staff team. Although Special Centre student’s academic progress and attainment is important, a key focus is on teaching communication and social skills in context, as well as developing the students’ emotional understanding. 

Each child is an individual and we aim to equip them with specific strategies in order to deal with situations they may find difficult, stressful, or challenging. We work towards enabling them to understand and function in the world we live in to their best of their abilities and as independently as possible.  

We recognise that autism is a life-long developmental condition and so the focus in teaching is a compensatory approach, which builds on the strength of the students, i.e., responding well to routine, structure and predictability. Children with autism learn better with visual aids, imitation and structured environments that accommodate their sensory sensitivities and routines

The Bristol Honda Pitbulls are very excited to make this announcement and hope to see as many of you as we can at the Oxford City Stars game to try and raise as much money as possible. Further details about the timing of the auction will follow next week.