For several years our charity has funded weekly karate sessions the rehabilitation programme at the Oxford Centre for Children and Young People in Pain (OXCYPP).

The classes are run by martial arts instructor, Sensei Phil Patrick, who delivers 60-minute karate and self-defence lessons, designed to help young patients build confidence and engage in activity – improving physical and mental health.

Lisa Fox, Chronic Pain Therapy Assistant, said: ‘We are delighted to offer this wonderful activity to our patients and are really grateful for the charity’s ongoing support.

‘The classes are tailored to the children’s differing abilities and conditions. We’ve had children who use wheelchairs and those who struggle to use their limbs able to take part.

‘And the children absolutely love their sessions with Sensei Phil. They are often surprised by how much they are able to do and many go on to continue taking lessons at home.

‘The feedback from our families always shows this as a real highlight of the week – the sessions are fun and empowering, and it’s great to see children who often find exercise really difficult, up and moving for a whole hour. It’s brilliant.

Donna, mum to 16-year-old Samuel, who suffers with long-term chronic pain, said she found watching her son take part quite emotional: ‘The way this team supports our children, and in fact us as parents too, is just brilliant. To watch my son doing this karate lesson and see him smiling and having fun is just lovely.’

Karen, mum to 13-year-old Charlotte, who has a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, added: ‘It’s great when you have a child who experiences long-term pain to see them enjoying new things and able to increase their activity.

‘There is a protective bubble around you when your child is on the intensive rehabilitation programme, and activities like this karate session help build confidence; your child sees they can do something new.’

Martial arts instructor, Sensei Phil, said: ‘I absolutely love seeing how the kids’ confidence grows during the hour sessions. Many feel quite nervous when they start, but by the end they are really going for it, with big smiles on their faces.’