At a time of national crisis, we have been talking to change makers across Gloucestershire to see how they’re coming together to support others to be active right now.
Usually Gloucester-based charity Goals Beyond Grass (GBG) would be out and about delivering various projects across the county. But like many other local clubs, Goals Beyond Grass has been adapting to the current situation.
Kieran Franks, Sports Development Manager at GBG, told us about how the team are working to support members to stay active and stay connected.
GBG aims to enhance the lives of disabled adults and children by reducing social isolation and engaging the whole community in sport and physical activity. The organisation delivers various programmes and community clubs around the county, including powerchair football, pan football and frame football sessions. They also deliver inclusive powerchair activities and other adapted activities at SEN schools, day centres and residential homes.
But because of Coronavirus, many of GBG’s members are at high risk and are shielding at home. Many have little or no outdoor space, so GBG have been coming up with creative solutions to keep people active. Kieran and the team work with individuals who have their own preferences or adaptions that they need to take part in physical activity, so for GBG it’s been important to shape and adapt activities everyone can join in with.
During May half-term GBG would normally be hosting a range of activities, including boccia and kurling. Instead the team has been working to adapt their activities and create videos around accessible games and sports to do at home, including polybat, boccia and skittles using everyday items like tin foil and toilet roll.
GBG has also been doing some important work in linking up local clubs in Gloucestershire who might not have the confidence to approach one another, helping them to stay connected during Coronavirus.
For Kieran, a key focus for the organisation has also been around supporting mental health and giving members and their families something to look forward to each week. This has included an online FIFA tournament and free online weekly quiz which has reached over 300 people so far, with members and families all invited to join in.
Through their Get Talking scheme, GBG has been working with England Powerchair Footballer Ambassadors to provide a 1-2-1 phone call or Zoom session. This is a chance for young people to hear from a role model who is facing a similar challenge as them, especially during this time. Kieran has seen such a positive impact and says it has given members a huge boost.
Kieran also shared his advice for anyone looking to stay active at home right now.
“Try new things, even if it’s something that seems really silly, like throwing a sock in the washing basket. Create mini games and try and challenge yourself; most of all, try and stay positive”.