Week 23 – disability, inclusion, grassroots and friends

Integr8Archery, Arcus Archery and Archery GB – strength in numbers

Another busy week, a pleasure to attend the West Northants Council International Day of People with Disabilities and the celebrations. Having previously met and spoken with Paralympic Champion Swimmer Ellie Robinson it was a pleasure to hear her speak again and also to watch the performance by Born to Perform. I always come away from these events energised and with my mind racing with ideas around how we can overcome barriers. Absolutely helps me feel that the work that I am doing with Integr8Archery and on my way to becoming a Disability Sports Coach is worth the hard days I sometimes have.

This weekend was the National Indoor Championships, Junior National Indoor Championships and the Back to Back events that end the 2022 AGB competition calendar. I so enjoy these days with my friends who by volunteering together we use the power of the blue shirt to pull off events that enable others to have amazing experiences. We can’t all win but it doesn’t mean they don’t take something positive away from the experience. Registration is also a great way to meet them with a smile, I often hear “I can’t attend a national competition because I am not good enough ” from local archers! Nope, we can all go and experience these things. I see my job to be that first face you see and to make you feel welcome and absolutely in the right place. Where I can I try and keep an eye on some and find out how they are getting on. Being in those environments with hundreds of people can be intimidating- if I can help a little then I did my job, one of the greatest things is when people come to find me to tell me how they got on. It’s a privilege that they remember me from the beginning of the day and come back to say thank you. Long days but absolutely worthwhile.

Another big shout out to my amazing friend Deb Horn, who I have mentioned several times over this 23 weeks. Our aims are linked and collaborating will make us stronger and she is moving forward with Arcus Archery as I announced a couple of weeks ago, but doing things a little differently can be a little slow when technology has to be tweaked to fit our needs so many thanks to Arran Coggan and Helen Smedley who have been very patient whilst we sort all of it out. The support of the National Governing Body is something that I have never taken for granted and I do believe that there is strength in collaboration and whilst there has been some change for me in 2022, collaborating is still going to help my projects move forward. Also thank you to the people who stopped me to discuss what I am doing it’s always going to blow me away I think to hear that people are interested so thank you for the kind words.

So now I want you to think about safeguarding, a topic I know makes many people groan and their eyes roll. For me it’s the biggest, most important issue. I work hard in this area. But, ask yourself, do you keep up with issues that relate to it, do you just think it’s boring so don’t pay it too much attention? There are lots of other things that tie into safeguarding.

The scenario is this:

A busy competition day, lots going on. Someone missed something and as they were asked to do it, needed a little further explanation. The person behind was getting a little impatient and said something rude to the person who required that little bit extra help. The person explaining pointed out that it was taking a little longer because the person required help because they had a condition and named the condition.

So, safeguarding? GDPR?

Personally I will do all that I can to help, I will not allow people to be rude, I don’t believe an explanation is needed and I do believe that disclosing another persons medical issue, physical, mental, learning related is a breach of GDPR.

I will leave you to think on it.

Competition days are not just about medals