I cannot believe that it’s been 6 months! It’s been a massive learning curve and in so many ways. I have to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in anyway from helping put on a session, to listening to me bounce ideas around, to just giving me a nudge when I think I might not be good enough.
I was literally on my knees on the 27th June having been barely surviving for 6 months and really hit a very dark place, a small group of incredible people had literally, some days helped me to breathe and dragged me through but on that Monday evening I genuinely couldn’t see any way to keep my sport at all. To continue to shoot or to continue my work within it.
What I hadn’t counted on were 2 people that evening – one who shared their own story and then told me to put on my brightest leggings – I guess it was my very specific version of being told to put on my big girl pants and fight 😉 if you know me, you would know that was probably hitting the nail on the head. The other was someone who had stood back, remaining neutral and that evening decided to express their opinion after months of being quiet. It turns out my quiet friend has a very specific brand of motivational talking, and a lot like my counsellor mostly leaves me with my thinking significantly questioned, challenged and with a lot of work to do within my own mind. His timing was perfect! I think earlier would have failed and maybe he knew that.
For his trouble, the following morning he and a selected bunch of others awoke to messages explaining my early basic plans and what I needed to do to get started. So 28th June 2022 Integr8Archery was born, and here I am 26 weeks later, 6 months!! Having achieved so much, and with so very much still to do.
I thought it would be a great time to look at some numbers because in recent weeks I have been asked by a number of people for some details, and also use what I had done previously to add some context. So, if you are interested here are some figures, grab a cuppa and have a read:
I completed my beginners course in 2018 and I have held lots of roles since then, I did do some volunteering within the sport before I became an archer myself but I thought 2018 seems like a decent place to start and yes, this is all volunteering, and it doesn’t include what I have done at AGB competitions or for other sporting events outside of archery.
- 1. helped out on 3 taster days – attended by local community groups and saw 143 people pick up a bow.
- 2. helped out at 4 beginners course – 49 people completed those courses
- Organised and put on a county charity event
- helped at 5 taster days – attended by 185 people
- helped at 3 beginners courses – 37 people completed
- organised archery for 2 multi sports events – helping 72 people get a taster of our sport
- volunteered for archery at the World Transplant Games
The year of the pandemic! I did lots of things this year but by far my biggest achievement was helping with the return to sport guidance particularly when I picked up the phone following the original release and explained that until every archer was given the opportunity to choose to return we hadn’t yet gotten it right, those initial steps prevented some of our most vulnerable members being given the choice!
I attended so many webinars and workgroups, not just within archery but within multi-sports settings both locally and nationally and took the opportunity to study and learn for my role in safeguarding, being furloughed gave me the chance to do some of those things I had never had time for.
Sitting on the range for hours every day helping people feel confident enough to come back to shooting or try a new sport they discovered whilst locked in and searching the web, was incredibly rewarding and the ability to work with other grassroots sports to help each other was definitely another advantage to that time as we all took to get to know each other, bonds created which we still use now.
- 3 taster days – 135 people with a bow in their hands
- 5 beginners courses across 3 clubs – 72 people completed
- business games events – 135 people shooting
- organised and hosted a county charity event
archery in education starts with –
- wave 1 – 102 children shooting
- wave 2 – 136 children shooting
- primary school sessions – 57 children shooting
- colleges – 27 students shooting
- Out Of school educated children – 87 people with a bow in their hands for the taster sessions and 32 going onto weekly sessions
- 10 school staff completing an instructors course
- 29 coaches across all levels helping put these sessions on
up to April
- 9 secondary schools – 118 children shooting
- out of school setting children – 27 children shooting
- 3 local community groups having 4 sessions each – 48 individuals shooting
first 6 months
- 13 secondary schools across 3 counties after school clubs – 208 children
- 2 schools now have Integr8Archery satellite clubs – 23 children
- weekly curriculum sessions providing archery for 72 children
- 4 primary schools – 68 children
- 3 nursing homes – 31 individuals
- Weekly sessions for 4 weeks for ladies from a local refuge = 15 people, LGBTQIA+ support groups = 28 people & foster families = 13 children
- helping 3 school games events – totalling over 200 children shooting
- 2 flight archery workshops – introducing 18 people to this style of archery
- Integr8Archery club – currently collating the paperwork for 38 children and 11 adults
- getting access to the anti violence pledge available online
- obtaining Community Interest Company status and ensuring the very strict guidelines to being non profit are set and unchangeable – my way and no one else’s regardless of who collaborates with me – set in stone so I can relax
- start my journey to become a disability sports coach and learn 5 new sports
- joining forces with Sport for Development Coalition, Children’s Coaching Collaborative, We are Undefeatable, Belong and continuing to build and strengthen the relationships with the National Governing Body, Sport England, Northamptonshire Sports, local archery clubs and counties who have the same aims, and numerous groups who, together, we continue to learn to bring people to sport but to protect them whilst they are in our care.
Throughout this time I have continued to work in my safeguarding role and deal with incidents as they arise, develop my knowledge and support a number of families in well-being. Whatever else happens, I stand by my promise that I will make sport safer for everyone and to help support those where issues have created failure of care. Together we can create change.
So without a doubt, thank you to those who told me I did have a place, there’s a lot of shooting happened because you didn’t just watch me walk away when I thought I had no alternative.