The last few weeks there have been a number of enquiries and some of those who support me, or who do work with me have also had questions asked by people about Integr8Archery both the Community Interest Company and the archery club. So I thought as we are at the next quarter and I have been doing updates at intervals then it seems timing is good to answer at least some of those questions.
Along with that pre Integr8Archery rollouts were planned from 19th June 2022 to 4th October 2023 – today! Perfect timing then.
I had worked on my projects, then grew them as an ambassador for AGB, then collaborated with Aim4sport, working on their projects, mine and creating some together, in some cases threading them together. Information was out there about some of what was going to be launched after the closure of the shop and training centre. I have explained that I have little to no knowledge to answer questions outside of my work with Integr8Archery though I have tried to help where I can.
So where are things at that I know of?
Archery In Education –
This project currently sits at 18 secondary schools and 5 primary schools in Northamptonshire. Along with 2 schools in Norfolk, 1 in Lincoln, 3 in Yorkshire, 2 in Kent, 3 in the south and I am supporting coaches in a variety of areas who work in a total of 11 other educational settings. There are 5 settings I have drawn a line under who were part of my project but I cannot/will not work with the coaches in those settings.
Disability and Health
I thoroughly enjoy spending time with the DISC group hosted by Northamptonshire Carers and have a great time. The group being set up for existing archers with disabilities had some delays but is getting back on track and will be getting together soon. I have had a great time over the summer being invited to a number of groups who support people with disabilities showing just how adaptive archery is and I am excited about plans for some long term work on access around the areas of learning disabilities, wheelchair and mobility issues, physical disabilities and also visually impaired individuals.
Incusive and supportive
Integr8Archery has hosted another 3 groups of ladies who have found themselves in refuge and making amazing progress on changing their lives and regaining control and confidence. As with any individual or group I try to pair projects with the right coaches, we don’t all have the same strengths and that’s what make us great together. This is definitely a group that selection of coaches is key and I thank those who have been involved. It’s been an amazing experience to be allowed to work with these ladies.
I have worked with several groups around accessibility and inclusion of those with different cultural backgrounds and I am excited to see a couple of these grow into amazing ideas for sustainability.
I continue to work with 3 support groups for LQBTQIA+ young people. The idea I had developed around inclusive competition that became entwined with a bigger idea and I took to a working party and the NGB is something that I stepped away from after being attacked via social media that the idea I had joined with didn’t belong exclusively to the person who shared it with me. So I went back to my original smaller idea and we have had a few small local competitions based on inclusion and I have also worked with 3 senior archers looking at competitions and supporting them in their respective journeys.
There have been another 2 groups of foster children who have taken part in a number of sessions and have had a great time and I am currently working with a couple of different agencies and creating opportunities for children in care to be involved with our sport.
My most important role I think, those that know me well know this. I constantly work to improve my learning and knowledge in an area that has impacted my paid employment for 30 years and my years of volunteering. Safeguarding is something I have done for years in my sport and I see well-being an important part of this role too.
A large portion of my time here is taken up with something that sees me having been dealing with 14 years worth of information from 42 archers and coaches and sees me continuing to support 9 people and their families on an ongoing basis but also new people come to me at intervals. Some days this fight can be overwhelming but though I have occasionally considered walking away from it, I can’t, changes need to be made so on we fight. I do need to thank Mario, Lynn, Ted and Martin though because I couldn’t fight if I didn’t have a support network for my own wellbeing.
A network in safeguarding is especially important and supporting other officers has always been an important part of what I do.
Charity and franchise
Having spent over two years working hard on contracts and legislation and seeing it all fall into place was amazing, we had it sorted. Creating the charity was something to be hugely proud of and I had a number of people who were ready to invest and donate when we were to launch in June 2022. Linking these two things with the education project was a fantastic project and had amazing potential so pulling it apart was upsetting. Keeping my education project and growing it has made me proud. Being allowed to help look at where those donations could go instead was a privilege and combined it was a huge amount of money, though some offered it to me for Integr8Archery I refused all offers out of this pot as it simply wouldn’t have sat well with me to take it. I do thank those who have sent me updates on the impact that money has had, it’s great to see young people enjoying opportunities that have been given.
That positive energy and news has helped balance the ultimate decision I had to make to pass on some of the abuse I received to the police and that 2 of those people had charges made against them. What was to be an amazing project certainly beat me emotionally and mentally in the end. The decision to pull the education project out of it was the only thing I could do, the other elements were not mine to push forward without the collaboration.
The app and the coaching elements that I had worked on here were not mine to continue. However I was blown away to be asked to continue to consult with what had been my elements and I do enjoy the process of developing the community sports projects across the Atlantic, even if that means I am usually shattered and ready for bed when they are excited 😆 again it’s great to get updates and even a couple of little videos from some of the children who have been involved in the three cities involved. It’s not the right time at the moment for me to go over but it’s lovely to have the open invitation to visit when I am ready. I have however had a couple of visits to Camden to chat with my friend who’s business opened those doors when I contacted him and been rewarded with a couple of my favourite sandwiches as thanks for what I am doing – I’ll take that as reward for giving my time.
The very many hours that I give to Integr8Archery all given as a volunteer.
I also love giving my time to the other sports that I join occasionally, especially within the running community who are always a great crowd. I love the time I spend with the competitions team at Archery GB for national and international competitions and have been a little disappointed this year with how few I have managed to attend, Grand Prix, JNOC and I will be at the indoors in December but I think the changes we have agreed at work will help me balance paid employment, family commitments following the loss of dad and my own archery and let me attend more AGB volunteering next year.
I have also submitted an application to volunteer in something entirely different, I will keep you updated if this happens and I think it may surprise you to hear what it is!
Employment and my own learning
I love my job, 6 months in I can say it’s fantastic and gives me a level of satisfaction and motivation that I haven’t properly had in paid work for many years. Exhausting, mentally and emotionally draining at times, of course, but I really do feel it’s the right job for me. I don’t complain about my work, I may complain about frustrations that all of us who do the work have, it that’s very different. I am about to embark on a level 3 diploma for that job, along with restarting some courses I had paused due to my mental health and devoting time to dad so the next 12 months will be busy.
I spend a lot of time in webinars, meetings, conferences with a number of groups, organisations and agencies looking at lots of areas that impact sports and how we can all work together towards common goals.
I am also enjoying working together with other Community Interest Companies and charities to bring access to sport to such a variety of groups and individuals – it’s a privilege to be part of these.
CIC and Club
Simply, we will continue to enable people to try our sport, access it in whatever way they wish, stay in it if the feel change may prevent this. When the recent kit damage is repaired our little club will pick up and carry on with its plans too. If you wish to belong to our supportive community please contact us. You don’t have to leave your club to be part of us, everyone is welcome and it’s lovely to get updates on how everyone is doing.
I am sat here feeling like I have forgotten something no doubt someone will point it out to me 😂
So whilst I wait for that I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way or who has trusted me to help them. Never do I take any of this for granted and you, the people are always the priority 🥰🏹