Week 96 -prioritising the right things

I think this is going to be the badge I wear for 2024.
I am going to remember it and repeat it daily because I think the fight is going to really pick up this year.

what fight? The one I stepped into in 2019, it seems like a lifetime ago, in part because the whole Covid lockdowns and the timeline disruption that brought with it, but also, because it is!

I have been involved in the world of safeguarding since I first volunteered as a 16 year old, but little did I realise how over the next 33 years it would become increasingly part of what I do, in the day job and in a variety of volunteer roles.

I see it as the most important role I have aside from being a parent, which is essentially a kind of safeguarding in its own way.

I have a number of qualifications within it and I study constantly to improve my knowledge in ways to support those who come to me. Safeguarding is a privilege as I essentially step into someone’s world when they are in their most vulnerable place. Though I also do a lot of work to help improve knowledge to prevent issues, equally important.

Within my sport I have been a club safeguarding officer in a variety of places since 2017, some I still hold, and regional safeguarding officer since 2019, sometimes being part of the safeguarding team for Archery GB at competitions.

Most issues that come to me are resolved simply, some take more work, and some of what I do is to support other safeguarding officers. I don’t get to speak about what I do due to GDPR, rightly so.

However the biggest issue I have been dealing with has been an open case for me since 2019 when I was first asked to get involved, and believe me repeated conversations, meetings and discussions with NGB, outside agencies, and athletes and coaches have seen this grow to involve so many people, and covers 14 years worth of information that I have been given.

I have a variety of opinions as to how some of the issues have happened, some is a culture where habits are taught to the next person and the next and so on, some is outright bullying. Regardless it all needs changing, acknowledgement and ownership is required to even begin to bring about change. Other sports have gone through similar and some are still going through their process, I believe that all sports have something similar, created by habits and attitudes that were once allowed that are no longer acceptable. There is no shame in holding up your hands and saying we have a problem, and we are going to make changes, shame will only come from hiding it, refusing to change it and allowing it to continue.

It might be hard, and for a while a bit rocky, change always is and this is huge, but there are so many amazing people in our sport who will work to do this given the opportunity.

For some it will be easier to try and throw dirt back, I am ready for that, it isn’t new after all, it’s been happening for 5 years already, it just may get louder and more public. There is a limit to what and how I will respond, because those who matter to me personally know me and enough about what is happening. What I will say is my day job taught me a very long time ago to evidence gather, and I keep every message across every platform and they will allow me to always know my truth and to remind myself when necessary of that truth, like they did in 21/22.

It is almost mental health week and so it is always fitting to consider my own, I have PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks and a form of acrophobia. 2022 – 16th May was almost my last day as I reached the maximum level of destruction that had been bore down on me for the previous 7 months, add to I was trying to support people who were themselves dealing with their own massive mental health issues.

It has been incredibly hard because I cannot discuss so very much of this, and that makes it harder still.

I am certainly stronger that I have been for a very long time, though I am exhausted by all of this, but I agreed to be referred to Sports Resolutions because that is the very last place I can take this, and I do have to know that I have tried every avenue in this long and weary battle but one that is so vitally important for the benefit of everyone from grassroots to elite. The last 18 months has seen me hearing from a number of people that I need to take this to the media, it’s how some sports have managed to bring about change, I have a variety of conflicting feelings about such action.

I do want to thank those who have stood by me, supporting me, those who got me through 2022 and a couple of amazing safeguarding officers who have allowed me to talk with them, for the hardest part of safeguarding is having no ability to speak of what we are carrying, they have been limited conversations but enough for me to breathe,

I am proud of everyone who has shared their experiences with me, the ones who now carry long term issues even if they have walked away from the sport that took such a huge cost, athletes and coaches. That people have felt that I have helped and who trust me enough to bring others to me is humbling and some days, most days, I wing a lot of what I do, supporting people is different for each individual and using my training, my experience and thinking outside the box has got me, and them, through a lot.

My therapist is worth her weight in gold as she has supported me through my struggles but helped me carry this too.

A few months ago, one of these amazing young people started to say things publicly, slowly, about their battles. I am immensely proud of her and I know she struggles to see herself as those of us who know her see her.

Today, on a very important anniversary of her own she has publicly released a poem that explains a little of what she has gone through, braver than me right there, I have been writing thoughts, letters, poems through my therapy for 8 years and I know how vulnerable those writings are, so to release one publicly is a truly brave step.

I asked if I could share it and I have on instagram and now I share it here, Ruby Paul you are so very much stronger than you realise and what you have put out there today will resonate and help so many not just in Archery but across other sports too 😘 it is a privilege to know you and we love you dearly.

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week 92 – sharing the sport – radio!

Well it’s been a busy week, hospital appointments- things cleared off the list but new things added and so more people getting involved, my girlie will get there eventually but she’s amazing and her bow brings her peace whilst everything is still in the air. So proud of her 🤗

Meetings, lots of them!

Afternoon with the guides who are prepping to host their first start archery event in May and wanted some advice and help with kit maintenance and preparation, and hot cross buns enjoyed all round since it was Easter weekend!

Although it was technically in the next week, BBC radio Northampton asked if I would like to join them on the breakfast show on 3/4/24 for a chat on air. This was a great chance to speak about how accessible our sport is, a follow up to my previous chat on 10/1/23 and following the look east tv crew spending a morning with myself and Deb a month ago. The TV session had been as a result of Nick Wilson and a conversation he had with the BBC around accessible activity and sports. Ultimately they didn’t use archery in the tv airing but many thanks to Deb for the time she gave not only shooting under intense pressure but the interview she gave. The good news is that from the radio piece I have had a number of people make contact so it was worth the early studio time.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dsrh2g

go to 3/4/24 at 7:47 and you can hear me 🙃

This weekend is my work weekend Friday until Monday I will be mostly unavailable so apologies upfront for any delays in replies.

Have a good weekend, they claim it’s going to be a warm one.

Week 77 – plans and new challenges

Busy week for planning and meetings but the only arrows shot this week were the school groups. Lots of reasonings, some groups have stopped for the holiday break, some have kit issues and some were cancelled due to sickness.

It did give me time to sit and draw together everything for the coming year. It’s going to be busy but fun I think looking at the calendar already.

I have been helping a couple of new safeguarding officers find their feet, it’s great to chat with people who understand the role and its possibilities, not just reactive but proactive.

As you will have seen from my post in the week I have been elected as Vice Chair for Northamptonshire Federation of Disability Sports. This is an exciting time as we are going to revamp the way that things are done to improve how we support and create opportunities in the county for increasing access to activities in the county. It’s also going to be hard work in the short term as we look at rewriting the constitution as a beginning step. It is no secret that I love my sport but I am incredibly passionate about access for all and I see multi sport and collaboration as a means to achieve so much more.

That doesn’t mean Integr8archery CIC will get less of me, I give around 30 hours a week to my amazing little company. Dropping that to 25 hours and giving those somewhere else isn’t going to even be noticed, next week sees me hit 18 months and I am excited to share the stats, but I have definitely settled into a rhythm and finding a pattern with family, work, Integr8archery, and even some time for me to shoot! Whilst I believe that my sport is truly one of the most adaptable and accessible sports I also understand that archery isn’t what everyone wants and that was the biggest reason for me training in multisports coaching rather than sport specific.

In other news, it’s my birthday at the weekend and those who know me well know I hate it, historically it’s an awful day and I try to avoid it. I have plans and I appreciate the efforts made by those who are trying to support me through the day. The next couple of weeks is going to be rough so be gentle with me please. I spend my time looking after everyone, if you could be mindful for me that’s all I ask.

If I don’t see you before the break have a great Christmas or whatever alternative way you spend the time and stay safe.

Week 50 – Disability, inclusion, mental health, support – bringing all the work together ❤️🏹

So, I am excited and have news to share, some explaining too! It’s long but you have had some short blogs the last few weeks 😉😂

As you will know I am a huge advocate of disability, mental health and inclusion. I passionately believe that sport can help change lives, I have seen it and I have been a part of it. It takes commitment not just from the individual but those working and supporting to make it happen! Now I am in a place to pull several things together so grab a cuppa and let me tell you 🤗

You will be aware that both myself and my son have disability – his epilepsy, mine doesn’t have a one word label!
I’ll explain me a little –

My bones are twisted, puts a lot of strain on my joints which don’t all work or sit quite how they should, at 20 I was offered the choice of two surgeries to try and help my left knee – one was on the knee itself and especially the ligaments around it to try and make it easier, or more radically they could plate and screw some bones in my legs to set about straightening them and see if that improved things! They were not entirely convincing about what would come of the more major surgery and if there would be any improvement at all so I went for the knee option, and following that initial surgery have had a further three surgeries on that knee.

I am clumsy, my balance and co-ordination vary but I can fall over fresh air and have literally been stood talking and just fallen as my balance goes! Remember – I meet life with humour so sure make sure I am ok but we are going to laugh at these things!

Broken bones – feet, hands, fingers and my left shoulder blade!

Nerve damage from various things lower back, thoracic spine, feet, left lower leg and for added “fun” some sciatica!

I often say everything is fine, my left elbow and my eyelashes don’t hurt! Remember – humour! But pain is definitely one of the biggest barriers I face and I am incredibly grateful to have a superb physio in Ben 😊

I have a hearing impairment in my right ear as a result of damage, for a while there was talk of metal plates in my skull but I managed to avoid that. It is one of the reasons you might see me in my bobble hat even in summer, drafts hurt it and impact the ability to hear, hats stop drafts.

Several health issues, the two that impact my shooting – asthma which can be triggered by a number of things but especially heat, cold and hay fever – did I mention I am allergic to straw bosses 😂😂😂😂🫣🫣😱 I have a blood disorder, we ruled out the serious stuff that kills you but I am left with a reduced ability to store folate and iron, so I eat a lot of food that helps this and take some industrial grade, prescription top ups, but this can create huge fatigue and on bad days being awake is an incredible challenge – let alone moving!

Mental health? Anxiety and PTSD pretty much see that as a daily thing, some days I can plan for months, some days let’s see if I can breathe for 10 minutes. I have been to the very darkest places in my mind, in fact, they literally sit there daily, but when things are going well, I’m just carrying it with me, as I brave the world and smile. I am blessed that my counsellor is awesome and a tight circle of friends are there constantly 🤗🥰

Why do I tell you all of this, it’s so that you can gain a little understanding for why disability, inclusion and mental health are such an important focus for me.

Archery has given me ways to help my mind, if I don’t clear the messy head space those arrows are going nowhere useful. The process and routine are soothing, calming. Ranges are my safe space.

That’s not to say it’s easy, I have been challenged by people who have questioned my right to be there, on a range, on a shooting line – apparently I look ok – so why do I need to sit to shoot, have an agent? On a good day I might explain a little and try and educate, on a hard day I may tell you it’s none of your business, on a rough day, I might step away, think you are right, I have no place, I am an inconvenience and spiral, if we go back to my longest spell in the house, I literally didn’t leave for many months, long before you could get everything delivered to the house. Every day I have a process to step out of the door, might your unthinking words shut me inside?

However there are also many, many amazing people to be found on ranges who welcome, and support and help, these people question but because they want to understand so they can help, so very different.

Over the last several years I have done a lot of work around health and inclusion and supporting people to step on to a range, but also in other sports too. It’s amazing to watch people try something that they thought would reject them and find they are welcome, archery is one of the most adaptable sports there is and I am lucky to have friends who have worked in many areas, I find it unlikely that if you can tell me what you need that I can’t find it for you in that pool of amazing people.

I am told that I think outside the box, I just see me as me, but it’s definitely helped when thinking of ways to help people come to the range, our own voice in our mind can be the biggest battle we face and it takes different things for different people to push their own boundaries.

I have supported existing archers who have found themselves in a place where maybe they might have to consider their ability to stay on the range, some it’s been adaptions, some changing bow styles and some moving to seated. It’s always a privilege when someone reaches out and says can we talk, you might be able to help me, I know that reaching out for help isn’t easy. Some take the information and go off and do their thing, some keep in touch and some remain as part of our growing support network to give and receive support on our tough days.

With all of this and more in mind, I can now announce a plan we have.

Who are we? Let me explain.

I work with lots of coaches to deliver my projects and support groups who want sustainable archery, getting it set up and then mentoring in the long term. It works, our reviews show this. Northamptonshire carers contacted me to help put archery back into their disability inclusive sports sessions that they run for children with disabilities and their families.
The coaches who help me with this are Nick and Jackie from Towcester Archery Club and a great job they do too.

Early in 2023 I had some conversations (thankful as ever for the technology that allows us to be in different spaces and hold meetings and conversations) around a number of different ideas we have and things we can do together with Nick Wilson, who many know as the Disabled Adventurer. We made arrangements for him to come to Towcester Archery Club who kindly offered to host me, Nick and other exiting archers who wanted to come and shoot and talk about the impact of our sport on their disability and mental health.

Nick had a great time as did coach Nick, this was also a great example of how sometimes we fear what we don’t know, I have seen people turned away from clubs because of their disability and speaking with coaches, clubs and archers I am firmly of the belief that whilst a minority is about exclusion for many it’s the worry that a lack of knowledge might mean they can’t help or what if they injure a person? However we’re as many don’t say that and don’t ask for help with improving their own knowledge they just say no. I have managed to get the odd coach to discuss this and been able to link them with coaches who have the knowledge to mentor them.

This very idea now sees Integr8Archery and Towcester Archery Club come together to offer Nick Wilson a bespoke beginners course and coach Nick who was worried about his own knowledge is taking the opportunity to learn alongside him. The 2 Nicks will learn from each other and I have some coaches experienced with a huge variety of disabilities waiting to help amend support and coach Nick is attending the disability inclusion training being hosted in the midlands. I am excited to see what comes of this for both of them.

When I posted that I was holding the session and invited people along, I was blown away by the messages that I received from archers who would like the opportunity to have a safe space, where occasionally they can come together in an inclusive setting regardless of their physical, learning disabilities or mental health, where they don’t have to explain why they do x,y,z. But to be in an environment with others who love this sport, who enjoy shooting and the things it gives us, but who occasionally feel isolated or uncomfortable and we accept that the person who creates that doesn’t always know and we aren’t always strong enough to speak out.

So after some conversations around what we can do, Towcester Archery Club and Integr8Archery will be hosting sessions inviting those who consider they have a disability and or want a space where they can feel their mental health is safe, to come together and shoot every 2 months. We are just pulling together the first list of dates and will announce these in the next few days along with some information around what we have planned for some of those dates along with the ones that we can just chat and shoot and share a cuppa. There will also be instructions on how to join us.

I am excited as I am not aware of anything else offered that is similar to this so I think Towcester Archery Club and Integr8Archery are hopefully going to show what we can achieve and others may set up similar sessions.

So watch this space over the next few days and follow the instructions if you would like to join us, let’s grow this community I have started, for archers who want support and also for coaches who want to learn how to help. Thank you so very much to Dean and Nick for your help and support so far, let’s create change together 🥰🏹❤️

Week 47 – Children’s Coaching Collaborative, Play Their Way

As you will be aware from the information that I published I signed up to the Children’s Coaching Collaborative last autumn. This year the Child-First Coaching Coffee Catch Ups began. These sessions are for anyone who’s signed up to join together at the sessions as and when they can, to discuss important topics but over a virtual coffee session, the sessions are kept to an hour per session to allow people to fit them into busy schedules.

I find these particularly interesting as it is one of the initiatives that I am involved in that sees people from many sports come together and discuss common issues and share ideas.

The has been a very strong theme throughout – voice, choice and journey. Very much linked with the theme behind any good coach around listening to and coaching the individual.

As a coach this is of huge importance but also in my safeguarding role this is a massive issue. A large amount of my time is taken when voice and choice are removed. Surely something that we should all have taken from the publication of the Whyte report and the subsequent reform 25. Do not sit complacently believing that issues are only in other sports, there are examples of issues across all sports. It is with these in mind that I was interested in the Children’s Coaching Collaborative.

Today the next step is launched – Play Their Way. Please see above my statement that Integr8Archery CIC has signed up to the movement and I would ask you to take the time to consider signing up yourself as a coach but also your organisation and lead those you work with to look at joining too.

This week’s meetings and reviews, which I frequently complete on my projects and with the coaches and groups we deliver to, are about safeguarding and delivering the right service, in the right way to help achieve the goals. This is what the Children’s Coaching Collaborative and other groups that I am part of are aiming to achieve across all levels of all sports.

Week 45 – start archery a great example of pulling things together ❤️🏹

This week saw Integr8Archery host its first community event. It was a pleasure to welcome Wellingborough Muslim Community to our range where we reside at the invitation of Weavers Academy. The club – school arrangement is, I believe a new kind of way for a club and school to work together.

I have worked with Northamptonshire Sports looking at how we can include archery and share knowledge across multiple sports in the county to the benefit of clubs and community for several years.

They have sponsored a series of 4 sessions for the group and the 8th May saw the first of these, timed to be part of the Archery GB start archery week and to allow the first session to include the Eid celebrations.

The coaches who have come together for these dates also include one sponsored by the Northamptonshire Sports Couch to Coach funding, Chris is using the funding to increase her skill level from instructor which she has done for a number of years for guides, to become a sessions coach, something that she has been inspired to do after joining the coaching team for the Archery In Education project from 2021. She is part of the delivery team for Weavers Academy after delivering at a number of schools for me.

I would like to thank Suzanne Fossey of Archery GB for joining us on the day and taking a lot of the photos that we now have from the event. As always it’s a pleasure to see you Suzanne 🙂

The day saw 73 people pick up a bow to try the sport and this was despite the weather forecast. The decision was made to delay the Eid celebration until a later session due to the rain but that did not stop the feeling of community, sharing each others company and chatting over food. I think the best way to describe the day was a sense of family, people coming together and sharing the day and when they weren’t shooting there were games of cricket and football to entertain as they took turns to shoot in groups.

Many things were discussed including future events and ideas for different groups and sessions with different purposes, but also conversations were opened around ideas such as self defence but also mental health and bereavement.

I had anticipated a great day but what we got was so very much more. I look forward with the coming 3 sessions but also moving forward with the other things discussed on the day.

Many thanks to Wellingborough Muslim Community for trusting us to introducing them to our sport and to Matthew and Ben from Northamptonshire Sports. Integr8Archery look forward to seeing what comes from our joint relationship.

Week 44 – what do you know about VI sports?

What do you know about sport for the visually impaired? This is something that annoys me and those who know me well have listening to me complain and make a fuss for years! There is simply not enough information or signposting for somethings, for those who might use them, who might consider trying them or for those who might choose to give their time as a volunteer. Two such things that I have enjoyed giving hours to are the transplant games and visually impaired sport. Today I am going to give some information about British Blind Sport as it’s a subject that has come up half a dozen times in the last month or so.

One of the things that I do as a volunteer is spotting for visually impaired archers. I have worked on a semi regular basis with two. It came about as a result of covid, then lockdown rules allowed disabled athletes to practise and someone I knew needed help to find a range that would allow her to shoot (many refused to allow their disability members to access their ranges, a conversation for another day) and also a means of getting there and that role of spotter. Having agented numerous times for disability athletes I said I would give it a go, however I was more than a little anxious as this is more than just collecting arrows for someone and my ability to describe what was happening was going to be key to how useful I was! Turns out all those years doing surveillance in the day job gave me a useful skill on the archery range! 

https://www.aim4sport.com/2021/03/26/why-support-matters-the-thoughts-of-a-visually-impaired-archer-by-deb-wright/

I gained a friend too and have been able to proudly watch Deb maintain her success on the archery field in the time since.

http://www.ncasarchery.org.uk/http:/www.ncasarchery.org.uk/achievements-deb-wright/

In recent months I have put a couple of coaches in touch with British Blind Sports in regards to archers who needed support. Whilst physical disabilities and adaptations around these are focused on and access is improving significantly, help for visually impaired is still not obvious. 

British Blind Sport offer amazing support to people to access a multitude of sports

and they have an activity finder to help you locate something to go along to. 

My friend Clive has used their services and now shoots for GB in a sport that he loves as much as I do

The sport that I love, where I found my people, that allows me to be me, is the most adaptive sport that I know. I have yet to come across anyone who cannot shoot, it’s one of the very reasons that I love it so very much and why I am so very passionate about it and what it has to offer. 

There are a couple of significant events this year that need volunteers and you may be looking for somewhere to give your time so I would urge you to consider looking here:

What have I been doing this week? Mostly lots of planning and attending a couple of multi sports meetings. Lots happening over the coming weeks as the summer moves towards us! 

Not so many arrows shot myself, as I would like still but getting there and this coming weekend will see me shoot my first outdoors competition of the season at one of my favourite places and will have the chance to see lots of friends. My only aim, considering the lack of shooting that I have had, is to enjoy the day, see how it all goes and enjoy the company – and not to cry for dozens of arrows like I did last year! 

Catch you all soon, have a great week and enjoy this run of bank holiday weekends ❤️🏹

Week 42 – mental health, safe headspace and arrow counting

It is incredibly rare that I ask for anything for myself, particularly in regards to my health – this, above, I tried to do at the weekend!

It’s something that my counsellor and my friends have been trying to get me to work on for a long time. The last few months I have been trying, it’s new to me and a work in progress. Whilst volunteering at the Grand Prix it was something that was discussed with me at length and I worked hard on it, the Wednesday and Thursday actually making decisions to put me first, guess what? The world continued to turn and my family of blue and green shirts not only accepted and welcomed my decisions but encouraged them! I may have taken all of us by surprise! 😱😂

Fast forward to 15th April, I posted my blog, and I asked for 36ish hours for me, I needed to deal with lots of things and they were affecting my mental health, I wanted to get everything in order. Projects, communications, lots of things. Despite my request still people contacted me with questions, queries, none of these could wait that 36 hours, I pointed out to each of those people that I wanted to be left until Sunday evening. Did it stop them! No! So I made some decisions and now people are disappointed 🤷‍♀️ you pushed me, you didn’t let me have that short time I was brave enough to ask for. Apparently for some I didn’t answer questions they didn’t ask 🤷‍♀️ why in this sport is it so often expected that we can mind read?

What I am especially curious of is, if I asked for the weekend because I had a migraine, a stomach bug, an injury, would I have been granted that 36 hours? Is it just mental health that doesn’t get respected? Have a think, you don’t have to answer me, but please do be honest with yourself!

What it did do was confirm work that I have been doing and several events and projects I am working on are most definitely needed as I had already believed.

So now we have people disappointed because I cancelled things, and angry people who have now had things cancelled who were not actually the people pushing me and being disrespectful of my request! So the people who pushed are ok, and I will deal with yet more annoyed folks 🤔

Integr8Archery CIC is mine, a one man band, no one else makes the decisions and no one else chooses what I do, and no one else steps in when I am overwhelmed. I am working on my projects, work that was always mine, my goals, my aims and new ideas. Not for anyone else, for me. There are also a number of other things I have that I may restart, they are mine too. Don’t make the mistake that because people have collaborated in the past dictates what I am doing now, because that would also be disrespectful.

However, what did go well, that I knew would give me the boost when I was thinking of quitting, was my visit to DISC to deliver soft archery, they are such a welcoming and enthusiastic group and a pleasure to spend time with.

Followed by my trip just over the road to shoot with Towcester Archers, some projects discussed and ideas bounced and arrows flung. Last year it was incredibly important to me to create safe spaces for my mind, where, when I am overwhelmed, anxious and scared, I can go to with my bow.

So thank you and much love to Archers of Raunds, Long Buckby archery club, Towcester Archers, Banbury Cross, Kestrels and Bowmen of Glen. By far the most important thing is the gift they give me of space where I am mentally safe to pick up my bow. 

When I started shooting in 2018 I spent hours on the range, practise and competing. From 2018 to 2021 I shot between 800 – 1000 arrows a week. Last year this dropped dramatically – we know why. So I started planning my 2023 outdoor season and how to get that motivation back, perfectly timed as Archery GB advertised for the #greatarrowcount project. I received notification of my involvement in the project which was to start on 1st April. Those first 10 days were impacted by my being at the European Grand Prix but my first week total sees me having shot 570 arrows, not where I want to be but getting back on track for sure.

Week 37 – DISC launch, design visuals and thank you.


If you know me, the projects or just keep looking here for what’s happening you will know that everything I have done for the last 4 years in regards to long term projects is about them becoming sustainable for each group that I work with. The base of this plan is that they have people trained and take over the running of the group and coaches who work with them on behalf of Integr8Archery to mentor them.

Last summer I was approached by Northamptonshire Carers to discuss plans for the DISC group which meets every other week and provides access to their users to a variety of sports. Some years previously they had archery in their cycle but it had stopped.

Upon visiting we found a treasure of kit, they were aware that they had soft kit for arrows Archery but we found so much more, meaning that with just some support and training they could easily be up and running for the full range that our sport can offer.

This week we have finally gotten everything in place and 19th March will see the first of their monthly archery sessions take place! This is so exciting. It is here I must say a number of thank you’s – The Worshipful Company of Fletchers who have generously provided funding for two volunteers to undertake instructor training next month, Long Buckby Archery Club for the donation of the kit for pointy archery, when we found it, it was all very carefully labelled and the club have donated this to the group for their ongoing use. Also to Nick and Jackie from Towcester Archery Club for joining the group of coaches who work with Integr8Archery to go out there into the community and provide access to our sport and will be giving their time to support the DISC group.

Wednesday saw another great multi sport meeting hosted by Graeme at Northamptonshire Sport, always great to look at how we can help each other and achieve our shared aims, more to come about new things I will be doing from that meeting later.

Couple of meetings around our start archery event and some reviewing plans for schools already working with us.

Also design visuals for the medals we will be using for the competitions that we are planning and as Duncan and I have just about sorted our progression scheme, the badges have been designed for this along with a new flight workshop badge after the previous supplier let me down.

Thank you so very much to Duncan for all of the work he has put in on the Integr8Archery progression scheme, this scheme will see individuals work to the level that will then allow them to partake in the AGB progression scheme and something that I have been trying to arrange for over 2 years but have run into difficulties along the way, so thank you Duncan for always listening to my thoughts, also for creating the certificates and now designing the membership card for the Integr8Archery school club members.

I never take for granted any of the work that anyone does with me, wether voluntary or if they are paid by one of the groups.

I wanted the clean simplicity – these will look amazing in person with the shine of the metal.
As soon as I get these I will hand out the ones already earned, including the long awaited flight workshop participants

Week 36 – busy few days, a lot happening and I actually shot some arrows of my own 🥳😱😉

Yeah! Flinging arrows at last!

So I am technically unemployed for a few days as I await the new job to be sorted, I could sit and relax but we all know that ends badly, we are after all approaching the 3rd anniversary of impaling myself on a tree for those who forget I don’t just sit and chill! 😱🫣

So what have I done:

  1. Sensory football webchat and discussions around conversation and instructions for complex needs with SENSE.
  2. meeting with AGB.
  3. catch up and planning with DISC for Northamptonshire Carers and everything back on track, including two new coaches on board with Integr8Archery to support our community groups and aims for sustainable archery – exciting on several points.
  4. First face to face Integr8Archery club committee as both August and October were online.
  5. on top of this there have been 5 other meetings around existing projects, coaches and new instructors and coaches.
  6. meeting with sport4fitness to finalise plans for their CIC and the groups that we will introduce archery to, including re-starting the out of school educated groups and the Send4dads group.
  7. Today I have a Sport England webinar.

I have had lots of fun this weekend, shooting three times 😱😂🫣 maybe I will soon be back to my 800 – 1000 arrows a week after all! 4 ranges, countless friends, county squad mates – essentially my archery family. Smiles, hugs, chatting, a couple of tearful moments but mostly just back in my safe places with people who I am safe to be around, never to be underestimated and very definitely proof that the fight to stay with my sport was worth it. Days where I most definitely thought I was beaten since November 21 but this week was proof it’s worth fighting for.

I am putting in an order to lionhart in the next week or so and for anyone who wants one I only have 5 Integr8Archery big bobble hats left from the initial production batch. Let me know if you want anything.

I shall be out and about this next week and hope to catch up with more people whilst getting ready to announce some events that we will be hosting, so keep your eyes open. Stay safe ❤️🏹

Integr8Archery CIC and Sport4fitness CIC – collaboration for the community