week 97 – busy one

Wow, it’s been a busy one! In everything but I have a couple of rest days from the day job and have crammed these full of meetings and calls, yesterday was awesome catching up with people who want to introduce archery to their groups, families, SEND, disabilities, teenagers with challenging behaviour …. So many different groups to be catered for and from 1 off sessions to sustainable activities, such a lot to look forward to over the coming months. Exciting and as always it all gets me bouncing and motivated, I will worry about the other stuff later, I can be doing amazing things whilst we wait.

Prepping for my first competition of the outdoor season is the thing that’s suffered as I kind of expected really, try as I might I always give to others before I take for me, though I have a little time set aside for me later today so that will be good.

Proud of my girlie who has battled through her mocks despite everything and we are beginning to get bits of news health wise, though it’s lots of – it’s not rather than it is, which isn’t helping get the information that we need for here yet. Her determination blows me away though and I am in awe of her. 🥰

Short but sweet for me this week as I go off to another meeting and then try and get sight marks for Sunday! I mean they would certainly help 🤔🤷‍♀️🫣 easing myself in though by entering the 50+ category, definitely a sense of mischief having discovered some people that this annoys since I am 49! 😂 it’s even been suggested that as I was on the working group who looked at categories and ages that I did this to benefits myself, sure the NGB let me change the national system just for my benefit 🫣😜

Have a good one folks and I hope your outdoor seasons are all getting off to a good start ❤️🏹

week 91 – a year and 9 months!

Wow! It never doesn’t amaze me what I am achieving with my “little business” – I hear dad in my mind often and his supoort and chats were so important. I wish I could chat with him now 🤗

I said I was stepping back to concentrate on the issues we have going on outside of archery but I am still very happy with the number for this quarter, what a three months it’s been – in and outside of archery! 🤔 but I think things are a little more settled though there are still lots of hospital appointments as we try and get answers outside of sport.

Mostly this is just another thank you, thank you for supporting me, to the many of you who have respected my reduction in hours given, it does mean I don’t have to stop altogether if I can focus where I need to when I need to.

indoor season is over, I am happy with the little things that I have achieved but haven’t been able to focus on my shooting so that needs to change and I have booked in some competitions to get my motivation back.

So what has been achieved in this 3 months? Lots of meetings, the start of my role as vice chair of NFDS, and as for bows I hands?

Schools – 93 new hands but some returners too.

children in care – 8

disability groups – 19

along with helping 3 people return to the sport, met by chance but loving hearing how they are settling in the new spaces I have helped introduce them to.

For a period that I am sat back and doing less I am thrilled with those numbers.

Have a great Easter break

Week 90 – wow almost another quarter has passed!

When I think back to 2021 and early 2022 and the plans that I had worked hard on for years and now things were going to launch from June 2022 to October 2023, the excitement of all of my work coming together across a total of 17 projects!

Then the destruction that was unleashed and where that left me. The amazing people who stood by me, who never gave up.

The decision, nerve wracking as it was to pull 8 of my projects out of that fire and create Integr8archery CIC and how my work in the time since has solidified my belief in what I can do, alone, but with the right people who I choose to work with.

The right groups and organisations that I have chosen to join or collaborate with and what I have been able to achieve. As I am looking at the latest figures for sharing next week I am pleased, they look great and that’s knowing that I have stepped back a little to concentrate on health and home whilst we await answers.

So this last week has seen 3 webinars, the Northamptonshire together fund event, some meetings with new interested parties wanting to discuss how we might get things started for them and a couple of review meetings for ongoing sessions, these are always a good way of keeping things working, and can re-energise sessions.

Lots planned for this coming week, training, studying and meetings, looking forward to Saturday evening and an invitation from friends made at one of our groups sessions.

So, whatever you are doing, stay well and enjoy it all. It’s true what they say, the dark will eventually pass, do I wobble? Yes! But I have most certainly found peace and the ability to forgive myself for trusting the wrong people. I am stood on solid ground, I am waiting for answers on something important, but I also have changed how I look at that whole situation too, I am never going to regret raising my voice for the safety of others, what happens, happens. Sending the email that I did at the weekend in reply to the latest step, has at least stopped the anxiety created by thinking of what I might write in my response.

catch you all on a range soon I hope ❤️🏹

power in joining forces – collaboration is powerful

On Thursday I attended the Together Fund celebration evening hosted by Northamptonshire Sports, due to illness I was asked if I could step in last minute to speak in place of another person. As I listened to Chris, then Matthew and other speakers before me I remembered that other life we all lived, that one before Covid! Do you remember it? Sometimes it’s like reading a book when I think back.

I was a mum, an archer, an enforcement officer. I was a regional safeguarding officer with a passion for my sport and the things I could see it achieve. I had taken that passion and the work I had already started in a number of areas to apply for and become an Ambassador for Archery GB, growing my projects and reaching wider and further than I had before.

I had linked with other like minded people and organisations from within and outside of my sport. I had started to get involved in some multisports meetings hosted by a couple of activity partnerships but particularly Northamptonshire Sports.

Then the news that we were facing a global pandemic, and lockdown was looming. The news that we all had to stay home and in bubbles.

The different areas of my life clashed, enforcing covid restrictions whilst trying to get people active. Working with the NGB to help, particularly when the initial guidelines prevented some individuals returning to our sport. Joining lots of multisports meetings to discuss our individual and joint issues, trying to find solutions. During one of these meetings I was listening to someone who is a good friend, who I actually consider family, as he described the issues in their sport – swimming and realised that I had a solution! But without Northamptonshire Sports we would never have had that conversation 🫣

Post covid I continued to work on my projects, building on the collaborations from before as well as new ones made during those many many online meetings.

For a variety of reasons, in 2022, I resigned as AGB Ambassador, created Integr8archery CIC and evaluated my work, reclaiming what was mine and stepping away from some things that I had put many valuable hours into but were not mine.

This allowed me to protect my work, the people involved and continue with only those who really wanted the best for those that I work with. Schools projects, disadvantaged youth, supoort groups, disability groups, archers wanting to return to the sport, archers whose health had changed and wanted support to face change to stay. Lots and lots of people from these and other groups/clubs I worked with.

I continued to attend meetings hosted by lots of groups/organisations from Sport England, Activity Partnerships, Children’s Coaching Collaborative, Belong. Sporting Equals ….. At the same time continuing to volunteer in other sports/activties as I recalled those conversations that we all need workforce to get and keep people active.

As a result I was often in the same place at the same time as Northamptonshire Sports and the amazing army of red shirts. I took a call about a local group wanting archery and the together fund being a possible source to help us provide sessions for them. So began the connection between Northamptonshire Sports, Integr8archery CIC and Wellingborough Muslim Community group.

Thursday night was a fantastic opportunity to see what we have all achieved across the county in the last 4-5 years, coming together, creating opportunities and collaborating to get and keep people active, from a wide range of areas within the community and such a vast range of activities.

Also a chance to discuss next steps, areas to improve our reach and possibilities as there are still so many to reach. I came away with a number of new contacts made and discussions started to reach new groups, and also some individuals who want putting in touch or introducing to clubs.

I am looking forward to what comes of this but also firmly stand by my believe that whilst we all focus on our sport I think we can achieve most by coming together with others to achieve more for those we want to reach.

week 88 – shattered but recovering

It’s been quite the week health wise! A cold, that upset my asthma and combined to give my lungs a beating! Significantly better now but not quite there, though I will be back at work today.

I believe pretty much most things are up to date message wise and lots of things planned this next week which is great but also tiring some days.

Thanks as always to the coaches who continued to deliver to existing projects whilst I was unwell, never do I take this support for granted.

Got to spend some time with Rose in practise which I always enjoy and I love that our sport is helping whilst she faces her own battles. As always archery proving it is great for the head space.

That’s it, short and sweet this week! 🙃❤️🏹

catch up with you soon

week 87 – 2024 is whizzing by

Sorry there was no update last week.
There is a lot going on at the moment that I cannot talk about yet.
Some personal and some exciting and project related.

I can say that I have enjoyed hearing that two archers who wanted to return to the sport and approached me (entirely unrelated to each other) are both back on the range and sent me messages over the weekend to update me on how those early sessions have gone and both are really happy to be back with a bow in their hands – love it 🥰

Ongoing projects are ticking along nicely thanks to the amazing coaches I work with and who are happy to stay in contact and plan together so they can help groups get on with their shooting whilst I am doing less at the moment.

Another online meeting with my input still valued across the ocean! I love the excitement of those calls. It still feels slightly unreal that I get to sit at the “virtual” table, when I reached out to my friend in 2021 it was for a friend and the opportunities that were created to offer that person were fantastic, they didn’t go ahead but to be asked to consult on community projects after those other things didn’t happen was a privilege and I love the energy of these meetings.

I haven’t had much time to even look at my own bow in the last couple of weeks, so another month when I am pleased I managed to get a score for the virtual league early on 😜🤷‍♀️❤️🏹

I breakdown stats into quarter years, another 4 weeks and I will be at a year and 9 months, I always look forward to numbers – they and the updates and feedback are always motivating.

Stay well and I hope to catch up soon.

the best days are sharing in others’ successes

I have said for many many years that success is so much more than medals, celebratory moments in sport are about so many things. I can list many examples that I have been privileged to be a part of in the last 7 years.

Today was no different, I love my hour every month with DISC, helping deliver multiple sports and activities to amazing children and their families.

Today there was a boy who I have seen often for over a year, close to 18 months, he struggles to retain the information, communication isn’t always simple and he looses concentration, he is anxious about his mum leaving and looks for reassurance that she’s stayed. He walked in and I always allow him to show me what he can remember, today he picked up his bow and an arrow and completed the shot routine and hit a blue immediately, his mum was stunned and as I handed him a second arrow, he turned to tell her she didn’t need to watch she could chat outside the door with other adults if she wished and just got on with it. Proud? Oh yes, and in these moments, the very hardest thing is not to react, just carry on, when in fact I want to dance and hug and celebrate.

There were lots of other amazing moments, as always, children who still come to see me despite me progressing them to local clubs, for example a young man I met almost a year ago, introduced him to a club, yesterday he was at county coaching, this morning he was competing and this evening he went to his club session, but he still makes time to come and say hello, shoot a few soft arrows and some days helps me to deliver. Or the young girl who having watched her sister shooting, sat on the floor with Rose so that she could leave her walking frame to shoot.

I am proud of these children, but it makes me proud of my children and anyone who helps me deliver any kind of sessions, every person is treated as an individual and my priority, always is enjoyment and smiles. Success is different for different people.

Today I also met a young man who has long been an Archery GB member but isn’t currently shooting, despite an incredibly strong family link with our sport, because his club no longer fits his needs. After a chat, I was able to make the introductions to a club that I believe will welcome him and meet his needs and early indications are correct.

I finished the day nipping in to see some who always has hugs for me, just a quick catch up as I knew they had competed today but when I met them at the end of 2022 they were crying as they believed that their only option was to leave our sport as the disability had progressed and they had been made to believe there was no place for them here. Time, patience, laughter and tears have proven that is not the case, adaption and work and here they are, today bringing home a shiny bronze medal 🥳❤️🏹

I know what it is to be told there is no place for you, I know the damage that can do. I will fight for anyone’s right to be active and take part, always.

It has been one of the days that motivates me, shows me I can play a part. Motivation in the bank for the days when I am told to walk away and leave 🤗

week 85! Crikey where is time going!

Some. normalcy is returning slowly to the house. But it’s going to be months before things really settle. Don’t be offended if I don’t take your call or make you wait, I have made it clear that I am here, I am providing what I always do but that right now, me and the children are absolutely first.

what does that mean? I work full time and I am a mum. I have given 25-30 hours a week to other people’s archery for around 7 years, all voluntary. I am currently giving 15 – 20 hours a week, that’s no small amount.

This week has been meetings and calls regarding existing projects and some new ones for 2024. Calls with people I support and plans for archers, projects and coaches.

Not much time to pick up my own bow as home and work have demanded time that I rightly give. I am definitely blessed to have Jack when I come home to chat with 🤗 I am enjoying the brief time at the top of my division in the virtual archery league. I am fairly sure I have predicted the outcome but we’ll see if I am right in the next couple of months 🙃

I am looking forward to Sunday afternoon with DISC, always a great session and I really did miss last month’s, though the cancellation was for very good reason, I always come away inspired and motivated.

Right I am being shouted for my lunch before going to work, 25 hours on house and I have promised Jack some time to chill tomorrow evening so anything coming in will likely be answered Thursday.

Have a good week ❤️🏹

midweek – readjustment of priorities, hours reduced but aims the same

Over the coming weeks and months the three of us are going to be attending a whole bunch of medical appointments. 

Happy to share my issues, as I already have been, particularly as it impacts my ability to shoot and the necessity for changes to allow me to continue and I know there are those who like to see what is happening. 

The issues of my children are not up for public discussion. 

They get involved with Integr8Archery CIC often and help in delivery of a variety of things.

With this in mind, the amount that we will be doing this year will reduce to allow time to concentrate on the many health related things going on. 

Existing projects and new projects and lots of exciting things will be happening but there will be some careful selection processes as we utilise our energy on less hours. 

You will see us on ranges shooting, competing, delivering and supporting but be prepared that you may some times hear a polite but firm refusal to be involved in something. 

There are also some things that are important to us as topics such as anti violence and providing alternative options, these will continue to be important to us and you will see us continue to work in these areas.

I make no apology for putting us first. 

See you all soon and I will continue to let you know what is happening with projects 🥰🏹

An old photo but one of my favourites 🥰

3 weeks since I did a mid week blog, sorry 🙃

Sorry for the gap in mid week blogs, lots of things have been going on.

So it’s been busy, busy, busy. A lot has been planned for 2024 and I am looking forward to all of it and I will share more about each session/group/collaboration as the plans become settled. Particularly after the decisions of the coming week.

I have a lot of decisions to be made on a personal level but whatever these are, the things that I have committed to will go ahead and there have been a number of conversations about how to protect Integr8Archery CIC, I am very proud of everything that I have accomplished over the years for this sport and particularly since Integr8Archery began so this will continue, sitting down and reviewing this second year and looking at numbers and achievements has helped me put everything into perspective.

As well as a number of meetings, this week has seen me attend the Ann Craft Trust training in regards to safeguarding adults, which was a great session, anyone involved in safeguarding will know there’s a lot of efforts put into training for general safeguarding or for children but sessions specifically aimed at adults are rare. It was also a great way to learn more about the Ann Craft Trust, who I have spoken to a number of times in the last few months regarding some issues that I have been dealing with for over 3 years. Many thanks to Northamptonshire Sports to for putting the session on.

A third session in the #look closer programme being put on by the Children’s Society. There is always more to learn, even in regards to subjects ŵe may know about and I do find these are well put together sessions.

I was blown away to receive an email asking me to consider some volunteer posts that are hugely important in regards to disability sports and access, both would be a privilege but I need to consider what I want to do with archery and what will fit in with my future, I think it’s likely I can consider one of the roles.

After a very busy weekend of night shifts, I have had time to celebrate the hard work that has seen me be successful in a promotion in the day job and today I got to visit the amazing young people who I love spending time with at DISC. Always inspiring and gives me lots of motivation. Then a few hours with friends at Towcester Archers catching up with some great people.

Now for an early night as I have some meetings tomorrow and lots of planning to do. Take care and have a great week, thank you to those who share their successs, progresses and joys with me, and the photos I received this weekend of bobble hats following my post last week.