I often think the biggest challenge in my job is communication. Almost every day I come across situations when I think ‘how did I not know about that?’ or ‘how come they aren’t aware of this opportunity?’ and as a result I often see excellent initiatives that just aren’t being accessed by the people who would really benefit from knowing they’re taking place. I have a couple of examples of this. The first is a workshop that Energize helped organise in July. It was a 3 hour workshop to give individuals the knowledge, skills and confidence to make activities more inclusive for everyone. This incredibly insightful workshop was very valuable for the 8 parent/carers who attended, but with 22 potential spaces to fill many more could have benefited from this training. Fear not, another training course will take place on Tuesday 23 September. Book your place at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/
Another event that I’ve previously mentioned in my blogs and I know is also featured on the SDN website was the Young Health Champions DART (disability access running team) introduced by their amazing Young Health champion, Ben Sutton-Jones who has worked hard on his initial idea for this Health champion project which would help to get disabled young people more active. DART takes place at the Shrewsbury Quarry 8.45am every Saturday.
I recently met with some colleagues from Shropshire Public Health who have recently launched the Healthy Shropshire website. This fantastic resource is well worth a look and I’d especially recommend the Active4Health section which includes an online directory providing information to public and patients on suitable exercise opportunities that can be matched to individual’s needs, wants and level of experience. The Healthy Shropshire website also signposts users to a Green Space section which lists lots of opportunities to get active in your community. We know that 3 in 4 adults enjoy outdoor pursuits and 55% of adults visit the natural environment at least once a week. A recent ‘Reconomics’ reports brings together research and evidence to demonstrate the huge impact of outdoor recreation. From a gentle walk to a sky dive, exercising outdoors has maximum impact on lowering stress and increasing energy levels compared to exercising inside, plus there are quantifiable economic benefits as outdoor recreation drives local visitor economies. This National report includes a number of case studies and we’re excited that our very own National Trust property; Attingham Park is one of these case studies. Sport Development Officer Lucy Newbury came on board with the National Trust to utilise the 400 acres of green space at Attingham Park as a recognised sports venue. There are now clearly signposted routes for walkers and runners, an orienteering course, archery and Community Games are on offer all year, plus canoeing opportunities and much more – Lucy believes offering the sports has helped engage a new market at Attingham. They are also going to include the guides I included in my last blog which will at least mean that everything is in one place.
And while I’m on the subject of having everything in one place, what more could Shropshire ask for than £241k from the Big Lottery to fund our very own Inclusive Officer. I hope you will all agree that this is a fantastic opportunity and join me in congratulating Shropshire Providers Consortium and their members (including SDN and Energize) for their sterling efforts in securing the funding.