Sam's Then & Now

I am incredibly grateful for the people that I have been fortunate to surround myself with over the past year. I have built more confidence to get involved in community projects and host events- something I never envisioned myself doing 18 months ago.

It is thanks to the incredible team at Enrych, plus our connections through Everyone Active and Active Together partners that I have connected with via different events that I now am able to be a more confident individual within the community.

On Monday, November 22nd, myself and my team in Community Development at Enrych attended our quarterly event called “The Think Box”. This was also a great opportunity for me to discuss ways in which we can increase our event attendance, as well as making new connections within the community to introduce people to new activities.

Previously, I would have felt reluctant to get involved in these events due to the fear of saying something wrong or saying something irrelevant to the context. So I have definitely progressed a lot via the support of my team and our local connections.

Another connection I have made recently is via Coalville Town Football Club. One of the coaches at the club has invited me to get involved with the coaching at the club and I would love to help young people with disabilities get involved in football and become more confident like I have become. I also play for an inclusive football club in my home town of Ashby, and feel like I have a voice within the club which has allowed me to support those who may lack confidence, to feel like they belong on the pitch.

These local opportunities are things me and a group of about 15 people in leadership positions within Leicestershire discuss on our monthly inclusive sports steering group. Again, for me to go from being a quiet person who would be afraid of getting involved or having a voice in these scenarios due to past experiences at school to having a platform to increase opportunities for sports participation for people like me- it means a lot!

There was also an inclusive play session at Hermitage Leisure Centre in Whitwick that I attended on Thursday November 25th . This was a great place to put a face to a name who I had previously met on our online steering group on Zoom and I was delighted to be invited via this event to get involved in other community events.

Above all else, this is very much building my experience at becoming a more confident communicator with people. If I cast my mind back 18 months, I would be in a situation where I would be isolated a lot of the time and again felt very nervous about being around other people due to previous experiences in my life which affected my confidence.

This just gives me confidence that people do make the efforts to understand people who may be a bit different and have various challenges such as myself. I honestly couldn’t be in a better place than where I am now- and that’s all thanks to the people I work with and the people who I have connected with outside of that who have given me as many opportunities for me to express myself as possible.

Ultimately, I would love to help people to become a more confident person in the community like I have become- and give them ample opportunity to choose the settings in which to express themselves. To me it is incredibly important that people feel they are welcome to participate in any activity and to build long-lasting connections via those opportunities.

To finish, I would love to say a huge thank you for everyone’s positive messages about me becoming an Active Together Champion. I have worked very hard on my health and fitness especially since the Covid-19 pandemic began. If anything, this time has allowed me to focus on the most important things. Health and wellbeing. You can’t go far wrong once you have found a healthy headspace and ways to be physically active. The rest will soon follow! The support I have received has been hugely helpful on my journey to have a healthier body, healthier mind and heightened confidence. Thank you!

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