Goodbye 2021! Hello 2022!

Despite the challenges 2021 has thrown towards us, there have been more than enough things to celebrate this year to make me even more optimistic about 2022.

In the Easter time this year, I started my journey with Enrych and haven’t looked back- only forwards. I have very much enjoyed producing all the content I do for the website and sharing with you my thoughts on a variety of topics as well as raising awareness about important conditions that mean a lot to me. No doubt some of our clients will be able to relate to the topics as well.

Once it got to the summer time, I had the opportunity to go and help out leading sports activities for children at Newcroft Primary School in Shepshed. I very much enjoyed creating a positive environment for children to interact over the summer after a lot of uncertainty for them at the start of the year due to the circumstances surrounding Covid-19.

This experience led to further development for me within what I do at Enrych, as I then cooperated to run Boccia sessions in early September at Christ Church in Coalville. As these sessions became more popular over time, we very quickly jumped at the chance to move to Hermitage Leisure Centre, where we were able to welcome a higher attendance, offering a greater range of activities in return. Table Tennis, Curling and Badminton were added to the already successful Boccia and allowed our attendees to have a go at something different if they wished to. One of our clients its safe to say gave me a good run around playing Badminton.

At the mid-point of October, on behalf of Enrych as I was encouraged to attend a nature and wellbeing event based at Whistlewood Common in Derbyshire. Here, I learnt more about my own mental health in terms of my feelings and needs, whilst also developing a greater understanding of the feelings and needs of others and how to support myself and others on a journey to positive mental health. It opened my eyes to nature more for sure! It helped me to realise ways in which nature can help to ease the burdens of mental health and that things happen in nature which aren’t perfect. I set myself incredibly high standards in my life and this can have a knock-on effect- so it was beneficial for me to learn about the different elements of permaculture and everything that nature has to offer us in that process to better wellbeing.

Fast forward to November and I was overjoyed when as part of the contribution of Enrych on a steering group discussing disability sports and leisure activities, I was given the status of being an Active Together Champion- a role I am incredibly proud to have. Ultimately I want to help Enrych increase its voice in the community and help more people with disabilities to access sports and leisure activities in a setting which is inclusive, not intimidating. I also very much enjoyed celebrating my birthday with the Community Development Team and a good number of the Enrych clients at St Josephs Tea Rooms in Whitwick. It was a special moment to spend time with the people who have contributed immensely to building my confidence.

Moving into December, Enrych were invited by one of our partners, Leicester City In The Community, to take part in a football tournament. This was a great moment for Enrych, as this is something we have wanted to do in the world of sport. We were fortunate to come away from the event with the gold medals, but it was about so much more than that for me. It was about giving the opportunity for people who were perhaps previously isolated and felt unwelcome to participate in sport to play in an inclusive setting. You just can’t put a price on that as I very much know. I joined a community sort of start-up football club based in Ashby around the same time I started my journey at Enrych and want to help increase participation of people like myself who felt for a long time like sport wasn’t for them. By participating in football now myself as well as having a voice on the inclusive sports steering group, I was also invited to get involved in inclusive football coaching for Coalville Town Football Club at Newbridge School as well as attending inclusive play sessions for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities at Hermitage Leisure Centre. I felt hugely appreciated as someone with ideas of how to increase participation and how to make the environment more aware of ways to remove barriers to participation- which is our provisional motto for the steering group as well!

The final huge achievement for me of 2021 was the Healthy Lifestyle Award via North West Leicestershire District Council Sports Awards. I was nominated for this by Enrych and am honoured that they nominated me for it- let alone that I won it! I have been on a long journey to at least trying to alleviate the anguish caused by living with eczema for my entire life. I have become more aware of the right foods to eat and changing what I drink so that I have more water as well as immune boosting drinks such as green tea. In this process, I have lost around 20 kilograms of weight since 2017 and am now at the point where I am happy with my weight and also enjoy exercising each day rather than see it as a chore. I see the results if I push myself more and more and it will now forever remain a key part of my daily routine.

I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone at Enrych for making 2021 a special year for me and I will express my excitement here of all things coming for Enrych in 2022- with new activities and events on the horizon. I very much look forward to developing further strings to add to my bow and further growing in confidence. Happy New Year everyone- may you all have a prosperous and fulfilling 2022 and may you also enjoy the final moments of 2021!

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