Get Active Tameside

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The last time I volunteered for Active Tameside was at Copley when I cycled 10 miles to help them raise money for the Believe and Achieve Trust as part of their ‘Cycle to Lapland’. I wanted to find out what other volunteering opportunities there were so I went to Medlock to try it for size. I didn’t think I was in any fit state to start running a fitness class so I instead supported others to get fit, especially as I had completed part of the Tour of Tameside in a car. Four days a week there is a group run for adults with Learning Disabilities. Dan was in charge and they had started the morning with a swim. When I arrived some of the group were doing arts and crafts and the rest were in the gym. I have had limited experience with gyms and when I volunteered to cycle to Lapland for the Believe and Achieve Trust at Copley I had spent some time with the bike on a harder setting than I would have liked. This time in the gym I was getting more advice than I was giving which was good really. It was nice to chat to people as they were exercising and be there in case they needed any help. Volunteering in a group can be lots of fun, there is plenty of banter and you get to support people make friends and access sports and exercise. The group came together to have lunch and then it was cooking and group sports in the afternoon. I had no idea that there was a kitchen on site that is used for local groups and schools to learn cooking skills. Sharon was leading the cooking. She had started off as a volunteer and now was an employee and loved her job. She hadn’t entirely given up her life as a volunteer as she runs a youth club and is a school governor. Sharon is one of the many volunteers I have met so far that volunteers for lots of different places. She invited me to visit Fairfield Juniors Youth Club one Tuesday to see some of her other volunteering in action.

Most of the time those cooking in this session get to take things home but on this occasion they were cooking for another group who were having their evening meal there. This meant sausage casserole and rice pudding. I had never made a rice pudding before and I was so surprised how easy it was; just milk, sugar and rice in a bowl in the oven for a couple of hours. I supported with peeling and chopping potatoes.

I then joined the rest of the group in the dance studio for more sport. It was kurling time, a sport like curling but with disks on wheels that are pushed across the floor to a target. No brushing needed. Nick and Leonie who are both now staff members helped with the teams, blue and red, which matched the coloured disks. I supported by throwing back the disks when they were knocked out of play so that everyone on the teams could have a turn. We had music on and there was dancing too; Nick leading me in a dance around the room and Leonie showed us her own brilliant dancing. Then we practiced throwing balls into a bin and I was encouraged to join in. I surprised myself by my ability to actually get the ball into the container. I was then given the world’s smallest ball in order to get it in. There was so much fun and energy in the room and the laughter was infectious. The time flew very quickly and soon it was time to go home.

There are many opportunities to volunteer for Active Tameside in their gyms, activities in schools, coaching and supporting community, youth and disabilities groups. There are various incentives of being a volunteer including free membership to the gyms and pools for 10 hours volunteering per week or a gym and swim pass for 7 1/2 per week. You can help with all sorts of sports including football, cycling, gym inductions, trampolining and swimming. You can even support young people aged 9 – 16 with behavioural issues by engaging them in sport and perhaps changing their lives. In the near future, they will be broadening their volunteer scheme further, to include their new Health & Wellbeing programmes (exercise in pregnancy, early years, older adults and adults with long term conditions). If you would like to find out more or register your interest you can go to www.tamesidevip.com