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Young People from Get on Track programme ‘takeover’ Swindon parkrun

park run 001On Saturday 26th August, a team of young people from Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s Get on Track programme took part in a parkrun volunteer takeover at Swindon parkrun in Lydiard Park.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust believe that every young person has the potential to lead a positive life no matter what their background or circumstances. They train and develop world class athletes a bit like me to deliver programmes and empower young people. Get on Track is a 14 month programme for young people not in education, employment or training and helps them realise the attitudes and behaviours they need to make long term positive life choices.

The current programme is being run in conjunction with Wiltshire and Swindon Sport and was made possible by funding from Great Western Railway.

A large and an important part of the programme is coming together as a team to deliver a community project. The current programme running in Swindon chose to volunteer their services at parkrun and with the agreement and encouragement of the parkrun team, they carried out a ‘parkrun takeover’ for one Saturday only.

Under the guidance of Grant Turner from the Trust and Event Director Emma Sperring, the young people took on various crucial roles such as timekeeping, marshalling and barcode scanning, ensuring all 400 runners had a safe and enjoyable parkrun experience.

Grant Turner – Athlete Mentor, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust

It was great to see the young people on the programme step up and take responsibility for organising the parkrun in Swindon on Saturday. They all performed brilliantly on the day and all the regular runners seemed to really enjoy seeing the young people helping out on course and at the finish line. It was great to see the team in action, taking responsibility for over 400 runners and interacting with people in the local community. Hopefully it’s given them an idea of how fulfilling volunteering can be and they will go on to either volunteer at parkrun or other community events again in the future. Quite a few of them expressed an interest in coming back in future weeks and not only running, but volunteering again also.

Emma Sperring – Event Director, Swindon parkrun

“It has been an absolute pleasure being involved with the Get on Track programme and meeting such wonderfully diverse individuals in one morning.  The young people involved all took on equally important volunteering duties, from marshalling along the course to managing the finish line and barcode scanning.  They had taken on board all of the training given to them and carried out their duties to perfection with no one making any mistakes thanks to the excellent guidance given by Grant Turner.  At the end of the run I asked them all whether they would like to return to parkrun again and many raised their hands, not only to volunteer but also to run in the future.  One young person said that ‘it was great; everyone was so happy and friendly’.  I hope to see them all again soon at Swindon parkrun with their endless enthusiasm as I know that parkrunners really appreciated them being there”.

Dominique Oughton - Wiltshire & Swindon Sport

Wiltshire & Swindon Sport is focused on helping people and communities across the county create a sporting habit for life. We were delighted that the young people of ‘Get on Track’ were able to volunteer at Swindon parkrun this weekend. This fantastic opportunity will enable the young people to understand the role of a volunteer and the many benefits that go with it.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood

“We are committed to improving the journeys of our passengers, as well as the economic prosperity and social footprint of the regions and communities we serve. We had many responses from those in our communities looking for help, and I am delighted we have awarded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust with £31,627 in Year 2 of the Customer & Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) programme.”

About Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a national charity supporting young people facing disadvantage to lead positive lives through mentoring programmes led by world-class athletes. The Trust currently deploys athletes onto a diverse range of personal development programmes and community projects. The Trust is passionate about unlocking existing key qualities in young people: confidence, resilience, focus, motivation and determination. Visit www.damekellyholmestrust.org for more information.

                                                                                                

Positive life choices
park run group

On Saturday 26 August I was lucky enough to take 13 young people from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust Get on Track programme to Swindon parkrun for a parkrun takeover. I’m a former Olympic swimmer but now work as an athlete mentor for the Trust, working with young people facing disadvantage.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust believe that every young person has the potential to lead a positive life no matter what their background or circumstances. They train and develop world class athletes (like me) to deliver programmes and empower young people. Get on Track is a 14 month programme for young people not in education, employment or training and helps them realise the attitudes and behaviours they need to make long term positive life choices:

Determination, focus, resilience, motivation and confidence.

A large and an important part of the programme is coming together as a team to deliver a community project. Which brings us to parkrun.

The inclusive nature of parkrun is perfect for a programme such as this. It gives the young people a framework in which they can volunteer but comes with a level of responsibility which can be a stretch and pushes them outside their comfort zone. The young people on the programme have had to learn a lot over the past few weeks and in order for them to be ready for the big day. Two of the run directors from Swindon parkrun came to talk to the young people and explain all about parkrun and train the team in the use of scanners, timers and everything else they needed to deliver a parkrun.

On the day itself, despite a few nerves, everything ran smoothly. We had 13 young people turn up on time for 8:30am on a Saturday morning – that’s quite remarkable for a lot of them, so I was very proud of them. They did a fantastic job while they were there. They performed all of the roles on the day including timekeeping, scanning and marshalling out on the course. It was great to see the team in action, taking responsibility for more than 450 runners and interacting with people in the local community. They all performed brilliantly and all the regular runners seemed to really enjoy seeing the group helping out on course and at the finish line, the parkrun team were also very grateful for all their hard work. Hopefully it’s given them an idea of how fulfilling volunteering can be and they will go on to either volunteer at parkrun or other community events again in the future. Quite a few of them expressed an interest in coming back in future weeks and not only running, but volunteering again also.

It was a great morning and hopefully the experience can be replicated on other Get on Track programmes and at other parkruns around the country. Many thanks to Emma and all the Swindon parkrun team for making it happen.

Grant Turner
Dame Kelly Holmes Athlete Mentor

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