A group of young people facing disadvantage in Swindon will be mentored by world class athletes, as part of a transformational programme led by the charity of Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
Get on Track is the flagship programme of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which trains and develops world class athletes to empower young people facing disadvantage to take control of their own futures and contribute positively within their local communities.
The community-based programme will start on 25th July at Swindon Rugby and will be led by Grant Turner, former GB Olympic Swimmer from Swindon and Chris Weale, ex professional goalkeeper.
Week 1: On Your Marks!
On Your Marks is the beginning of Get On Track where young people explore a series of personal, and social development activities that aims to stretch comfort zones, and achieve learning outcomes that establishes a platform for young people to continue to build from.
On Your Marks explores the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust 5 key attitudes of focus, resilience, motivation, confidence, and determination in an environment that is supportive of young person needs and barriers.
Young people will develop their communication and leadership skills by engaging in reflective learning opportunities through this period of Get On Track. By the end of On Your Marks young people should feel motivated and engaged to continue with the rest of the Get On Track programme.
Week 2: Get Set!
The second week of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust (DKHT) Programme in Swindon saw the young people complete the first part of ‘Get Set’ on the DKHT Get on Track programme.
Over the 3 days the young people completed a Town Task, which included a series of tasks and challenges based around Swindon Town centre in small groups, with the aim to explore their own communities and start thinking about the opportunities available to them.
Day 2 was a visit to the Link Centre which included a tour of the facilities, a presentation on the employment and apprenticeship opportunities available along with a session on the Extreme Trampoline Park, which everyone enjoyed !
The final day saw the young people take part in a Rugby session delivered by Wiltshire and Dorset RFU’s Community Sports Coach, Steve Barber. This session encouraged the young people to work as a team, learn new skills and try a new sport.
Week 3: Get Set!
During this third week of Get on Track the young people visited the Oasis and were kindly given a tour of the facilities and learnt what the leisure centre can offer the local community.
After the tour, the young people took part in a fitness session delivered by Delores Douglas. This involved a mini circuit session, a short spin session, an introduction to the gym and its equipment finished off with some fun races. All thoroughly enjoyed the session, but we did have some very sore legs the following day!
Day 2 involved the 2 Athletes, Grant & Chris sharing their life stories and the journey and choices they have taken to get to where they are today. It was fascinating to hear that even World Class Athletes go through tough patches, especially making the transition to a life beyond sport. The young people listened hard to the stories and some could really relate to some of the experiences.
The day finished off with a penalty shootout against Chris (ex professional goal keeper). Needless to say who won!!
On the final day of this week the young people completed a 1st Aid qualification. A tough day to get through, as lots of theory work and listening, but all credit to the young people who took it all on board and passed. Big thanks to Rik & Jordan from WASP for delivering the course.
Week 4: Get Set!
During the fourth week of Get Set, GLL kindly provided a 3rd tour of one of their facilities, this time at the Health Hydro. The young people were given a tour of the facilities on offer along with a history and ghost talk!!
Part of the programme is for the young people to complete a Community Challenge. The aim of the community challenge is for the young people to work effectively as a team on a complex project, work out roles and responsibilities and budget effectively for their challenge and present ideas for feedback. Our community challenge is to volunteer at Swindon’s parkrun held at Lydiard Park on Saturday 26th August.
Two of the run directors kindly gave up their time to provide the young people with a presentation on what parkrun is all about, the ethos behind it and the different types of volunteering roles available on the day.
On day 2 we had 8 Business Volunteers who kindly gave up their time to work with the young people for the day on getting their CV’s up to date and provide them with some interview preparation ready for the mock interview session next week.
The week finished off with an excellent day at Cotswold Country Park where the young people faced any height fears they may have had by completing numerous challenges on the Head 4 Heights High Ropes course. Activities included free fall, high all aboard and totem pole challenge. A fantastic team building day which all thoroughly enjoyed!
Week 5: Get Set!
The week started off with a full-on sport and activity day with a further Rugby session in the morning kindly delivered by Steve Barber again. This time the emphasis was more on competition and game situation. All participants got stuck in.
In the afternoon, our very own Rik Grover gave an archery session to the young people. Something that was brand new to most of them and which they thoroughly enjoyed.
In between the sport sessions the young people were asked to work in small teams and prepare a pitch to present to a Dragon’s Den panel later on in the week.
Day 2 was mock interview day. 10 business volunteers kindly gave up their time to come and be interviewers for our young people. Each young person was asked to dress smart and take part in two interviews based on a job career they wished to pursue. This was a great day by all and the young people could all see an improvement in their interview techniques from the 1st to the 2nd one.
Day 3 was Dragons Den pitch and GO Event planning for 30th August. Each group stood up on stage and presented their ideas to the panel. A great achievement by all and confidence levels have really improved over the past 5 weeks.
Community Challenge - Young People from Get on Track programme ‘takeover’ Swindon parkrun
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".
Positive life choices
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.
Dame Kelly Holmes Athlete Mentor
Go Celebration Event
On Wednesday 30th August, we held our Go celebration event at Excalibur Communications. Thank you to Excalibur for hosting us at your very impressive offices. The evening showcased the incredible work the young people have achieved over the past 5 weeks.
With over 50 in attendance including the Mayor of Swindon, David Hemery CBE, GLL, parkrun volunteers, Swindon Borough Council, local businesses, the young people and their families and the team that delivered the DKHT Get on Track programme the event was a huge success.
The event entailed networking and refreshments on arrival, followed by a welcome speech by our very own Steve Neale, a thank you speech from David Wreathall who helped delivered on the programme followed by a presentation from Grant Turner. Grant explained the ethos behind Get on Track, gave a description of the type of activities we got involved in over the past 5 weeks and talked about his journey.
"Going through mainstream education, it was clear from early on that I was a kinaesthetic learner, and struggled to engage with some of the core subjects that typically provided a more auditory type of teaching. Throughout my education journey, sport was my consistent, whether it be on the Rugby field, tennis court, or in the swimming pool, I always felt like my learning was progressed at a higher rate. I took this learning preference into all sport I took part in, and fortunately my commitment to sport from a young age, coupled with the support I received from family and loved ones, lead to a career as a professional athlete, concluding with competing at the 2012 Olympic Games.Since retiring from competitive sport, I have carved out a career as an athlete mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, they have provided support to myself, and other retired athletes, to use key attitudes developed over the course of sporting careers, to support young people to make their own attitudinal changes using sport as the vehicle for social change."
To round off the evening and what was the most challenging and nerve racking part for the young people, was for each young person to give a short speech in front of everyone and talk about themselves and what they had learnt and enjoyed on the programme. We as a team are so pleased and proud to say that every single young person succeeded this and what a massive achievement it was for them all. Well done.
If you would like to see the videos of the speeches and presentations from the 'Go Celebration Event' please visit our Facebook page click here @WiltsSport you can also find many pictures and clips taken throughout the programme.
The programme doesn’t end here though, we have already received several support and work placement opportunities for the young people from businesses and organisations that attended the evening, which is just fantastic.
We also have the Keep in Touch days where we meet as a group to continue supporting and encouraging these young people on their life journey’s.
Quotes we have received either during the programme and after the Go event:
"What a great bunch of young people that came to parkrun this morning. I take my hat off to them all coming along to something that is possibly out of their comfort zone. But to see the enthusiasm during and after the event was amazing to see."
Tim Howe– parkrun volunteer
"The event was a true celebration. I was so impressed by the young people on the programme. They showed real strength of character, from the way they welcomed guests to the moving way they spoke about their experience in front of an audience."
Geoff Keogh – parkrun volunteer
"Such a positive celebration. It was such a pleasure to be involved. There were plenty of smiling faces and even a few tears. I was overwhelmed by the young people’s stories and feel privileged to have helped in some way."
Emma Sperring – parkrun volunteer
"Congratulations on a superb evening last night. I left feeling a few inches taller as I oozed with pride for your team of young people. There was a call out for further support from the industry leaders in the room and I was wondering what else I can usefully do to support this cohort. I don't have a work placement to offer, but what I can offer is my time to support one or two young people through the next few months."
Hannah Jones – Leadership Coach
‘Well done on a great project and event last night. I would like to discuss the possibility of one of your young people doing some voluntary hours for us with helping with Swimming Lessons, with the scope to get her Level 1 qualified in the future. I may have opportunities for voluntary work leading into paid work for some of the others too if they are interested."
Cheryl Pottinger – GLL
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