A trustee's view

On a bright September morning I arrived at Cambridge University’s gym for my first PowerHouseGames. Although I’ve played sports competitively since my early teens, having never been to a PHG before I was slightly nervous but excited to see what the day was all about.

When John arrived with all the kit, it was amazing to realise how little was really needed to make such a big difference to the kids and students participating. I had been used to rowing and cycling events, with lots of teams assembling boats & bikes, so knowing that so much could be done mainly by having people involved was great.

As we set up I was intrigued to see how the different games worked – being notoriously bad at throwing I thought I could finally redeem myself with some new age kurling! As the different participants started to arrive from schools and Cambridge University I was really curious to see how all the participants may interact, remembering the nerves of being a child around lots of new people and the fear of not being included, especially in sports, so it was amazing to see how easily all the participants interacted with each other and helped each other. They were all split up into teams with different coloured t-shirts and the games began!

When I was at school all sport that I participated in was competitive and it was about being as good as you could be. This was something that made me not want to try out new sports. I knew what I was good at but the pressure that was always placed on winning so I stuck to what I knew rather than trying new sports. That is what made watching everyone get involved for the fun of playing rather than to be competitive so incredible. Everyone seemed so welcoming and comfortable to get involved and there was no weight put on winning, just who was having the most fun.

Spending the morning at my first PowerHouseGames was really eye opening to the incredible work that Power2Inspire does and is the reason I wanted to become a trustee. P2I is one of the few fully inclusive sports charities, that allows everybody to play no matter their ability. As a society we have become more isolated and sedentary. Unfortunately, that fear to try something different or get involved, means that more and more people don’t. We stay at home where we feel comfortable because people don’t want to risk not feeling included or good enough to be a part of the team, which unfortunately creates unhealthier lifestyles and poorer mental wellbeing.  That’s why it’s important that we try to change that, putting a focus on getting everyone involved and enjoying themselves, something that the PowerHouseGames and their founder, John exemplifies.

Anyone who has met John (the founder) will understand why I wanted to become a trustee of P2I. His positive attitude and real passion for bringing sports into everyone’s life is truly inspiring. John was born without fully formed arms or legs and was often ‘left on the bench’ in sports at school. We often talk about how ridiculous it is that he failed his swimming exam at school because he couldn’t dive to the bottom of the pool – a clear demonstration that people don’t always find ways to adapt sports for everyone.

I spent much of my teens and early 20s rowing competitively and since then have become a triathlete (albeit not a very fast one!). Sport is a really important part of my life and I have been lucky enough to see the positive impact firsthand. For me it’s really important that everyone has the opportunity to take part – whether that’s within a wider group or as an individual, so they can get the same joy and positivity that I have been lucky enough to experience through my own involvement in sport. That’s why I became a trustee of P2I, as I know if we can expand its reach and get more people experiencing the benefits then we are really making a positive difference.

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