Tuesday, 5 March 2024
Tuesday, 5 March 2024

World Gymnastics Championships and charity partnership is changing lives

NATIONAL social care charity, Community Integrated Care, has revealed the remarkable results of the impact that its life-changing ‘Inclusive Volunteering Programme’ with the World Gymnastics Championships 2022 has had on volunteers across the Liverpool City Region.

An interim impact report reveals how the pioneering initiative saw more than 100 people locally supported by the charity enjoy personal development projects built around their individual goals and needs. This included 280 hours’ worth of volunteering opportunities at the event and mentoring delivered by the charity’s specialist community team, designed to build skills and friendships to last far beyond the event.

From ‘an accessible employability club’ inspired by the working routines of gymnasts, to a unique photography club that sees people visit Liverpool’s iconic places to build independent living and creativity skills, it offers a distinctively ground-breaking way of promoting inclusion and opportunity.

Delivering more than 10 million hours of care and support nationally, Community Integrated Care is one of the UK’s biggest social care charities. Founded in the Liverpool City Region, it provides specialist care and support to people who have leading disabilities, autism, mental health concerns, dementia, and complex care needs.

Following the conclusion of the Championships, a participant survey has uncovered overwhelmingly positive responses, with soaring confidence levels, diminishing reported anxiety rates, the creation of new friendships, passions, and feelings of greater connection to their local community.

Headline figures state that 100% of participants were proud of their achievements, with 75% of participants eager to continue volunteering in the local community and have the determination to attain paid employment in the future. 67% were inspired to try something new during the programme, with 62% strongly agreeing that volunteering had improved their well-being.

One of these projects – ‘Life Through a Lens’, developed in collaboration with a renowned arts organisation, Open Eye Gallery, had a profound impact on volunteers. Through a series of creative and accessible group workshops at a Kensington Neighbourhood Health Centre in Liverpool, facilitated by professional photographer Sam Batley, volunteers come together to explore new photography techniques, from cyanotype prints to polaroid collages.

Community Integrated Care Sports Inclusion Specialist, Karen McVeigh witnessed the impact firsthand, she said:

“It was a privilege to work with the volunteers, who each brought a wealth of talent and enthusiasm to the Programme, contributing majorly to the overall success of this international event.

“With a demographic of an average age of 49, our group face limited access to meaningful opportunities in society, and their abilities are often overlooked. From gifting hand-crafted soaps to visiting athletes, performing dance routines in the fan zones and professional – we’re proud to see people we support thrive and have the backing of such reputable organisations.”

Michelle Coulter, who is supported by Community Integrated Care, in Runcorn, said:

“Volunteering at the World Gymnastics Championships was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so proud I was a part of it. I loved the photography so much, that I bought my own camera for Christmas, as I want to keep taking photos. It helps me to capture those memories I can always look back on. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, and I’ve enjoyed feeling part of the community.’’

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