By Josh Birch
Our Empower LGBT+ programme has become an amazing, healthy and inclusive community, especially in the trampolining and swimming sessions we facilitate at Ponds Forge. We caught up with Ellie Wilson, Empower Coordinator to find out more.
Ellie said: “We’ve seen numbers grow massively, I think they’ve almost doubled since we last evaluated where the session was at, and it’s been great to see a lot of new faces join in the sessions as word got out about the programme and particularly trampolining as well, it’s been one of the most popular ones that we’ve done. It’s been good to increase the numbers and engage with more people.”
Sam explains their experience: “I’ve been coming since the session started last year. It all started because I was friends with the coach and found out about the sessions through that and I’ve just been coming every week since and loving it. It’s just a nice friendly atmosphere, I wouldn’t have come trampolining otherwise. Everyone is so welcoming, and it makes it easier to make friends. It makes me feel more part of the community than I ever did before and it’s been nice to meet so many different types of people.”
Ellie Wilson talks about the progress within the participants: “It’s been nice to see a lot of the participants, particularly Sam, progress with their trampolining skills. They’ve absolutely enjoyed it, causing them to bring more people with them as well. Sam went from 0 to 100 to now doing somersaults and a lot of participants are starting to come along as well. We’re looking forward to maybe getting them a coaching qualification soon which is exciting.”
Sam mentions their own personal progress and thoughts: “I started off being able to go up and down and that was about it and now throughout the weeks we’ve progressed up and I’ve managed to do some front somersaults. I’ve been enjoying learning how Rowan coaches and maybe getting qualifications in the future.”
Ellie Wilson talks about the other sessions and the thoughts of the participants: “We currently have an LGBT+ swimming session on Tuesday evenings which is another session that has been massively popular and we’ve seen numbers growing from that too. It’s been nice to be able to get people to engage with each other and feel part of something bigger. As some of the participants have said they probably wouldn’t have engaged with that sport if they weren’t LGBT+ inclusive and accessible so that’s been really pleasing to see as well.”
If you would like to participate in any of the sessions that have been mentioned like Trampolining (16+) and Swimming (16+) at Ponds Forge, please contact Ellie.Wilson@sufc-community.co.uk or click here for information about the Empower LGBT Programme.