2020 has presented challenges across Wales, the UK and beyond. Millions of peoples’ lives have been impacted by the virus; daily rituals, habits and the smallest of tokens we casually enjoyed as part of our lifestyles have either disappeared or drastically changed due to measures to help keep us safe and protect our services.
As the country began to find its feet again, school playgrounds, colleges and sports fields alike began to buzz again. When Wales was placed into a two-week lockdown, there was a threat of a wider impact to people’s mental health and well-being. Particularly for the youngest members of our community for whom this year has been a confusing and destabilising one.
In such times, you can hide or rise to the challenge. Or maybe even set yourself an additional one!
Which is exactly what Brackla JFC did with a little help from a local business, Aspen Waite Wales.
The two local forces collaborated to devise a 14-day Lockdown Challenge, encouraging both players and coaches to complete a one mile run or three mile cycle every day. The challenge was set and the response was truly incredible.
Over the two weeks, 20 participants took part, smashing the distance target by covering 560 miles all tracked by Strava on the group page set-up to ensure every metre was met!
Impressed by the endeavours of the club, Aspen Waite Wales got involved donating £1 per mile ran and £1 a mile for every three miles cycled. Not only was this challenge a physical one, it was a creative one too as every participant was encouraged to do their daily exercise in fancy dress with Aspen Waite Wales rewarding such fun endeavour with an £5 donation. And it didn’t stop there.
The Challenge was so popular, parents wanted to take part too and were incentivised further by Aspen Waite Wales who donated 50p for every extra mile completed.
In total the children, parents and coaches associated with this incredible grassroots club raised an impressive total of £3,169 which will be saved for training kit, equipment and a contribution towards a much-deserved Club Tour when it is safe to arrange. Brackla JFC and Aspen Waite Wales received a huge amount of praise from the local community with one member saying;
“It’s been an amazing two weeks and everyone has bought into the challenge full heartedly. This would not have been possible without the ‘Fancy Dress King, that is Darren Talbot’. He is a real inspiration, always trying to help, support and encourage others. A massive thank you to him and Aspen Waite Wales for supporting the U13 and U16 fundraising challenge.”
Whilst one parent added,
“I can’t thank the club and Aspen Waite Wales enough for this challenge. My child’s mental health has been really bad but since this challenge happened, it’s pushed him to exercise and get some fresh air and it’s really helped with his mental health. So, for that we are forever grateful”
Darren Talbot, a Brackla JFC Manager and Director of Aspen Waite Wales, expressed his delight and pride when reflecting upon the challenge’s success.
“Lockdown has hit everybody hard, from our work life to our personal lives. Sport has always been a great outlet with plentiful physical, social and health benefits. For lots of us it has become even more important, as we find a ‘normal’ around Covid19. With the lockdown meaning players couldn’t enjoy having a kick-about and seeing their friends, it was great to be able to devise the challenge, keep active, have fun and help people when they needed it.”
“We have a way of doing things at Aspen Waite Wales and pride ourselves upon building a world where business owners never feel alone. Whilst we’re working away on delivering that, outside of work, it was nice to similarly ensure these young footballers and those at the club felt supported and connected. We hope they enjoy utilising the funds they worked so hard to raise on their club tour in the future!”