Arctic Rugby Challenge 2015: Steve's Project Visit
The last couple of months have given me some experiences I’ll never forget, let alone the months that lie ahead! When I first signed up for the Arctic Rugby Challenge, it was done relatively blindly without much knowledge of what I was undertaking. Some things I did know for sure were, I was going to the Magnetic North Pole and I was going to be playing a game of rugby there (a definite first in both respects!) and I had committed to raising £50,000 for the Wooden Spoon.
I have now come to learn and really appreciate what this challenge is about, and that being far more than just the trek itself. While the imminent journey is round the coner (only 40 days away!) there is a serious sense of excitement building and I really can’t wait to get going. But before I leave I wanted to get a clear understanding of what kind of projects my fund-raising was going to and the effect it will have, so I organised a trip to a recently funded project in Edinburgh.
Walking past the unassuming wooden hut that houses the ABC Lochend Boxing Club, you’d never imagine it could have such a positive impact on peoples’ lives. But it does. As I entered the building Terry McCormack, founder of the boxing club, who was clearly proud to welcome us in to his second home, met me and fellow challenger John Houston.
We were shown around the small boxing club, complete with a weights room filled with donated equipment, a main training hall and a side extension with the boxing ring, which I was desperate to get in to and have a spar! Through the back there was a newly renovated changing area, which consisted of a large disabled area with a shower and toilet facilities.
Terry continued on his tour, his passion and pride evident throughout, telling us how much the Wooden Spoon has helped build and renovate this project turning it in to the facility that it is. They donated £22,000, which contributed towards the disabled changing facilities.
At the start of the tour, there was a gentle simmer of activity building in the main hall, kids piling through the doors. By the end there was a hive of activity that was quite amazing and inspirational to watch. There must have been about 35-40 kids from the age of 7-16yrs old, in this wee gym working out and getting coached by the three volunteer coaches.
The majority of these kids are from disadvantaged backgrounds and as Terry said: “if they weren’t here they would be out on the street getting up to no good and have no real direction or path in life”.
I am a strong believer in the power of sport for youngsters, and how much of an impact it can have on their development and it couldn’t of been more evident here.
There was one boy in particular, who has been going there for 4 years and suffers from learning difficulties. When he first turned up, he could not interact or speak with anyone, he would get bullied and was not going to or doing very well in school. Now he was buzzing about the gym interacting with people and getting on very well everyone. Further more, he is now apparently doing well in school and is a completely changed person and all this is thanks to this boxing club and the guidance it has given him, and he is certainly not the only one.
This effect this place is having on children of a young age with a disadvantaged background is impossible to get across in a blog but is one I am so glad to have seen and experienced. Terry dedicates most of his life here and I could only admire the passion he has.
To experience this in person and see the impact Wooden Spoon projects have on the lives of young children is truly inspirational and is something I am privileged to be apart of.
You can also be apart of this impact and support the Wooden Spoon by donating here: https://www.justgiving.com/arcticrugby-steve