Last year, a challenging time for the whole world and our county, the GBA Awards recognised the fantastic contribution of local individuals and organisations to the mental and physical wellbeing of Berkshire residents. The 'Berkshire physical activity lockdown hero', a campaign celebrating the 9th GBA Awards' winners on BBC Radio Berkshire and social media, united residents, communities and activity providers around the joy and importance of physical activity and helped keep spirits high in the county during the winter lockdown.
This year, as we are recovering from the pandemic, the 10th GBA Awards will continue recognising individuals and organisations that contributed to a healthier and more resilient Berkshire. There is one award category – the 'Berkshire physical activity hero'.
Reading Cygnets Swimming Club
Reading Cygnets Swimming Club support those with learning disabilities. During lockdown they organised a "KEEP FIT" session each week on ZOOM. This was ran by two coaches, Nicolai and Claire, who set up two groups and worked simultaneously to cater for both the active and less active members. This was also accompanied by a WhatsApp group, dedicated to those in supported living, who are alone and unable to see anyone.
The zoom group enabled members to see their peers and reduce their feeling of isolation while enabling them to participate in highly essential exercise. As members of Reading Cygnets are not able to go out alone to get exercise due to the nature of their learning disability, these exercise classes were designed to help them keep focussed until September when they were able to resume swimming once more.
Gordon, Chair of the Swimming Club, said: "My team and I are extremely honoured to firstly have been nominated and secondly to have won the award for Physical Activity Hero. We are earnestly grateful for the recognition. The work my team do is so beneficial to the health and mental well being of so many children and adults with Learning Difficulties and this award should be dedicated to them and the young volunteers that make this possible."