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'.
Berkshire Youth's Waterside Centre
Berkshire Youth's Waterside Centre reopened its doors to local young people this summer after an extensive fundraising campaign to raise approx. £1.4m to renovate. After young people were hit hard by the pandemic the Berkshire Youth team took on board all of their thoughts and priorities to ensure that the programme of activities being offered at Waterside Centre fit with the needs and requests from the young people themselves, fulfilling their mental health and wellbeing. The sessions offered interactive opportunities for young people to build their confidence, self-esteem and meet new people.
During August, 812 young people attended the Holiday Activities and Food programme from paddle boarding to football and basketball. They were also put on free, healthy lunches in a bid to ensure that no young person went hungry over the long summer holidays. The youth workers ensured a range of fun, challenging and exciting activities run from the centre, using the inspiring facilities which have been invested in, e.g., wall climbing, dance studio and water-based activities. The opportunities available over the autumn term included boxing, fitness classes, indoor football and 'Sport in Mind' social cricket and football sessions.
Berkshire Youth also secured funding to go towards the cost of their activities for families so that as many young people as possible can access the activities.
The local community have given Berkshire Youth some amazing feedback about Waterside Centre and its provision. Here are just a couple: "This has been a brilliant scheme for the kids over the summer. Mine have been several times and absolute loved it. Good to have something for this age group in Newbury as there isn't much else for them. Really well organised and the facilities are good." "Thank you so much. My daughter and her friend have had a fantastic afternoon. Overcoming initial nerves has done her confidence the world of good. Exactly the kind of 'COVID recovery' that our kids need! Fresh air, water, socialising, new experiences, fun and great role models. Can't sing your praises loud enough"