Charlie Grainger and Freddy Moncur represented Leyton Orient at the Forest YMCA Centre in Walthamstow on a day of physical activity designed to promote physical health, emotional well-being, and inclusion in sport.
The event: ‘Get Active For Mental Wellbeing’, was free admission and provided an opportunity for locals to come down and get involved in sporting activity. Sports on offer included football, basketball, badminton, short tennis, boccia, tai chi and box fit. One aim of the day was to promote involvement for societal groups who are underrepresented in sport.
The hosts, YMCA East London, are a charitable organisation which has been serving the community for more than 40 years. They offer multiple services which help to improve the lives of local people, such as health and wellbeing and training and education.
Barbara Armstrong, Occupational Therapist for the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) said: “This is the second event we have run offering physical activity for people in the community of Waltham Forest. Maybe some of these people may not be able to easily access leisure centres so we are specifically targeting people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and additional special needs including refugee groups in the community. It is an open event, it’s free and it’s a partnership event. We run it with North East London Foundation Trust who I work with, GLL, the Council, Motivate East and Leyton Orient Trust.”
She continued?: “We were looking at offering inclusive sports opportunities for people, and when we set up the activity programme we look at those activities that can be graded, so support people maybe with physical health conditions, or some other additional needs. They are more scaled down activities and we also have the benefit of having a number of students, some from Leyton Sixth Form College, helping us to run the activities. They are actually doing a specific module as part of their course looking at supporting people with disabilities into sport. At the moment, we have had people attending from special needs schools and learning disabilities, groups from refugee and mental health groups and people from older adult organisations in the borough.”
The event was organised by Waltham Forest Sports Development Team, with help from Motivate East who provide funding for instructors and hall hire. With YMCA East London being in Waltham Forest, one of the Olympic boroughs, legacy money is filtered through to make events like this possible. YMCA themselves allow use of the sports hall at a reduced price, whilst Active Within help to deliver the coaching.
The day began at 11am and finished at 3pm. It was divided into a morning and afternoon session, both of which were well attended. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, the benefits of taking part in sporting activity, not just physically and mentally but socially also, were clear to see in those who had come down to take part.
When Grainger and Moncur arrived, they were welcomed into the sports hall and swiftly invited to join in with a game of badminton doubles. They were on opposite teams, and as the game progressed their competitive streaks began to show! The players then went to meet those who were playing football, and posed for a group photo, before handing out tickets for the Grimsby match which were well sought after throughout the day.
There were also organisations promoting health and well-being on stalls dotted around the venue. These include ‘Smoking Cessation’ alongside Public Health, the NHS, Carers Association and NELFT. There was also a stand promoting ‘Coping Through Football,’ and Leyton Orient Trust’s own programmes such as Theo’s Soccer Skills Centre.
On the whole, it was a very well organised day with a great atmosphere. It was fitting to see sport being promoted in this way in the presence of the Orient players, who represented the club magnificently once again.