Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Getting active at Inspire Blackburn with Darwen's Winter Olympics

people dressed as Christmas trees

Getting active at Inspire Blackburn with Darwen's Winter Olympics

4 January 2018

CGL Blackburn with Darwen and the Challenge through Sport Initiative hosted an event in July 2017 to encourage social inclusion and connectedness. It was called ‘The old skool sports day’ and was was offered to all in recovery in the Blackburn with Darwen area as well as their families, children, and the professionals who work with them. The event was a huge success, and feedback suggested that another similar winter event would be welcomed.

So on 19 December 2017 we hosted our second sports day at Witton park indoor arena in Blackburn. The aim of this event was to tackle inactivity within disadvantaged groups. This is high on the agenda for public health in the borough and was used to promote the ‘eat well, move more’ strategy in the area. The event focused on the integration of service users and their families, in a day of sporting fun with a winter sports and Christmas theme.

A number of regional services took part, breaking down the barriers of stigma and discrimination towards those who suffer from substance misuse issues. The day encouraged positive relationship building between these groups in an atmosphere of friendly competitiveness and fun. The event also encouraged service users to link up with the physical activities on offer through CSI and Inspire, and make healthy lifestyle choices.

Over 150 people engaged in the event. Ten teams participated, consisting of service users and staff from services throughout Lancashire: Inspire North Lancs, East Lancs, Blackburn with Darwen, Acorn housing, Emerging Futures, The Thomas project, Nightsafe, CGL Knowsley, CVS, and The Salvation Army.

"We loved it especially how everyone was involved together, this really cheered me up being in a team with all these people."

Each team had 10 participants, who were challenged to take part in fun sporting games throughout the afternoon. Games were available for all levels of sporting ability, such as:

  • Santa Dash - participants dressed up in Santa costumes and ran in relay to their teammates.
  • Dress the snowman - This involved nominating a team member to dress as a snowman using toilet roll. Efforts were judged and points awarded.
  • Elf sleigh race - a team member was nominated to be dressed as an elf and to sit on the sleigh (skateboard); team members were given reindeer antlers and stationed at each end of the arena. Their task was to pull the sleigh, collecting reindeers as they went.

The games were great fun, each consisted of 2 rounds of heats and a final, and points were awarded at every stage of the games. The winning team of the 2017 Winter Olympic event was Team G (Blackburn with Darwen Inspire staff).

"What a belter. Great day teamwork at its best."

The day was planned and organised by myself, ABCD co-ordinator for BwD inspire, and Jane Moodie the project manager for CSI. The stewards on the day consisted of CSI volunteers and peer mentors from the Blackburn project.

Some of the early feedback shows the fun had throughout the afternoon. One gentleman was clearly anxious and lives a solitary lifestyle, however, he soon engaged in the games, thoroughly enjoyed the event and created some new support networks. We were complimented by several people on the quality of the day.

"Fab day, our guys loved it, thanks for a superb day, you’ve made my Christmas."

Both events were a huge success, and this really captured the spirit of community integration and connectedness - and of course Christmas Spirit!