Spirit of 2012 was a partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and was chosen by the Scottish Government to create a sustainable physical activity programme - The Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund - to support the objectives of getting the least active people in Scotland more active.
The fund aims to reach those people who are classed as physically inactive and work with groups who are most at risk of inactivity. One of the eleven projects funded through the programme is Drumchapel Sport.
Here at Spirit, we’re always keen to find out about the direct impact our funding is having in communities across the UK. In the case of Drumchapel, it quickly became apparent that there was no-one better equipped to give us the inside information than Georgina Duffy, who has been volunteering at Drumchapel Sports Centre for a staggering 23 years. At Spirit of 2012, we LOVE volunteers, so we asked Gina a couple of questions...
Gina. Thanks for taking a breather from all this hectic activity to talk to us. Tell us how you came to be involved with volunteering at Drumchapel Sports Centre.
"Well it was a long time ago! I’ve always lived in Drumchapel and I’ve been involved here for 23 years as a volunteer coach for the gymnastics. That’s my sport and love it and love teaching young people."
Wow. That's a long time. Where you always interested in gymnastics?
"To be completely honest, being from Drumchapel and having a big family, money was an issue, so we weren’t offered sports by our parents. I would just watch it on TV and copy it in the garden. As I got older, my daughter took up gymnastics and she was in the British Display Squad. I was chaperoning a trip to Gothenburg in 1999 and was asked if I could cartwheel and do the splits, and would I like a small part in the display as someone had dropped out! I was thirty years old and I took up gymnastics, being coached with proper training! Then I made the Scottish Gymnastics Display Team."
That’s incredible. So with that experience in mind, what sort of difference does it make to kids in the local area having a free, well-equipped gym with coaches right where they live?
"As you can see today, the kids absolutely love it. A lot of these kids would not normally be introduced to sport by their parents, like myself, so we can actually take them out their school environment and show them the sports available. They might not like gymnastics, but we can introduce them to other sports and they can find one that’s right for them. They can get the opportunity to channel their energy into sport and be something that they might not normally be encouraged to be."
They might not like gymnastics, but we can introduce them to other sports and they can find one that’s right for them. They can get the opportunity to channel their energy into sport and be something that they might not normally be encouraged to be.
What do you think the benefits are for kids trying new sports, getting active and getting involved?
"Well the obvious benefit is health. Health is a big issue, especially in these deprived areas. There’s also the social aspect – socialising with people and learning the team element of some sports. Other sports make you think for yourself. These are lifelong skills that will stay with them forever. If they do that regularly, it instils these skills so it’s not just about the sport and the health aspect but we’re actually teaching them to make decisions and be better people. When they go out into the big bad world out there, they’re equipped with these skills to deal with situations they may come across."
What is it that attracted you to volunteering and keeps you coming back?
"For me it gives me a good reason to get up in the morning. I come here and meet these inspiring young people. I think when something is a job, you start to think of it more negatively over time ad you can lose the passion and get inundated with things like paperwork. For me it’s about coming in here, seeing the kids enjoying themselves ad just knowing that you’ve made a difference to one child’s life. That’s enough to get me up to be here at 9am every morning and sometimes til 10pm at night. With volunteering, you don’t lose the passion."
Couldn’t agree more. What’s your own favourite activity you do here?
"It has to be the dance. Working with the adult disability group it doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in on a Friday morning, when they come in they lift my spirits! We have great classes and its great fun."
Will you have a slow dance with me?
"Only if you come regularly to the classes!"