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Blog: "Getting active has changed everything for me"

Hi, my name is Robert Anderson and I am 28 years old. I have additional support needs that affect my concentration, learning and handling of money. I attended the Department for pupils with additional support needs at Glenrothes High School with my brother. I was a little active but not a lot. I am very close to my brother and grandparents although I live on my own. My girlfriend is called Pauline and we met at a GOGA in Fife activity session. My brother supports me a lot and we are proud that we have never fallen out. I am a happy person every day and I enjoy meeting new people. 

RobertI joined up for the GOGA in Fife programme as a participant almost three years ago and attended a number of weekly sessions and I was so proud the day Richard approached me to become one of the first GOGA in Fife peer mentor volunteers. I currently attend badminton, swimming, run, jump and throws sessions and I volunteer at multi sports sessions and events. Attending these GOGA sessions has improved my fitness and sports skills and I now enjoy competing in Fife and Scottish Championships events.

I first decided to become involved in activity sessions because it was something to do during the day and sometimes in the evening. I quickly learned it was a great way to meet new people and establish friendships. At the same time I was getting fitter and better at playing sports. My swimming now is really good compared with how it was when I started. The coaches are so supportive and our squad of peer mentor volunteers are brilliant. They are another family to me now. I have learned so many new things and I enjoy helping others.

I have always enjoyed football but GOGA introduced me to so many different activities and football is less important in my life now. I love athletics, badminton and swimming and I am pleased how much better I am now in all these sports. GOGA also introduced me to lawn bowls at Dovecot Bowling Club. At first i joined with other learners with disabilities but now I am a fully paid up club member playing in internal and external competitions for the club. As well as making friends with lots of club members my ability as a bowler has improved so much that I am now a member of the Disability Sport Fife bowls team and I compete for Team Fife at national events. Two years ago I was voted most improved athlete at the Disability Sport Fife Championships.

Getting out and about and being active has changed everything for me. I have more energy to do things and I am less likely to lie around and watch TV. I walk whenever I can and my volunteering in particular gives me a great buzz. I am sometimes asked now to lead the warm up at multi sports or run, jump and throws and that makes me so proud. There are lots of participants that look to me to be their support peer mentor volunteer and this also makes me so proud. I am much more confident about everything I do now that I am more of an all-round sportsperson.

There are so many special moments in my life as a GOGA in Fife participant and volunteer. I was really proud the first time my grandparents came to the East Fife indoor Bowling Club to watch me bowling in the Fife Championships for the first time. Disability Sport Fife nominated me for a Kirkcaldy and Central Fife volunteer award and I was runner up with my brother. I know that there are lots of multi sports participants who value me as a support person and rush to have me as a partner. I enjoy being known now as a very good all round sportsperson. 

I recommend sessions like GOGA in Fife to all young people and adults especially those who are not active, may be lacking in confidence and do not get out too much. The GOGA in Fife coaches and volunteers helped me so much at the start and I am now helping others on the same journey. I would never have joined a lawn bowls club but the path GOGA marked out for me made it so very easy. My advice to others is to try as many activities as possible until you find the one that suits you best. Bowls was never on my radar but it now takes up a large part of my life. My club is near my home and like my home it is a safe space for me. Physical activity influences my life every day. I am proud to be a member of Disability Sport Fife and involved with GOGA in Fife.