GOGA Peer Support
Last week I headed over to Carney’s gym, at Carney’s Community Centre, in Wandsworth after being tipped off it could be a good place to recruit peer mentors.
I work on a project called Get Out Get Active (GOGA) aiming to get more people active through fun, physical activity across the UK using mentoring. I didn’t expect such a gruelling work out or that I would meet so many people with incredible stories, Like Marcus, a wheelchair user who spent a good chunk of his time motivating and supporting others.
After my accident, I was told I’d never walk again and that I shouldn’t even do any exercise. Boxing changed all that. My dream is to set up an accessible gym. There isn’t anything for disabled people here. When I was ready to get fit again the only place that could cater for me was in Stanmore, a three hour round trip. My girlfriend and mates used to pile into the car just so I could work out
Faster Kate, do you want another round?!
That was the voice of Junior who led the Boxfit Session.
As I chatted to the manager of the centre George, he told me how Junior had turned his life around, having been through the youth offending system, he used sport to move away from crime and now nurtures and motivates other young people to steer them away from crime and find a positive alternative through sport and activity.
Both Marcus and Junior are great examples of peer support. This is when someone uses their lived experience of something (such as a disability) to coach and support someone who is experiencing similar barriers.
I’ve been through it, I can relate to someone who has become disabled
I saw Marcus motivating another person, a non-disabled person, breathing words of encouragement. For many people, having that kind of one to one support means they can gain the confidence to get out and active, even if their goal is a short walk once a week.
My role is to match people who need support to get active with a mentor, acting as a kind of buddy. Full training, support and references are provided.
Tired, sweaty, I was given some time at the end of the session to talk about GOGA and see if anyone wanted to sign up as a mentor or mentee. Ten people stepped up “I would love to volunteer and support others to be active!”
Could you volunteer or do you need support to get active? Want more information?
Call Kate Pieroudis (Peer Support Lead) on 07715 960 710 or: