As we’ve started to #ReturnToPlay, we'll be hearing from some of our team, as they explain what it's been like to get back to what we do best - which is bringing our unique life-changing support to young people most in need.
In our latest piece, Dan Ley, one of Welsh Mentors, describe his return back into schools in Wales and his preparation for next year’s Dallaglio Cycle Slam, where he’ll be raising funds for our work by joining the cycling event across Spain and Portugal.
The last few months have been very strange for everyone.
It was difficult to go from working with our young people on a weekly basis to suddenly not seeing them. I instantly missed the chats that we would have during the sessions about what they had been up to that week as well as the opportunity to get onto the pitch to throw a ball about.
However, it’s been a good opportunity to develop my own skills and I have made the most of this through UK Coaching and the Open University who have both provided many useful free resources over the last few months. There’s also been a lot of cycling in preparation for next years rearranged Cycle Slam and I have had both my children at home keeping me very busy and active!
Now that schools are back open in Wales, we are raring to go and eager to make those connections with our young people again. We want to know what they have been up to during lockdown. We want to build those relationships back up again and engage new groups of young people. Most of all we want to get back on the pitch and start having fun again.
So far it has been a cautious start as schools have obvious concerns about having external people, like us at RugbyWorks, coming in. The sessions we’ve held so far, although limited due to Covid, have been fantastic and the young people seem really glad to have us back.
As mentioned earlier, one of my main focuses this year is the Dallaglio Cycle Slam. This is an epic fundraising ride across Spain and Portugal. In preparation for this I, along with other ‘Slammers’ will be looking to take on smaller challenges to prepare for it. First up is the ‘Tour De Gwent’.
This is a 78-mile adventure around Gwent and Monmouth in south Wales with over 6000 foot of climbs - perfect preparation for the Slam! We will be sharing the experience across the RugbyWorks social media channels so keep an eye out for how we’re doing!
We are also looking at working with local businesses to host events to promote Cycle Slam and generate much needed funds to help our young people. This is hugely important not just for the fundraising, but also developing key relationships locally which can help our young people gain further opportunities in employment or training.
And the pre-Slam challenges don’t end with the Tour de Gwent! The next event will be an endurance challenge at my local gym, Unit 9 in Neath. Tom (my fellow RugbyWorks Welsh mentor and Slammer) and I will take on a mammoth cycling challenge involving one of the gyms spin bikes. Information on exactly what that will entail will be available soon but it promises to be a hell of a test!
It would be brilliant if you could support me and our other Slammers ahead of next year as we look to build a positive and productive future for the young people we support in Wales and beyond.
Please visit our fundraising pages where you will be able to get more information on the Cycle Slam and why we are doing it - https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanLey