During the summer holidays, the Go4it team has been busy keeping the children of Trebanog and Penywaun busy! One activity we ran in each area was weekly family cooking. The aims of the sessions are to increase cooking skills and confidence with cooking, learning about food hygiene, cooking simple recipes from scratch and creating an environment to taste new and different foods.
We find that children who are fussy eaters will often try foods they have prepared and cooked themselves and eat things that they would not have tried at home.
One boy at the Penywaun session told us he hated salad and then proceeded to try peppers, tomatoes, cress and spring onions! He liked it all except for the sweetcorn, which he could not be persuaded to try! One Mum said “I was very pleased as my boy tried foods he would never try at home”.
One week, we also made turkey mince burgers. The children enjoyed weighing and mixing all the ingredients and shaping the burgers by hand, and they especially loved eating them afterwards! One parent said “It is a fab class where it gets all the children to try different foods and shows us different ways to cooking healthy meals”.
Of course in true Go4it style, the emphasis is on having fun! One week we made fun animals with different fruits which the kids can then eat. This was a big success with kids of all ages whilst introducing them to some new fruits such as blueberries and kiwi. One Dad said although “we are healthy people we realise we never get the kids involved in cooking, but we sure will now – Can we come again!!”
We’re in the middle of planning our next cooking course and finding the right location. Watch this space!
One of the things we love to do here at Go4it! is give our families the opportunities to try something completely new that they may not be able to otherwise. To try new things and meet new people.
Over the summer holidays, families are always looking for something to do with the children as a whole family to keep them active, happy, off those game consoles or bored stiff in the house. So on Monday the 21st of August off we went with a lovely group from the Cynon area to Atlantic College in Llantwit Major.
The day did not start according to plan with the bus not turning up. We were in a bit of a pickle, fair play to everyone, especially the children remaining calm and optimistic, especially since Richard the Go4it! Coordinator was beginning to stress! We eventually found alternative transport to the venue albeit an hour late and quickly got started with the activities! Hardly any of our families had met each other before so it was perfect that our first group activity was team building and problem solving! We used the main sports hall in the College and the facilities were amazing, it’s no wonder why people travel from all over the world to attend this college. We had some lovely university students from Canada, who are at the College for 3 months on work experience as part of their degree helping the families and leading the activities.
After an hour and half of great bonding and fun it was time for lunch. It was great to see the families beginning to mix with each other over lunch, parents chatting and children playing. Then after everyone’s stomachs had settled it was time to hit the high ropes and climb some rocks and beams!! This was so much fun with some of the walls and beams were a real challenge for our children and youngsters and even some of the adults! Everyone had a go under the safe supervision of the staff, even some of the 3 year olds (it was very cute). All the families wrote down in the evaluation that the high ropes and rock climbing was something new that they had done together as a family, which is great to hear.
To finish off the day, which had been so great we went for a swim! It was just for half an hour but gave the families more time to relax and play together and with all of them being big fans of swimming it was the perfect way to end what was a perfect day! Reading through the evaluation forms has filled the team with great joy and pride that we’ve done a good job. One family said “Fabulous day out. Keep up the fab work” another said “The whole day was fab!” and another said “it was nice to get away for the day and give the children something new to try.” When we asked them if they could have done something like this without Go4it! most of the answers were no because of lack of funds and lack of knowledge of places like this for children to try. This proves that Go4it! have contributed in a positive way and giving families in need of support the chance for new experiences. Another added plus was that the families have now become friends with each other, some have exchanged numbers and others had met up in the days after the trip for some dog walking, another bonus of the project. We try new things and meet new people.
What a lovely bank holiday weekend, I’m sure everyone enjoyed the weather, the extra day away from the office, spending time with friends and loved ones, eating and drinking maybe a bit too much (I’m guilty, but would have been rude not to). What better way to start the working week than conquering Pen-y-Fan… again, 4th time for the Go4it! team (yes, we’re incredible).
As part of our work in Trebanog where we have been engaging with the community since the end of March, working alongside Artes Mundi and The Trebanog Project we decided to end the summer holidays on a huge high (literally). It was a goal of many of the parents and children to climb Pen-y-Fan from the first time we even mentioned it a few months ago. Hardly any of them had attempted Pen-y-Fan before, only one of the children out of the group we took up last Tuesday, so it was going to be a tough old challenge for them. But everyone was determined to do so and off we went on a damp, drizzly, misty Tuesday morning, we set off! The conditions were not great and everyone was starting to realise why this was such a challenge, the children were loving it, hardly any complaints, they were eager to reach the summit. It was a shame there was so much mist as we couldn’t see the normal breath-taking views of the Brecon Beacons that you usually see but still we made it up to the very top. The joy and feel of accomplishment that the parents and children had at reaching the top and then making it back to the bottom is something that will stay with us for a while, it’s something quite special and was clear that for some of them it’s not a feeling they get very often.
After conquering Pen-y-Fan some families had a well deserved ice cream and we soon headed off on the bus home. Later on that evening we attended the last Trebanog Project Feast, which as always was stunning. During the feast we celebrated what everyone had achieved over the last few months and gave certificates for those who had earlier climbed Pen-y-Fan.
With the summer holidays into it’s 3rd week (yes it’s gone really fast!)….We’re here to tell you exactly what Go4it! have been up to and what we’ve got planned for the rest of the holidays!
Trebanog is where we are spending most of our time over the Summer holidays, we’re up there working with families and children 3 days a week, doing a variety of different activities.
To kick start the summer holidays we asked Gavin Thomas who is a semi professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter if he wouldn’t mind continuing to run his classes with the children in the area. Gavin started coaching the children of Trebanog at the very start of June originally for 4 weeks. As he has built up such a great rapport with the children and got them to listen, behave and show respect whilst having loads of fun and learning, we thought it would be silly not to continue!, Luckily Gavin agreed to continue and the club has gone from strength to strength, it started with 4 boys now we’re getting 13 children with a mixture of boys and girls! Gavin also told the children if they behaved and showed him they were listening to his coaching, showed a bit of development he would invite them down to his gym and they can join and get even more coaching! This would open up so many opportunities for them, Gavin himself has been all around the world competing in different competitions, some of the children in his club have been to Los Angeles to compete for Wales, and this would be paid for by Wales Jiu Jitsu. Gavin has his eye on a couple of children who have shown real potential and has invited 2 of them to join his club when the school term restarts which is superb!!
Every Tuesday Go4it! are linking up with Artes Mundi to run an outdoor club alongside the playscheme that runs in the community centre. Ros who runs the playscheme in Trebanog has up to 60 children every Tuesday attending with just herself and a handful of volunteers to look after them. So what we decided to do to help her was to run a different activity for the older children every week. The first week we took the children up and around some of the beautiful valleys that are around Trebanog. Whilst on the walk the children had disposable cameras to use and take pictures of the area and what they loved most about Trebanog. This was a fun easy session and start to the summer holidays for the children, it was very funny as well as the children had no idea how to use the disposable cameras, such is the age of technology that they live in!!
The following week we decided to use a bit of technology and take the children on a Geocaching trek. Ilona from National Park in Brecon who runs Geocaching courses came down to help facilitate and teach the children how to use the devices. Very funny moment again when the children thought the display screen was a touch screen and their horror when they had to struggle to use the toggle to navigate the device… The session was a superb success with 10 children walking 4 kilometers on a lovely sunny day, finding hidden letters out in the “Trebanog bush”! The children had to figure out what the word spelt and at the end they would get a prize! They guessed it with 2 letter still to find A M A Z I N G!!!!
Starting last Thursday was our family cooking with our fabulous dietitian Rhona. During the 4 week course Rhona will be teaching the families how to cook healthy, easy and quick recipes. These sessions are always really popular and is a great way that children and parents can socialise together as a family!
In Aberdare we are working on a 1:1 basis with families all over the Cynon area. We are working closely with close to 40 families, many of them tenants to help them live a more active and healthy lifestyle!
Over the holidays we are running a variety of different taster sessions with the different sports providers in the area to give everyone a taste of something different and fun!
Week 1 we had badminton, nice and easy first session of the holidays and one that the entire family can take part in! Next up we had Bowls in Mountain Ash. This was a very popular event the first time we ran a taster session and it proved to be popular again. We’ve also had a family take advantage of the clubs free lessons and they have now joined and go regularly on the weekend. Our 3rd session was Golf in Abercynon Leisure Centre. Again a very popular session and another club that offer free coaching to their members! It was a great session with parents and children joining in together. Next week on the 17th we have Cricket taster session at Sobell Leisure centre so if you know any families would like to come or your own please come on down for 4-5pm 🙂
Go4it! have been working with some of the families and children in Trebanog for nearly 6 months and we have put many different taster sessions and activities on for them. But nothing has quiet grabbed their attention and enthusiasm as much as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! The class grew from just a 4 children to 10 in the space of a week, with similar high number the following week. The class gives the children to release their high energy in a controlled, safe and enjoyable environment, whilst at the same time learning new skills and potentially finding a sport that they can call their own!
During the first session, Richard and Laura from Go4it! were unsure how the kids would take to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with many of them not knowing what the sport was or included. They were also a bit worried when they realised the way to win a fight is to either choke the opponent or twist joints until they tap out… This worried them. But the instructor was superb with the children and very firmly told them to be careful, it is just practise, we’re all learning and as soon as someone taps out we all stop and let go. To be fair to everyone they all listened and did so. The sport has a lot of respect involved. At the beginning of every fight both participants start with side hand tap and a fist pump (which looks really cool), and at the end the fighters bow to one another.
Safety is really important during sessions like this when children are being taught to fight and Gavin the instructor is brilliant with them all. His club is only down the road in Williamstown and he really gets them all to focus and challenge their lively attitude and high energy into learning how to fight safely. He demands respect but will in turn give it back to the children who really listen and take on board what he teaches them. The kids love him and really listen to what he has to say. At the end of the first session when the boys started to mess around a bit Gavin got them all lined up and said “look boys if you want to come here and mess around for an hour then that’s fine or you can come here for an hour and I’ll teach you to fight… fight properly”. With that Gavin had them hooked, their smiles of excitement you just knew they’d be back and with even more enthusiasm as before, bit they’d be keen to learn.
Gavin has spotted a few of the children who have real talent, that he’d like to take down to his club in a few weeks as they have huge potential to become really good Jiu Jitsu fighters.
Hopefully the class will be able to continue throughout the summer holidays but as Gavin himself is a top fighter and travels around Europe fighting and his partner is expecting twins, he’s a busy man. He is also keen to continue working with the kids so fingers crossed he’ll be able to continue, as the kids love it!
Within the 2016/ 2017 period Go4it! supported families within the Cynon area through Families First Funding and in Rhydyfelin and Beddau areas through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding from Jehu and Morganstone.
Click on the link below and check out what the 66 families we supported got up to during the year and read what some of them had to say about the help and experience they received from Go4it!
“This today, Everest next year!”
That’s what some of our families from Beddau were saying last Thursday as they and the Go4it! team embarked on a little trip up the highest peak in South Wales, Pen-y-Fan. At 886 meters (2,907 ft.) above sea-level it is a big challenge, especially for the younger children or those who hadn’t done it before.
Go4it! have been working with some of these families for over a year now and they have all engaged incredibly well, with many having come to nearly all our events, joined sports clubs, taken part in family cooking courses, having met with Rhona our dietitian and came to our brilliant weekend away last February in Trecco Bay.
10 families were free and eager to accept the challenge Richard set them of climbing Pen-y-Fan. Everyone met in Beddau for 10am in high spirits; with many first time climbers of Pen-y-Fan we were all very excited for the challenge ahead! We arrived on schedule at 11am to meet with Jeff from Mountain and Rivers Activities with his two assistants Michael and Jeremy who would be leading the group up the Mountain.
After Jeff lead the safety talk off we set, everyone geared up and ready for the challenge. We all set off together but soon drifted off into small groups as everyone had a different pace going up the mountain. All the staff drifted off into different groups to make sure we could look after everyone. The weather forecast didn’t look promising the day before or the morning of the event, but thankfully we were very lucky and had no bother. It was a bit chilly but once we were quarter of the way up hoodies and jackets were coming off as we all started to get a sweat on. Although there were some fog around near the top the views of the Brecon Beacons were still as always amazing, with many of us stopping for a quick look and time to admire our surrounding whilst also having some snacks and water.
The last of the group made it to the top of Pen-y-Fan in 2 hours which is some achievement for them, we were so thrilled and immensely proud of all of them. We had a group photo, few more snacks, lots of high fives and soon headed on off back down. The decent was a lot quicker but not easier, we made it down within an hour but it was definitely still a challenge but again everyone smashed it.
With everyone at the bottom there were lots of hugs, high fives, smiling faces and it was time to reflect on what an amazing achievement our families had just completed!
The next day Richard had some lovely texts from some of the families, one read;
“Thanks for a brilliant day out it was epic, tough, but I enjoyed it. Thanks to each of the team, I feel on top of the world.”
“Thanks for organising another fab day, we had a fab day proud of my girlies for walking up there”
It really was a fantastic day, Go4it! and especially Richard are incredibly proud of everyone who came along. We’re so glad people enjoyed and so happy with the achievements of all.
Tuesday 11th of April Go4it! and Ziggies joined forces to host our first ever joint event! Ziggies wanted to thank their volunteers for all their hard work with a fun day during the Easter holidays and hopefully see if they could sign anymore schools up to have Ziggies run in their school! Go4it! had the aim to sign more families up to the project within the Aberdare area!
What happens when you mix the Olympics, Great British Bake Off and Blue Peter? Our amazing event!!!
83 people came along for the day and it was a hugely successful! We started off with Ziggies reading “The Hare and the Tortoise” story for the children, which lead us onto making some craft. Rabbit hats with extra long ears is what we made and as you can see the results were eggsellent
We then took everyone outside for an Easter Treasure hunt themed Geocache! We split the group up into 3 and off we went using the GPS devices to find the hidden eggs. After searching high and low we found all the eggs, everyone had some fun in the fresh air and lovely sunshine!
After Geocaching we headed back inside for lunch and to prepare our healthy desserts! We made healthy “Sheep Cupcake” which was a plain cupcake, with a little bit of icing, some marshmallows for the fleece and a grape for the head! Following the sheep everyone made a “Rice Cake Chick” which was as simple as one rice cake, some strawberries for it’s nose and hair, icing for it’s eyes, apricots for it’s little feet.
The afternoon brought the Sport!! We had Football from Merthyr Collage students, Rugby from Abercwmboi RFC and Dance from Streetwise come along! Everyone got to decide what they’d like to try and they could switch around to experience everything! The kids again loved everything and there was something for everyone. We had one family with an autistic girl who doesn’t usually interact with anything or anyone but engaged really well with the dance teacher and joined in with the routine to the amazement and joy of her child-minder!
All round it was a superb day and a huge success!!!! Judging by the sign up sheets we’re going to be a busy bunch for the next couple of months!!
If you’re interested in any of sports that were run on the day please contact Richard on 07342058286.
Abercwmboi RFC- http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/abercwmboirfc
Aberdare Valley Football League- http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/aberdarevalleyfootballleague
Interested in having Ziggies in your school? Please contact Jo on 07917736926
Go Team!! #Go4it! #Ziggies #DreamTeam