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!
This past weekend Go4it! and our families from Beddau went on a lovely, action packed, fun weekend stay at Trecco Bay holiday resort, Porthcawl. We left on Friday evening after school and returned Sunday midday. It’s safe to say we all had a brilliant time!
Around midday Friday the Go4it! team of Richard, Rhona and volunteers Kieron and Rebecca headed off to Trecco Bay, with two car loads of equipment, food and a positive attitude to make this weekend brilliant for our families! We checked in, got the caravans ready for everyone to arrive and waited patiently with a lovely cup of tea!
The bus picked our excited families up just outside Bryn Celynnog School in the middle of Beddau at 4:30pm. It’s safe to say everyone couldn’t wait to go but we were lucky not to lose anyone before we’d even left! The school were also going away but on a ski trip, at the same time and there were lots of people waving their children off, Laura who had gone to meet our families joked that they had swapped buses and were going to Germany instead!! Luckily they hadn’t and were finally on their way to the rest of us at Trecco Bay!
5:30pm a big bus pulled into Trecco Bay car park with 27 excited children and 20 equally excited parents! We all said our hellos and off they went to get settled into their caravans. We met again at 6:30pm for a Geocaching tour of the campsite; we were worried that it might be trickier in the dark but if anything it added to the experience. At the end there was a surprise visit from Freckle the frog too which the children adored!! Then it was free time for everyone to do as they pleased. We had provided the families with a chicken pasta recipe and ingredients for them to cook for their evening meal, it went down superbly!
We met at 9:30 Saturday morning for a relaxing Yoga session. Everyone participated and some of the parents loved it so much that two asked to do more and were eager to join a club once they return home! Most of the children participated and enjoyed but were most excited for making our lunch; Healthy Wraps.
Families had fun together making healthy wraps for their picnic lunch on the beach! Kids and adults alike enjoyed making their wraps colourful by choosing a selection of vegetables such as peppers, carrots, cucumber or tomato, to add to their ham or cheese wrap. It was great to see the children enjoy eating what they had made and also to see them trying new foods – such as pesto or hummus!
Once we finished our wraps it was off to the beach!! We didn’t get the sun of Spain but Costa Del Porthcawl was good enough for us, it was as if the sun knew we were going and needed it, as soon as we arrived out it came! It was a good thing that it did because what we hadn’t anticipated or even thought of was the Sea and where the tide would be, unfortunately for us it was in, but there was still plenty of room to play catch, parachute games and search for interesting rocks. We had our lunch in the sun, looking out to the sea, it was delightful and I think everyone needed that time to relax and enjoy each others company.
After the beach it was more free time for the families to enjoy Porthcawl and the facilities available at Trecco Bay, many of them took the opportunity to go Swimming or play football. There was a cooking challenge for them to do in the evening; we gave each family a set amount of money for them to buy and cook their own healthy meal, we asked them to take a picture of the meal as the winner would get a prize!
The Go4it! team spent most of our evening in the entertainment centre and we mingled with some of the families who had the same idea as us. At one point Richard and Rebecca got dragged up to the dance floor by some of the children to dance with them, it was a great evening and a very fun day all round!
On the Sunday; our last day of action camp, we had lots of fun making a healthy breakfast all together. We made our own muesli with oats, sultanas, dried apricots and a variety of seeds, topped off with a selection of fresh fruit. Not only did this fun activity offer new skills, such as weighing, chopping, stirring and following a recipe, it also encouraged kids to try new foods such as seeds. Everyone loved making and eating their breakfast and some Mums said they were keen to try making it again at home!
It was also one of the children’s 6th birthday today so we surprised him with a card signed by everyone on camp and a cake that the children got to enjoy with the birthday boy, he was a very happy lad!
After breakfast the families had a few more hours to enjoy the park before heading home. We met for 12pm to wave them goodbye. I think everyone was a very disappointed to be leaving and heading home, it was such a fun weekend, nobody wanted it to end. Then is was time to say our goodbyes, we waved the families off and that was that, Go4it! Action Camp 2017 Trecco Bay… Done.
What the families thought?
The feedback we’ve had has been amazing; with 8/10 being the lowest rating we’ve received for how much the family enjoyed the action camp. Most of the families highlighted the “cooking, beach and spending quality family” time together as their favourite things about the weekend. It is safe to say the weekend was a huge success and we would definitely do it again and would go back to Trecco Bay again as they were very helpful throughout our stay.
So what do Go4it! have going on in Rhydyfelin for you to try?
Monday 20th of February
On the first day of half-term we have a very exciting taster session for you all to enjoy. We will be running a Trampolining session for you to come join in. it will be at Hawthorn Leisure Centre between 2-3pm and if you enjoy this week there is a club running every Monday at the same location between 3-7pm so we can try and get you into a weekly class if you enjoy!
Wednesday 22nd of February
On the Wednesday of half term we are offering you the chance to come to a Netball taster session with Rhydyfelin Netball Club! This will also be at Hawthorn Leisure Centre between 12-1pm. The club are always looking for new players so come down and enjoy some Netball and ask the coaches when their training days are!!
Friday 24th of February
The last day of half term (all parents cheer) we have an exciting opportunity for both parents and children! We will be running a Boxercise session at Jamie Arthur’s Boxing Club in the morning 10:30-11:30am. Our instructor Ross has experience teaching children and adults and runs a similar class for women on Friday evenings. Ross will also be looking to start a children’s class soon too, so if you really enjoy please let him know afterwards and we’ll look to set up a regular session!
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the events! Please feel free to bring friends and family with you!
The Six Nations is finally upon us! This great tournament between the 6 best European Rugby Nations is full of passion, full of culture, full of tradition and full of fierce rivalries, one such rivalry will be happening this weekend in Cardiff, when Wales host England.
Game 1: Scotland vs Ireland
The opening weekend did not disappoint, with Scotland causing an upset of sorts by beating the in form Ireland 27-22 in Edinburgh. Many saw this as the game of the weekend and so it turned out to be, Scotland racing into a 21-8 half time lead. But by 63 minutes Ireland had come back to lead by 1 point… with the scores at 21-22 in Irelands favour up stepped the Scotland skipper to land 2 late penalties and win the game for Scotland, which is only their Second opening Six Nations game win EVER!
Game 2: England vs France
Next up were the reining champions England hosting France. Not the entertaining game that everyone would have liked especially after the previous game. England not performing well at all throughout the game and France looking the their old selves… had the sleeping giant of World Rugby awaken? They used to have so much attacking flair and play the game so eloquently, were the France of old back? Although they did score the first try of the game and lead 16-9 with 10 minutes left unfortunately the England bench did what a bench should do, make an impact. The England subs came on and brought an intensity to the game and England scored a the try they needed to win the game 19-16.
Game 3: Italy vs Wales
Then Sunday came and it was the turn of Wales to take on Italy in Rome! Wales took a lot of criticism during the Autumn internationals for their poor performances and their lack of attacking play, even though they won 3/4 of their games, their most successful Autumn campaign in over 10 years. Italy with a new coaching staff were full of confidence after recording their first ever win over a Southern Hemisphere giant when they beat 2 time World Cup winners South Africa November, they wanted to continue their good form so this was going to be a great game. It was the Italians who started the better and scored the first try and actually lead 7-3 at half time. But to Wales’ credit they didn’t panic, when there was an opportunity to take points they took them, clawing back to lead 12-7, then they showed everyone what they are capable of, scoring 3 superb tries and running away 33-7 winners.
This weekends fixtures are; Italy vs Ireland. Wales vs England and France vs Scotland. The weekends big game is Wales vs England. It will be a big occasion and one everyone is excited about! Wales have home advantage and will want to make use of that and turn the Principality Stadium into a cauldron of noise and make it a hostile place for the English Rugby team. This game means a lot to the people of Wales, it is the one everyone wants to win. This game is a lot bigger than usual as England have won their last 15 games in a row, Wales haven’t beaten them since the 2015 World Cup group game. If Wales win, it will send a clear message out to the rest of the world that they are a force. Everyone has written them off and think it’ll be a comfortable England win… but this is the Six Nations, this is Wales vs England, it’s in Cardiff, anything could happen… Come on Wales! Cymru Am Byth!