THIS IS PART OF WHAT WILL BE A SERIES OF BLOGS OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS DESCRIBING SOME OF THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE EXTRACARE CHARITABLE TRUST. THIS WAS THE ORGANISATION I FOUNDED AND WORKED FOR FROM 1987 THROUGH TO THE TIME I RETIRED IN 2010. I HOPE IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS TO LOOK AT NEW WAYS OF LIVING IN LATER LIFE.
For other blogs in this series, click on “ExtraCare Traditions” in the TAG CLOUD
In 1992 the Olympics were held in Barcelona and in The ExtraCare Charitable Trust we decided to have our own version of the games for the residents of our nursing homes and the extracare housing schemes. This was our first “Sports Day” which was held at Ernesford Grange Leisure Centre in Coventry. Several hundred residents attended, wheelchairs, zimmer frames and all. There weren’t any Paralympics at the time, otherwise I am sure some of our residents would have wished to compete in them.
The games we selected were designed to enable all residents to be able to take part. Table skittles was one of the easiest challenges but we also had a wheelchair obstacle course, a mobile scooter driving experience, netball, football, archery and climbing. A sort of schools sports day for grans and granddads.
The biggest challenge was skiing with Eddie the Eagle Edwards, which on the day we did on a snowboard which an artificial ski slope. It was a particularly hard challenge, especially for some of the more disabled residents but Eddie Edwards was a great coach and encouraged many residents to have a go. In the years ahead we used many TV and Sports personalities to add to the glamour of the events we held.
We also continued with many of the sports we started and below is a resident on a dry ski slope at the Ackers Trust in Birmingham.
After this first sports day we set up “Activity Captains” in each of our schemes and the promotion of a whole variety of sports created a whole range of opportunities for our residents. They became more and more adventurous as time went on and included:-
CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING ARCHERY SNOOKER BOWLS
SAILING, FIRSTLY ON LOCAL LAKES AND LATER ON A TALL SHIP ACROSS THE CHANNEL AND IN SAILING BOATS IN GREECE
WALKING THE PENINE WAY AND LATER ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
CYCLING FROM LANDS END TO JOHN O’GROATS (IN THE FITNESS CENTRES)
CLIMBING ON LEISURE CENTRE CLIMBING WALLS AND LATER RISING TO THE THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE
THE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW IS RATHER MORE SEDATE BUT JUST AS EXCITING. A GROUP OF RESIDENTS TROUT FISHING ON THE LAKES AT COOMBE ABBEY IN COVENTRY.
In 2006 our sporting ambitions culminated in us sending 10 residents to Melbourne in Australia to attend the Commonwealth Games. This time they were just spectators but courtesy of a contact we had with the Welsh athlete Alan Pascoe, and also our long standing association with Geoff Capes, our residents were able to attend a BBC reception and meet many famous athletes at the time.
WE NEVER DID THINGS BY HALVES IN EXTRACARE !