Leaving for pastures new

As Village Games Officer Beth Turner sadly leaves CST for pastures new, she reflects positively on her time in the company in the first of a series of three blogs on the importance of community sport...  

Beth Turner profile picI am moving on from the Community Sports Trust to start a new job as a Support Worker for the Occupational Therapy Department at Nottingham University Hospitals. This has been influenced by the people and communities I’ve been lucky to work with and the colleagues who have guided and challenged my thinking. I’m privileged to have supported a very special group of people within the Amber Valley communities. I’ve watched them flourish as they’ve set and achieved goals which have surpassed expectations.

I started with the Community Sports Trust in June 2013 as part of their Village Games project. Fresh out of university and armed with the theoretical knowledge of how sport and physical activity should be delivered, I was nevertheless somewhat daunted at the prospect of getting out into the towns and villages of Derbyshire and seeing first-hand the variety of meanings and values which are placed by people on being active

During the first few months in post, I packed an array of activities into my diary – from parish council meetings and public health meetings to speed-dating style networking events and coffee mornings and cycle rides with local residents. On one memorable occasion I was sat on an old style double decker bus where there were pants strung from the windows, a mad scientist at the front reciting funny poems and a quirky character acting as a tea lady rattling a cart up and down the alley. It was a surreal but truly inspirational experience, far removed from the typical day of someone working in community sport, but attending it had tremendous value. The lady who had organised the bus as part of a travelling arts festival had a clear passion for the place she lived and was one of those crucial links that enabled me to bring the work of Village Games and the difference it can make to   her community.

The arts festival provided me with a fresh perspective and gave me the confidence to approach new challenges with an open mind and to take the opportunity to talk to anybody I came across. I came to appreciate the value of talking to as many people as possible – the location or context of the conversation was secondary to learning about the people.