Sophie is a beneficiary of Illuminate and has written this wonderful blog piece about her journey. Thank you, Sophie, for sharing this with us.
“It was in 2020 that I first came into contact with Illuminate through the Papworth Trust. I had had a pretty rough time of it and was severely lacking in confidence so was put forward for the Confidence for Change course. Attending that course has changed so much for me. It was thanks to the course that my confidence did increase and I began to see my worth and, as a result, I began to stand up for myself and I started believing in myself again. I have achieved more than I dreamt possible since attending the course and recently I have taken some massive strides towards becoming the person that I want to be. It’s been really helpful to stay connected throughout the pandemic to the community group. It’s given me the opportunity to find time for myself with the ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ and Craft 4 Smiles sessions. I wasn’t sure I would have the confidence to turn the Zoom camera on at first, but I did!
For the last couple of years I have been trying to get open water swimming events to be more accessible to swimmers with disabilities and, with my new found confidence, it has allowed me to start campaigning and to start writing articles to make things more accessible and inclusive. To my astonishment, people have listened.
I created and now run the Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers Facebook group which has over 350 members. It has a mix of open water coaches, event organisers, swimmers and people with an interest in open water swimming. The group gives advice, supports and campaigns for better access to outdoor and open water swimming and has a really lovely, caring community.
In the past few months I have also built my own athlete/business website, passed my Level 2 Open Water Coaching course and I have delivered my first coaching session and for the first time in over 5 years I can say I have worked! I have also been writing a blog tracking the training that I am doing in preparation for swimming Lake Windermere Two way on 1st September.
Illuminate has helped me tremendously and I still use ideas and techniques that I learnt on the course now. It increased my confidence and reminded me that I can do things despite what anyone else says!”