We were delighted to welcome Olympic silver medallist, Gillian Lindsay, to our Tuesday Youth Meet Up this week.
Part of the Local People Dorking project and funded by the Youth Sport Trust, the Meet Ups offer young people, who are aged 12 to 16 years, regular social events at the Harvest Community Church, Stubs Hill, and the opportunity to meet new people and develop their leadership skills.
YMCA East Surrey’s Tina Antwi coordinates the Tuesday Youth Meet Ups.
“The Local People programme aims to bring about sustainable change and positive outcomes,” she explains. “I’m passionate about encouraging these young people to become more actively involved in their community and I’m excited to see their progress; I can see the changes in them already. They are Dorking’s future leaders.”
44-year-old rower, Gillian Lindsay, won her silver medal in the Quadruple Sculls at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She attended the YMCA event to give a Workshop offering training, guidance and inspiration to the young people.
“I grew up on a council estate, as part of a very ordinary family, but I had a secret dream to be the best in the world at something – I just didn’t know what that was!”
She was keen to share her experiences with the group, telling them that she had faced financial difficulties, injuries and crises of confidence.
“My success took loads and loads of hard work, discipline, determination and belief,” she explained. “It’s enormously important to me to stand here today, on a random Tuesday night, and tell these girls that I was just like them, with the same insecurities and doubts. I hope it will make their goals and their dreams seem achievable.”
Catherine Tighe, Development Manager for the Lottery-funded Youth Sport Trust, says:
“The biggest strength of the Local People Dorking programme is that it is locally driven. These are local residents who are making decisions about what they want to happen in their community. The project offers young people hope, opportunities and an element of aspiration.”
Kara, aged 12, attends the Tuesday Youth Meet Ups and is enjoying making new friends. Kiera, also 12, likes the teamwork and respect which she has found within the group.
“Another of our young people has been involved from the start of this project. She has really stood out and wants to change things,” says Tina Antwi. “Now, she has got other people involved and is a key driver in decisions being made on a local level.”
To find out more information about the Tuesday Youth Meets Ups, please contact Tina on 01737 229235 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org