Volunteers needed to power Get Out, Get Active programme in Falkirk

Fun and friendly cycles...resumed at Falkirk Stadium last week and already the six-week blocks of classes run by GOGA are booked out until September!
Fun and friendly cycles...resumed at Falkirk Stadium last week and already the six-week blocks of classes run by GOGA are booked out until September!

Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) will reach the end of its three-year Spirit of 2012 funding in December.

But lead officer Eva Finlayson is hoping other funding sources can be found to power the initiative.

In all weathers...the GOGA weekly walk, which leaves from Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, is hugely popular with all ages and abilities.

In all weathers...the GOGA weekly walk, which leaves from Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, is hugely popular with all ages and abilities.

So she is calling on more volunteers to come forward to help future-proof GOGA.

Eva is also appealing for local businesses to consider sponsoring the scheme.

Run by Forth Valley Disability Sport, GOGA was one of only three projects in Scotland which received Spirit of 2012 funding.

Its aim was to recreate the spirit of pride and positivity that defined the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Multisports event...was held at Grangemouth Sports Complex on April 25 and attracted more than 40 participants who tried out a range of activities they may never have considered before.

Multisports event...was held at Grangemouth Sports Complex on April 25 and attracted more than 40 participants who tried out a range of activities they may never have considered before.

In the last two years, Get Out, Get Active has been encouraging people who are inactive – be they able bodied or disabled – to join forces for inclusive sports.

And it has proved to be a massive success story across Forth Valley, with regular events staged not only in Falkirk but Alloa and Stirling too.

On April 25, for example, GOGA held a multisport event at Grangemouth Sports Complex.

Some 42 people gathered to try out activities including tennis, boccia, archery, bowls, table cricket, basketball and board games.

Eva said: “It gave people a chance to try something new, challenge themselves and meet new friends too.

“We’d like to thank everyone who came along, as well as the volunteers who supported the event.

“We’d also like to thank Martin McGookin from JKS Karate, Barry McGeachy from Cricket Scotland and Stephen Sutton from West Quarter and Redding Cricket Club for delivering sessions.

“We hold two multisport events every year to give people a chance to try an activity they may never have considered before.”

The event also gave GOGA an opportunity to showcase the other activities it runs.

In Falkirk, that includes a walk every Friday from 11.30am to 12.30pm, which leaves from Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon.

Last Thursday, GOGA also resumed its fun, weekly cycles from Falkirk Stadium.

Solo and adaptive bikes, as well as helmets, are provided for those who want to get back in the saddle.

So popular are the six-week blocks of classes – priced at £3 per session or free for carers and families – that they are already booked out until September.

However, Eva doesn’t want that to put anyone off.

She explained: “The rides are fully booked but if more people come forward, we’ll put on another class.”

Also popular are the fun fitness sessions held every Monday from 2pm to 3.30pm at Forth Valley College.

Eva said: “Students help out with games hall sessions, as well as working one-to-one with our participants.

“It’s a huge help to us but students also benefit as they gain valuable experience.”

GOGA also runs a multisports event in Alloa’s Hawkshill Community Centre every Tuesday and a walking group every Friday at Riverbank Resource Centre in Stirling.

All of the activities are free or low cost, open to people of all abilities and staffed by volunteers.

However, Eva is hoping more volunteers will come forward to safeguard GOGA’s future activities.

She said: “All of our sessions are low impact, fully inclusive and sociable.

“The aim is to get people active again but also to meet new, like-minded friends.

“Most sessions are also run by volunteers so we’re constantly looking for people to support the programme.

“Volunteers often come from partner organisations, such as the college, sensory centre, Braveheart or CVS.

“We’ve trained a lot of people but not all of them have stayed so we only have a small number who help on a weekly basis.

“We offer walking, cycling and buddy training but in return we’d like people to commit to helping out.

“So if you’re friendly, have good communication skills and can make a small time commitment every week, we’d love to hear from you.”

As the clock ticks down to its funding ending in December, GOGA will be making bids for grant aid.

However, Eva hopes local businesses may also help.

She added: “We can buy a second hand solo bike for £80 but adaptive bikes cost from £2000 to £9000.

“Even small donations could made a big difference. We’d be delighted to hear from anyone who can help.

“GOGA is well established in the Forth Valley area so we’d like to think the project will have a lasting legacy and volunteers will be able to keep it going.”

To find out more about GOGA or volunteering, contact Eva on 01786 466486, email goga@fvds.org.uk or visit www.facebook.com/gogaforthvalley.