Each week we are digging through the Goalball UK archives to look back at some of our favourite memories from the sport from years gone by.
We continue this week, where we left off last week, looking back at 2020 which has been a very different but nonetheless memorable year.
The prestigious End of Season awards took place (online) with Sam Gough and Hannah Webber being announced as the winners of the Player of the Season and Service to Sport awards respectively. All the League winners and top goalscorers were also confirmed. Beginning with Winchester Goalball Club, we launched our monthly ‘Club Focus’, highlighting some of the great activities they had been doing during lockdown. The Goalball UK staff team also completed Stonewall Sport Empowerment training.
After months of hard work, Goalball UK released their government approved ‘Return to Play’ guidance enabling clubs to start making plans to commence training sessions again. Linked to this, the staff team completed Reactivate training. They also all successfully qualified as Mental Health First Aiders. Having had to patiently wait for lockdown restrictions to ease, supported by Kathryn and Stephen, Phil Green completed an epic bike ride (in one day) from Barnsley to Liverpool for his #TwoPointSixChallenge.
The month started with our Return to Play Conference (including the AGM) with brilliant workshops focusing on a number of different topics. We officially welcomed Alex Cockerham to the staff team, as a Project Officer, and a milestone was reached when the GB Men returned to training. We also acknowledged UK Coaching Week, the Great British Week of Sport, Sports Aid Week and National Sporting Heritage Day with case studies on various members of the #GoalballFamily.
The GB Women were next to return to training as well as 4 clubs – Cambridge Dons, Croysutt Warriors, RNC and Winchester – with ‘top tips’ being shared to help other clubs with their plans. We also celebrated Black History Month by speaking to players Caleb Nanevie, Ada Eravama, Aneesah Rabbaane and Devante Claridge about their black sporting idols.
We announced details of our exciting new #FindTheNext Goalball Academy and held fascinating ‘GB Time Outs’ with Joe Roper and Sarah Leiter in which we got to find out more about them both on and off the court. We celebrated Trustees Week and Children in Need Day and entered a team in a Call of Duty tournament helping to raise awareness of our fabulous sport.
We (hopefully!) spread lots of festive cheer with our Advent Calendar – a Christmas cracker joke was provided each day by a member of the #GoalballFamily. We also brought everyone together on Zoom for a fantastic ‘Jingle Ball’ Christmas Quiz. We celebrated Rainbow Laces Day and Christmas Jumper Day and welcomed 2 new Non-Executive Directors, Ranjit Singh and Paul Reid, to the board.
So that’s just some of the highlights from 2020. We hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas, despite the circumstances, and wish you a Happy New Year. We look forward to creating more memories and celebrating more successes in 2021 (and beyond).