Meet the Games Makers: 'I was the first person with autism to win a SPOTY award'
Games Makers are the incredible volunteers that will help to facilitate the nation’s biggest annual sports day this summer.
Led by Team GB – the national fitness event will take place on the 24th August and will feature a wide range of free and fun activities to get people of all ages and abilities active.
But it wouldn’t happen without the help of the Games Makers – dedicated fitness enthusiasts who will be sacrificing their time to make the day as brilliant and inclusive as possible.
We spoke to some of these inspirational volunteers to find out why they’re so passionate about making their communities more active.
Matthew Chilvers was the winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year unsung hero award – he’s going to be running community tennis sessions for people of all abilities.
What is it that you love about sport?
I love sport because I get so much out of it.
It is a great way to improve my health and fitness, while having great fun at the same time.
I have made so many good friends from playing sport and it helps me to develop my social and communication skills.
Participating in sport also keeps me active, gives me confidence and gives me the chance to speak to a wide variety of people.
How did you get into tennis?
I started playing tennis when I was six. The local tennis club had a great link with my primary school.
The coach came into my primary school to deliver a taster tennis session that I really enjoyed. I then joined my local tennis club and attended the Saturday morning fun coaching sessions and have been playing ever since.
Why are community events like this so important?
Events like I Am Team GB are really important because they are accessible to everyone, especially as the events are free.
They give people an opportunity to participate in a fun taster sport session by finding an event local to them. Hopefully they will be inspired to continue participating in sport after the event by joining their local club.
Sport and fitness adds to the community because it gives people somewhere to meet up and socialise, while being active at the same time.
Having sport and fitness in the community also gives people an opportunity to feel that they belong to a local club and to make new friends.
It also gives people something to do in their free time and they can focus on sport instead of any worries they have.
Why do you think more people need to be active?
There are many benefits of doing regular physical activity. They include boosting your mood and well-being, having stronger bones, muscles and joints, reducing anxiety and depression, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, helping you to manage your weight and improve cardio-respiratory fitness.
I’ve recently been invited to join the Sport and Recreation Alliance Youth Advisory Panel, which is focusing on trying to get more young people and children more active.
People in the local community can encourage more people to be active by word of mouth. If you have had a positive experience at a club sport session, spread the word and recommend the club or session to your friends.
Start volunteering in sport, because sport cannot happen without volunteers. The more volunteers, the more sport grassroots activities can go ahead.
How did it feel to win the BBC Unsung Hero award?
I was very proud because I believe it’s the first time someone on the autism spectrum has won the regional award.
I watch the event every year with my family, and to think that I have been there and met other finalists, as well as famous sports stars like Gareth Southgate and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is amazing.
It was an experience that I will never forget.
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
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