PR and Marketing Executive, Joanna, discusses her charity days supporting local charity Living Sport.

Sport is a very big part of my life, for this reason I chose to support a charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough through participation in sport and physical activity. Regular exercise is so important for both our physical and mental wellbeing – we all know that exercise is good for our waistlines, but research has also shown that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the risk of stress and depression. Unfortunately, for many people access to sport is limited due to factors such as finance, time and disability. Living Sport aims to make sport accessible for all by increasing and improving opportunities.

My first volunteering day was a big one for the Living Sport team, as that evening the charity was to host its annual ‘Living Sport Sports Awards’, and I spent my day assisting with the setup of the event. The Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of talented sportsmen and women, coaches, volunteers, organisations and clubs from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Over the course of the day, I helped with a number of elements that bring these ceremonies to life. Much like the events Conscious Communications runs, such as FXP Festival and Brains Eden, it was all hands on deck to set up the venue and ensure everything was in place for a successful evening. There was no time to be wasted – signage needed hanging, table plans arranging, presentations and tech setting up, and, most importantly, the trophies needed to be carefully arranged in order of prize, crucial for ensuring the Awards presentation ran smoothly. As the venue was attached to a school, we were unable to access the room where the arrival drinks reception would take place until 3pm; this meant a very quick turnaround as people started arriving from 5.30pm! With a lot of great teamwork, in the space of just a few hours we saw the venue go from glum to glam, as we transformed it into a glittering setting for an Awards ceremony. As I had fundraised for Living Sport earlier in the year, I was invited to stay for the evening too, which was a great opportunity to meet some of the admirable people involved in Living Sport.

As well as being a great chance to celebrate, the Sports Awards are an opportunity to showcase the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations each and every day, to support the health and wellbeing of their communities. It was an inspiration to see each nominee and winner get up on stage to receive their award; including a commendable young woman who, despite suffering from cerebral palsy, has completed multiple 5k and 10k running races.

When I returned to Living Sport a few weeks later for a day in the office I discovered a lot more about what the team does on a daily basis. Through my own fundraising I was aware of the various events, coaching and courses Living Sport organises to support the physical health of people in the community, however, I did not realise to what extent the charity is involved with improving mental health too. One of my tasks involved inputting and assessing feedback from a workplace wellbeing workshop the charity had organised for HR Managers and Wellbeing Leads from Cambridgeshire companies. By assessing the feedback forms I was able to identify what the delegates at the wellbeing events most appreciated and particular topics of interest, including managing stress in the workplace and how to develop a strategic approach to workplace wellbeing. This feedback will now be used when the charity organises future events.

Social media is a large part of my daily activity for our clients at Conscious Communications. I was able to use my expertise and give the charity some pointers on how to manage its social feeds more effectively. For Living Sport, it is crucial that it makes sure all of those brilliant events and courses are listed on the Facebook page for easy access!

 When it comes to charity work everyone has something different that inspires them – whether it is animals in need, the elderly, the homeless – there are so many different causes that need our attention. I really connected with Living Sport and what they do, and hope to get involved with more of it in 2018!

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