Physical Activities Co-ordinator Vacancy

Are you looking for a rewarding full time role where you make a real difference to the lives of local children and young people?

Good news! with a 3 year grant from the Tudor Trust approved we are seeking to appoint a Physical Activities Co-ordinator.
Someone who will enable vulnerable children and young people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through participation and enjoyment of recreational sport, physical activity, healthy eating and positive life choices.

We are looking for an energetic, experienced and enthusiastic team player who will encourage children and young people to ‘have-a-go’ in a safe and supportive environment.

If you think you have what it takes to join the Aspired Futures team, please request a Job Description and Person Specification from Lorna via e mail at Office@aspired-futures.com, quoting reference: PAC-Sept2017

Closing date for all applications is 19th Sept 2017
Please note that all staff are required to undergo an enhanced CRB / DBS check

Alan Giles acrobatic flight

Little did I realise that a throw-away comment to Ron Parker, the former Editor of the West Midlands Mensa magazine, would lead to me completing one of the items on my bucket list and raising nearly £300 for two great charities just over a week later.

Though very much a passive member of Mensa for the past 30 or so years (apart from reading magazines and entering the chess tournaments when time permits), events organised by Ron in the past few months have seen me getting more involved and when the opportunity for flying followed by fish and chips came up, I couldn’t resist and the excitement of flying would surely see me burning off all the calories (I’m trying to lose weight!) contained in the fish and chip…ok chips.

It was on that day that I mentioned to Ron that I’d always wanted to do an acrobatic flight, not realising that Ron himself is a qualified pilot and that he knew that such flights are possible at ‘Take Flight’ aviation centre. Hana from Take Flight happened to be walking by at the time and announced ‘yes we can do that’ and of course one thing led to another and I found myself discussing dates….errr…..’next Saturday any good?’, to which the reply came ‘yes, it’s charity day at the centre’.

Little did I know that ‘Take Flight’ support the work of ‘Aviation Without Borders’, a humanitarian charity and on ‘National Kids Fly Day’ they provide flights to kids who are carers, disabled or disadvantaged and on the day, with pilots and organisers giving their time as volunteers.

My daughter Amy works for a fabulous charity in Blackpool which provides long term support to kids in Blackpool so a couple of days later with a few minutes free, I started looking at how to set up a website so that people can donate if they wish. It took seconds so if anyone is thinking of raising funds but thinks it’ll be complicated, it’s really so easy that even a technophobe like me can do it! Within five minutes I’d not only completed the page but I’d put a link on Facebook. If you’d like to add to my sponsorship then this link will take you there uk.virginmoneygiving.com

Driving to the centre, my partner Mel asked if I was nervous, to which there was a resounding ‘yes but I’ll get over it’. So we continued, arriving as kids were coming and going….by plane of course.

Seb, the pilot who was going to be at the controls of the flight met us and we walked over to the plane, a Slingsby Firefly to prepare it for today’s ordeal. Apparently Prince Harry flew one of these aircraft when he trained as a pilot.

Like a scene from ‘Top Gun’, we clambered in (you don’t do this elegantly with parachutes on your back) and secured ourselves with the straps. Paranoid? Me? OK so I did adjust them at least three times and probably ran out of fingers on at least one hand when counting the times I tested them by pushing up as hard as I could to make sure they wouldn’t come undone.

Seb fitted the video camera to the windshield and then closed the cockpit roof and we set off. Alas, as we taxied down the runway the video camera stopped working. Disappointed as I was, I privately thought ‘at least there won’t be evidence of screaming’ should I not take to it – I was still quite nervous but trying hard not to show it.

After reaching around 3,500 feet Seb did some sharp turns to get me (us?) accustomed to the G forces…a bit like driving really fast round a bend in a sportscar and then announced that the next manoeuvre would be a roll….so we rolled to the left and kept going until we had passed the point of being upside down, ending up back in the same flying position as before. The ‘Feeling OK’ asked by Seb was met with a big grin – I think he worked out I was having fun. ‘OK, next the loop then’ as he dipped the nose, increasing the speed to around 130 knots before pulling back on the joystick. Soon I could see the clouds directly ahead, then house in the distance then fields below before again returning to the level. Another big cheesy grin of approval! ‘OK, this time my favourite manoeuvre, the stall turn’ said Seb as he again dipped the nose to get the speed required. A pull back on the joystick to put the plane in the vertical climb, up and up and…..until the plane could climb no more and for a moment was stationary. A sharp turn to the right and we were soon in a vertical dive with great views (I kept my eyes open throughout) of the local scenery. A quick check by Seb to make sure that the smile was still there before announcing that we would now do all three, one after the other making the smile grow….this was serious fun! The combination of all three in succession was, for the first time on the flight, somewhat disorientating. I asked Seb how he managed to come out of it and know which way we were heading. He pointed to the clouds and said that he’d been keeping an eye on our relative position to some clouds though as they were moving too, wasn’t an exact science. He held up a set of maps, there for contingency if the disorientation proved too much even for an experienced pilot such as him (despite his young age). On the way back we flew upside down which was an interesting experience….my entire weight supported by those straps (the ultimate test of my tightening skills).

So we landed back, Mel a happier person to see me back in one piece, with added grin. She confessed to having been quite nervous too.

Would I do this again? Absolutely! If you think you might enjoy it then go do it NOW! If you’re near the Midlands then ‘Take Flight’ at Wellesbourne is a great place to have a go and I’m really grateful to Ron, Hana and Seb for making it possible and for making this an experience never to be forgotten.

The event has raised nearly £300 for two great charities too. If you’re interested in the work they do then visit the websites:
www.aviationwithoutborders.org
www.aspired-futures.com

And if you’re interested in Flying with ‘Take Flight’ it’s:
www.takeflightaviation.co.uk

A message from our founder, Carmen Conquer

Aspired Futures has grown, over a period of 8 years, from strength to strength.

I have always felt very privileged to have the opportunity to work with some amazing dedicated people, volunteers and staff, who like myself fully believe in the Aspired Futures concept and have been willing to dedicate not only their work life but a  substantial amount of vocational time to achieve our original vision of creating a total child focused service for the most vulnerable children and young people.

As one of the original founders, alongside Sue Williams, Aine Frith, Gerry Atkinson and Andrea Clowes,  Aspired Futures gave me the opportunity to grow into my role as Director of Services and over the years it enabled me to shape and influence the organisation, operationally and strategically. However now is the right time for me to take a step back, my personal circumstances have led to me taking the decision to reduce my workload and take on a new role from the 1 April as Strategic Director alongside remaining a Trustee. In my new role I will be working closely with the Senior Team, committing to continuously exploring funding opportunities to ensure the long term sustainability of Aspired Futures.

I am relocating to Portugal at the end of April but thanks to technology will be able to sustain a strong working link with the team.  I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the people who have supported me in my previous role and I am looking forward to a new chapter as I have no doubt the organisation will continue to thrive.

Matt’s marathon ‘attempt’

I guess the first question when anyone says they are going to run a marathon is why? It’s a crazy distance and you need to be super fit with lots of time to train. In my case I have a great reason to attempt a marathon and the motivation for it came last year.

Some of you may recall I spent a day at Aspired Futures last year filming a video to go on the new website. I met some amazing people and got a great insight into how Aspired Futures works. As a designer we get to works on lots of cool projects for many different types of companies and organisations but my experience at Aspired Futures was completely different to anything I’ve ever done before. I remember driving back with my colleague discussing how privileged we felt to have met the team, children and young people.

Aspired Futures is all about changing outlooks and our day there certainly did that for us.

Back to why I’m running a marathon then! Simple, I want to raise money to help Aspired Futures to continue with their great work. The reason it has to be a marathon is because I’m horrendous at running so it is a big challenge!

Whilst this is my first post my training actually started back in November. I always keep fit but have stayed well clear of running because it’s just not my thing. You can probably imagine then my first 3 mile run which was a complete shock to the system. It was cold, dark, raining and to be blunt – painful. Since then I’ve built up my distance and now have a structured training programme in place. This means 3 runs per week, two are 6 miles and the third run at the weekend is as far as I can go. I also do weight training, climbing and some biking each week. Yesterday I completed a half marathon followed by half chicken roast dinner to give me back some energy!

Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting updates of my training and journey to ‘hopefully’ completing a full marathon. I use the word hopefully because I do have an ongoing problem with disc damage in my back which could stop me. However, I am getting regular physio and doing everything I can to avoid injury.

Mentally I’m fully prepared. If I fail doing this but have done everything possible I have succeeded. If I fail doing this and haven’t tried then I have truly failed. As the race date gets closer I’m cranking everything up. I’m running further, eating healthier and for the past week I haven’t had any alcohol.

I hope you find this post interesting and would welcome any questions from you guys at Aspired Futures.

Let’s do it! Wooohoooo!

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