Select Page

In this enlightening episode of Monday Night Live, we have the privilege of hosting two remarkable guests who share their expertise and passion for improving lives. Join us as we explore ways to enhance physical strength and promote inclusivity within our communities.

Staying Strong with Allison: Unlocking the Secrets to a Healthy Body

In the first segment, we delve into the world of physical well-being with Allison, a seasoned physiotherapist. Allison emphasizes the importance of maintaining strength as we age. She begins by highlighting the latest trend in fitness—keeping our bones strong. As we reach the age of 50 and beyond, our bones begin to lose density, making it crucial to engage in activities that strengthen them.

Posture Matters: The Foundation of Strength

Allison stresses the significance of posture, encouraging us to visualize our shoulder blades moving freely and our heads positioned between them. A simple exercise involves turning our heads in each direction, feeling the stretch at the end of each movement. These basic movements can be performed daily to keep our bodies active and engaged.

Working the Arms and Legs: Simple Yet Effective

To further enhance our strength, Allison introduces accessible arm exercises. She demonstrates the use of household items like a bag of dog food or a resistance band. By standing with proper posture and lifting weight up to the shoulders, we can work the muscles in our upper arms. Allison encourages everyone to start with 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, 2-3 times a week, emphasizing that weight training need not be daunting.

Empower Yourself: Inclusive Strength Training

Allison’s message is clear: strengthening our muscles not only improves our physical health but also increases blood supply to our bones, ensuring their long-term strength and our safety. Her practical advice extends to activities as simple as doing push-ups against a wall, making it easy for anyone to incorporate strength training into their daily routine.

Gen Dearman and Challengers Charity: Unlocking Opportunities for Disabled Children and Their Families

Transitioning to the second part of the episode, we welcome Gen Dearman, the Chief Executive Officer of Challengers Charity. Challengers Charity operates in the Southeast of England, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for disabled children, teenagers, and their families.

Gen’s Journey: From Healthcare to Non-Profits

Jen offers a glimpse into her life and career, which spans two decades in the charity sector. Her journey from working in healthcare to leading a non-profit organization was fueled by her desire to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Jen is not only a professional but also a mother of two sons, one of whom, Teddy, is a remarkable seven-year-old.

The Charitable Heart of Challenges: Promoting Inclusivity

Gen shines a light on Challenges Charity’s exceptional work, stressing its commitment to inclusivity. Challenges Charity embodies the social model of disability, emphasizing that individuals are disabled by society, not their condition. The charity seeks to eliminate barriers and create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Supporting Families in Crisis: A Vital Role

One of the charity’s crucial functions is providing short breaks for families of disabled children during weekends and school holidays. Jen highlights that 94% of such families don’t have access to safe outdoor spaces. Challenges Charity steps in to fill this gap, offering a safe environment for children to play and learn. This support is invaluable to families, especially when they face crises.

Challenges and Resilience: Coping with Funding Cuts

Gen candidly discusses the challengers charity faces, particularly the impact of funding cuts from local authorities. The funding has remained stagnant for five years, making it difficult for the organization to continue providing its essential services. Jen reveals the heart-wrenching conversations she’s had with parents who rely on the charity’s support, knowing that they can’t serve all those in need.

The Impact of Challengers: Beyond Statistics

Jen shares heartwarming success stories, emphasizing how Challenges Charity has transformed the lives of disabled children. She recounts the story of a child with cerebral palsy experiencing the joy of sliding down a giant slide with the assistance of a mobile hoist. Such moments exemplify the charity’s commitment to making the impossible possible.

Audience Q&A: Digging Deeper into Challengers Charity

The episode includes a Q&A session with questions from the audience. One inquiry focuses on how Challenges Charity measures its social return on investment (SROI). Jen explains the importance of gathering feedback from service users and parents to understand the impact of their programs.

Incorporating Orange into Challenges: A Symbol of Hope

Nigel Kirby raises a question about the significance of the colour orange in Challenges Charity’s branding. Jen highlights that Challenges rebranded with the colour orange six years ago, symbolizing hope, energy, and inclusivity. It has since become an emblem of the charity’s mission.

Gen’s Collaborations with Local MPs: Advocating for Change

Gen reveals her collaborative efforts with local MPs like Jeremy Hunt. While she modestly insists she doesn’t “bend his ear,” Gen acknowledges Hunt’s openness to dialogue and his support for the charity’s initiatives.

The Power of Learning: Stephen Bartlett’s Influence

The conversation takes a brief detour to discuss entrepreneur Stephen Bartlett’s influence. Jen shares her admiration for Bartlett’s insights, particularly his ability to communicate profound ideas effectively. Bartlett’s focus on continuous learning and adaptability resonates deeply with Jen.

Final Thoughts and Tips: Making a Difference

As the episode nears its conclusion, the guests offer their final words of wisdom. Allison encourages viewers to incorporate strength exercises into their daily routines, emphasizing the importance of consistency and practicality. Jen leaves the audience with a powerful message: to think about their role in making the world more inclusive and accepting of differences.

Conclusion: In this enlightening episode of Monday Night Live, we’ve explored the significance of physical strength and the vital work of Challengers Charity in promoting inclusivity for disabled children and families. The conversations with Allison and Gen remind us of the importance of staying physically and socially strong, and inspire us to make a positive impact in our communities.

Derek Arden