Go For It! (GFI) was founded back in 1995 by Michelle Clarke and another volunteer through some voluntary work with a local charity run by students for children and adults with learning disabilities to play sports. This was leading sessions but also 1:1 support to about 20 young people.
GFI was set up after meeting many parents and young people who had no where to go or have been stuck because they do not fit in the services they would like to go to or have a lack of funding. Something had to be done hence the inception of GFI.
Having a disability as a child, Michelle found it very difficult to communicate with her parents and other people. She didn't talk until she was 5 years old due to speech impairment.
As a child Michelle was very good at any sports but not at drama. Her school identified that she was low in confidence in the classroom but on the football pitch, tennis court or hockey court I was amazingly confident.
In 1995 Michelle began to volunteer at a local charity as part of work experience supporting people with learning disabilities play sports. Coaching sports made me more confident. The challenge came when she lead a session of basketball and had to communicate. Being difficult at first, it got easy and it helped her speech and made her the person she is today, full of confidence, never giving up and always believing.
Michelle partnered with Tony after meeting whilst working in education. Driven, passionate about teaching new skills and helping achieve aspirations, Tony is skilled in IT, music, website and graphic design, programming and generally likes computers including building them from scratch. Tony also is a keen singer and musician playing regularly in a band.
Tony has worked as a youth and community worker in Oxford where he has been an active practitioner for the last 14 years. He has worked with many young people including young offenders.
At GFI we believe everybody should use their talent, skills and their ability to the max and this goes for our staff too. Everyone has something they can offer. We encourage and help them to identify what it is that makes them "tick" and develop them from there.
GFI is an exciting new provision that facilitates social opportunities and personal development to young people aged 16 years and over with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Aspergers in Oxfordshire.
We are providers of fun, educational-quality support within your chosen environment.
We aim to recognize and develop every member's potential. Working with our service users, parent/carers and professionals, we encourage them towards Person Centred challenges that are within their reach. These challenges are laid out as goals and targets when they join us, and are worked in the short, medium and long terms.
We use different skills, methods and resources that promote communication.
GFI also uses social opportunities like social interaction and leisure or recreational activities to develop the young person.
GFI takes into consideration the young person's past learning and future needs. We plan what is necessary and important for them, and incorporate that into their support package.