Have A Go Day

Picture the scene: Field Weekend, earlier this year.

In the Cloisters IT room, the Oundelian team are tapping away at their keyboards, idly waiting as they think of ideas for their next article.

‘Why doesn’t one of you go and have a look at Have A Go Day?’, someone suggests. An audible groan fills the room.

Have A Go Day has the reputation of being a chore: a veritable pantheon of activities with

the sole intent of keeping some kids busy while simultaneously boosting the reputation of the School.

Take a quick stroll through Two Acre on Have A Go Day, and it would be hard to dispute this.

 Pupils sitting, chatting to their friends, by a crazy-golf hole waiting for someone to come and take part

in their activity, vast queues of people waiting to have their photo taken,

and and seemingly more Oundelians hosting activities than there are people actually partaking in them.

 And that indeed was the impression I got from walking through the event, when I helped out there last year.

 Yet, it was through talking to people at the activities that I realised the true significance of this day, and how misleading its reputation is.

The first person we met was the chairman of the Kettering Mencap Gateway Club, the social branch of the mental health charity in Kettering, which caters for mentally disabled people of 18-80 years of age.

They have been coming to Have A Go Day twice a year for the last fifteen years. When I ask him why they keep coming back, his face lights up; ‘The people love it.

Every week I get people asking me when the next Have A Go Day is, or when they can next go to Oundle.

 It really is a highlight for them’.

And the happy faces of the visitors are testament to the chairman’s words: at the art table, Richard – from Peterborough – tells us how much fun he’s had, whilst proudly showing off the photo-frame he’s designed.

While walking past the archery, we notice a group young children gleefully taking aim and ready to fire.

 As we enter the main building, we see a woman of about thirty happily hammering away at the drum kit, relishing in the attention of her attentive audience.

The sense of celebration is everywhere. A footballer, Rob, with Down’s Syndrome, sums up the atmosphere:

‘There’s so much to do, and so much going on. I have to come back so I can have a go at everything!’

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