Farewell to Active Fusion – Jonathan Allan
My time at Active Fusion
7 years ago, I took a huge leap of faith, leaving a stable and secure job working in a school as an HLTA to enter the world of sport!
Active Fusion, or should I say, Lindsy James, allowed me to combine the best parts of my previous role in education with the new and exciting challenge of growing an organisation passionate about offering sport and physical activity to all.
What a job! I got to spend all day, every day with like-minded people, trying to convince anyone who would listen that they should invest more time and more resources in the sport and physical activity.
Back then we operated out of the PE office at Rossington All Saints Academy, The PE department was a great bunch, but it was a squeeze. Our equipment cupboard “The room of doom” still haunts me!
A few months in and Lindsy was expecting a baby, this meant that having been in the role less than a year I was large and in charge (my wife had just given birth to our first child as well, it was a challenging time)!
The team massively helped me through that period and in the next 9 months we started to try a few new things, including embarking on an apprenticeship scheme and taking on our first two apprentices.
This brings me to one of the things I am most proud of. I made a bold call and went for it and in those first couple of years the cohorts were small and we had to muck in and do the tutoring, marking, and assessing but we knew it would be worth it and our drive to offer young people opportunities to embark on a career in sport never wavered.
I leave Active Fusion with 18 level 2 apprentices and a further 10 Level 3 apprentices on a roll, another 60 have graduated through our programme and I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
2018 was the beginning of a new chapter as we left Rossington and went solo, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is what we became and with it, we learned a lot of new skills, including finance & HR!
The team I helped build at Active Fusion are amazing, dedicated individuals who I know will continue to thrive and challenge themselves to be better every day, I love that we continually bring in young people and push them up or through the organisation. I’ve got such a lot of time for all the staff I’ve worked with at Active Fusion, I’ve watched them grow and rise to challenges.
Our Biggest Challenge yet
Speaking of challenges, they don’t come much bigger than those we faced on 23rd March 2020 when good old Boris told us that we were to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.
How on earth would we cope? What could we do? We’re sports coaches!
PE parent & PE parent II reached over 14000 people digitally and 7000 physical copies were distributed in those first few months – the aim? To make sure that children still had PE lessons as well as the online physical activity sessions that seemed to be everywhere and better still it was us on screen, the coaches the children worked with every week, familiar faces, keeping connected, showing the kids we cared. The team played football with socks, created obstacle courses in their gardens, and devised innovative ways to teach athletics plus much, much more. It was amazing to be a part of (our kids might have got a bit fed up with the constant filming in the end though!)
We then put our hands up as the world started to wake up and were one of the first organisations to get back out face to face, delivering camps across Doncaster to help re-socialise children after 4 long months without seeing their friends. We’ve delivered every school holiday since to thousands of young people who most need that provision, introducing arts, drama & music to complement our sports delivery and connecting communities through our work with voluntary and community organisations.
The Next Chapter
Success at Doncaster business awards in 2020 & 2021 stand out as massive highlights, especially 2021 as we got to be there in person, it wasn’t quite the same sat at home in slippers and a 3-piece suit the previous year.
We’ve run massive sports events and conferences in Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, and even Newcastle and the relationships we’ve made with colleagues across the education and sports sectors will continue to stand the charity in good stead for years to come.
I don’t have any doubt that Active Fusion will continue to thrive, in a few months it’ll be Jonny who? But that’s ok because the great thing about Active Fusion is that it isn’t about any one person, it’s always the team and I hope I’ve been able to develop my team to take the reins, that’s always been the aim.
What’s next for me? I’m off to represent my hometown football club trust and the aim is to try and do some of the things I’ve been successful at over the past 7 years for the young people of Rotherham. I can’t wait to get started but a little bit of me will always be an Active Fusion red.