As we look forward to achieving our goal of changing 1 million lives to get Essex active, we are privileged to have the support of our Essex All Together ambassadors who represent a variety of disabilities and impairments and are working hard to promote inclusive physical activity as well as increasing the numerous opportunities available through their work.
This month’s ‘Active Essex 1 in a Million’ is All Together ambassador Justine Harrington. Justine was born with a condition that causes a visual impairment whilst the medication she takes makes her gain weight which affects, among other things, her self-confidence.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always enjoyed physical activity as it gives me the opportunity to help control my weight fluctuations. It’s also a great way to let off steam! However most importantly, I enjoy the physical sensations and exhilaration, physical activity affords whether through gymnastics when I was at school, or the activities I do now. All this builds my confidence in a healthy way, which is why I choose physical activity today!”
Justine recognises the various ways her active lifestyle benefits her:
“Over the years, I have been able to minimise my weight gain and have also learned to release cooped up energy. I can now also use exercise along with my very active imagination which in turn fuels my creativity! My confidence levels have increased significantly since I started trampolining which is very empowering.”
It is with this in mind Justine looks to inspire others to be more active:
“From a very young age, teaching has been important to me – that sense of relating to others – encouraging them to be proud of themselves and to reach their full potential, despite their differences and how others may perceive them. All of this I wrote about in my song, “Don’t Tell Me,” as I wanted to share this message with as many people as possible, including children. What they learn now will determine their future”.
All of this makes Justine a valued Essex All Together ambassador, using the platform to engage with as many people as possible and really helping Sport and Physical Activity be more accessible:
“It is an honour to be an Essex All Together ambassador. It has given me an opportunity to teach and inspire even more people about the benefits of physical activity. We can help create brighter, more accessible futures and all see each other as the equals we are.”
Justine has written a song, titled ‘Don’t Tell Me’, which can be viewed here. She recently performed at the Special School Games and also the ‘A Bright Future for SEND Music in Greater Essex National Conference.
Active Essex would like to thank Justine for sharing her story, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside you moving forward.