When we were discussing the important elements that The RTBI National Board wanted to explore through this impact study, there was a very clear interest in capturing the full breadth of activities and experiences that RTBI is involved in. This was not to be a simple celebration of the biggest, the best and the most financially significant – it was to genuinely explore and record those stories that captured what members of Round Table believe make a difference. This story feels like one of those!
For reasons best left to the past, the Table in Redditch were apparently, and unknown to them, unwelcome at a local community festival. As families were emerging from the worst of COVID this festival represented one of the few opportunities for the Table to get out, promote themselves and to do something, so they got in touch to see what was possible.
After a brief conversation between Table members and the Festival Committee Redditch Round Table was offered a pitch, and that’s when the fun started! What could they do to compete with other stalls and activities, attract attention and ideally raise some money? After many rejected ideas they hit upon something other local Tables had done previously that had worked well – The Hang-bar Challenge - Hang for 100 seconds and win a hundred pounds. (What is missed from that description is the fact that the bar sits within a moving socket with bearings rotating the bar every time the person hanging there, moves even slightly.)
The morning of the Festival dawned warm with clear skies, Andy and some of the other Tablers hopped into the large van they had borrowed from a family member and headed for a lock-up holding the equipment they were borrowing from another local Table. Heavier than they had anticipated they eventually made it to the pitch and got the whole thing assembled.
Andy talks about the fun they had, all the Table members taking turns to help on the stall as well as to miserably fail on the Challenge themselves. The Ladies Circle also supported them, helping to encourage people to have a go and talking to people about the work of the Round Table and how to get involved. Lollies went to children as they waited for Mam’s, but mostly Dad’s, to give the Challenge a go.
“There was a hairy moment. This guy came up, really slim and incredibly muscular, I think he was a free climber. He got up on the bar and was making it look so easy, even joking with those watching, doing pull-ups at the same time. We were all looking at each other thinking, this is it, we are going to have to pay out. But 80 seconds in he dropped and no one else came close”
“We have three new members directly as a result of that day and I think the reason is that everyone could see the power of having fun, laughing, sharing time and friendship. We were sunburnt and knackered by end we all remember it as being the best fun. We made about £100, it wasn't about that, it was about being together again and remembering the importance of connection, friendship and community. It was great that it boosted the membership but what was even better was what it did for all our mental health and wellbeing.”
Redditch also built some great friendships and managed to travel the world from the comfort of their own town when they created a Virtual Sports Challenge with other Tables from around the world who shared their Table number of 181.
Gathering Teams from India, Germany and South Africa they challenged themselves to travel the distance between the first UK Table established and the first International Table established – from Norwich to Copenhagen.
Teams could walk, run, cycle or row and by using a special App they could all track each other’s progress though none of them were in fact leaving their own locations in line with COVID restrictions.
“Even taking the dog out for a morning walk could be added to the distance. Though as the competition ramped up we may have been walking a little faster than normal and another Tabler and I spent one afternoon just riding loops on our bikes to get the distance in. What is also nice is that we heard about another Table member in our area who had been not so active and feeling quite down but this Challenge really motivated him, got him out on his own and with others and he’s kept that up since the Challenge ended. Really good to know the difference it made to his wellbeing and the lift it gave to his mental health”
“This challenge captured each Teams imagination and united us across the world. People in other countries became friends, we shared lots of laughs as well as learning from and supporting each other. Once the International Challenge was complete we did a similar challenge for our Area Tables and at our Area AGM we presented trophies to acknowledge the magnificent work done on this as well – building friendship, supporting each other and keeping fit.”
Round Table (RTBI) is a young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.