Beth Cutting is helping Berkshire residents to get active at a sports centre built by Finchampstead Baptist Church. SHARON BARNARD reports
“I didn't have to be a Christian for this job – but it’s great that I am,” says Beth who works as a sports development officer at the FBC Centre in Berkshire.
The community facility, built and owned by Finchampstead Baptist Church in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council and Finchampstead Parish Council, is open to the public from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays the church uses it for worship, teaching and other activities.
Beth is employed by the FBC Centre and the post is funded by Sport England.
“It’s a three-year post that the church was awarded to complement a £500,000 grant to build the sports hall,” she explains.
“My role is to work with young people, adults and those with disabilities and encourage them to get active – and stay that way.
“As well as this are the events and evangelism that link in with the church. I also work closely with the local council, school sport partnership, community clubs and groups.”
Beth, who studied Sports Science at university and has also worked with Christians in Sport for three years, is very sporty herself. “I’ve played football for the last 11 years at club/university level, as well as regularly running and playing tennis and badminton. My newest challenge is golf.”
Every day is different at the FBC Centre, but Beth typically spends two or three hours delivering activities such as PE lessons in schools, a disability sports club and a session for the over-50s. “I always make sure I find time to enjoy a cappuccino from our lovely café though!
“I try to have a couple of hours every day at my desk to keep on top of the admin. I also spend time meeting with other local sports providers as we work together on lots of different projects.
“I’m an ideas person and often have 20 ideas and new projects in my head before breakfast. The challenge is to plan well and to know the needs of the community, rather than rushing ahead with what I think is best.
“We endeavour to put on programmes which are affordable and appeal to different groups of people. We also try to find ways of having a childcare facility so mums get the chance to burn off some calories without having to worry about their little ones.
“Joining a club or activity not only helps to improve a person’s health and fitness, but also adds real value with new friendships and social opportunities forming – in the community and through the church.”
Bringing in the spiritual dimension she says “is a really exciting” aspect of her work.
“As there is no separation between ‘church’ on a Sunday and ‘church’ during the week, there are countless opportunities to share the vision of the FBC Centre with people – and to help them see that they can meet with God at any time, any place.”
One of her biggest encouragements has been “seeing people come to know Christ – and knowing that the sports development programme has helped them on their way a little bit.
“Finchampstead Baptist Church members are just as involved in the badminton, circuits and holiday clubs as they are serving at church – which is a fantastic way to serve the local community and to build strong friendships with people.”
FBC is planning a range of events and sports programmes for the community in the run-up to London 2012 using the More than Gold resources for churches and Christian groups. For further information visit www.morethangold.org.uk or call 0845 475 2012.
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