Facing the challenges of high-functioning Autism and a sudden decline in confidence during Covid, Matthew's journey took an unexpected turn when he first tried archery. Since then, for Matthew, archery has become more than a sport, it's a lifeline that restored his confidence and ability to communicate.
"I have high functioning Autism and I am a great communicator. However when lockdown began it caused my confidence to go way down. I was unable to get the words out and this made me feel depressed when I wanted to speak my mind.
"After the pandemic I found myself lost; my brain wanted to talk but the words would not come out. My family decided to take us all on holiday. We went to Saint Lucia and stayed at a body holiday resort - a place where they focus on your physical and mental health.
"Whilst there I tried archery. It wasn’t great at first as I was still struggling to get my words out but my instructor Milo was incredibly understanding and said that I was a good archer and that I should keep it up.
"When we arrived back home, my confidence had returned slightly and I was able to suggest to my mum that I take up archery. She liked this idea and helped me locate a club. We found one nearby: Caldy Bowman Archery Club. I was introduced to the club chair, David Roberts, and to one of the coaches, Colin Lovell. Both were so kind and patient when it came to teaching me the fundamentals of archery.
"That was only a year ago and not only am I a member now, but I have also claimed six badges already and have competed in tournaments.
"Archery saved my life and I can’t wait to see where it takes me within the future."
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