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23 March 2024

Finding better mental health on the range - Clare's story

Fuelled by a family legacy and childhood experiences, Clare's story shares her battle with the challenges of a traumatic brain injury, and finding focus, joy and better mental health on the archery range. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of archery.

"My journey with archery started recreationally at a have-a-go session at Guide and Scout camps back in the 80s and 90s, although my real drive and desire for 'proper archery' started when my mum bought her own kit in 1989, and shot as a wheelchair archer. As soon as I saw that bow when she brought it home I knew then that one day it would be mine and I would start my own journey someday.

"Roll on 35 years and she finally gave it to me last year! That was all I needed to get in touch with my local group; Cymric Archers. I soon found that I was getting serious passion for the sport and I actually wasn't bad at it!

"After completing my beginners course in November, there's been no stopping me, especially with the draw of gaining progression awards to encourage skills development as is the norm in Guiding and Scouting. I've since invested in new, modern gear to support my journey. 

"Since completing my beginners course, I've managed a 500 score on a Portsmouth round, and have even won silver and gold medals at two competitions I entered just to get some more experience, so they were the icing on the cake!

"These days, I'm a disabled archer, having received a traumatic brain injury and associated post-concussion syndrome, plus diagnoses for functional neurological disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome in 2017.

"Archery gives me a chance to participate on a more regular basis, continue the family link, building on the experiences I had and adored as a Guide and Scout. With my brain injury, I find that it helps give me focus and helps me forget for a while some of the pain and issues associated with my injury. My club have been really supportive, as has Archery GB's Development Officer for Wales, Vic Williams, and Dyfed AA Disability and Inclusion Officer, Jo Humphreys. My injury can contribute negatively to my mental health so the fact that I can take part in the sport adapted to my needs, challenge myself, meet and make new friends,  and generally have good fun helps me to maintain a good, manageable level.

"So far I'm six months into my journey and I'm greatly looking forward to continuing my knowledge, skills and development. Here's to the future! See you on the range."

Do you want to find out more about the mental health benefits of archery? Why not find a taster session near you using our Experience Finder: 

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