“All of us want to feel significant like we’re somebody. If I can make someone feel like that, that’s the biggest achievement.”
Meet Angeline. Or Angie, as she is better known – a 52-year-old miracle worker from Bettws in Newport. And while she is likely to brush off the lofty title, she is certainly nothing less.
Angie has set up various sporting groups for people mainly from Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) backgrounds. She’s also the founder of a local charity. She is completing her degree at the University of South Wales in Community Development and Cross-sector Collaboration.
On top of this, she works night shifts as a care worker:
“I do have to find the time to sit down,” says Angie. “There have been times when I’ve been exhausted. Sometimes, I come off a night shift to start studying. Then swimming club and choir practice. Did I mention I sing?”
She has a passion for helping those who don’t necessarily get the same opportunities to participate in sport as others. And, according to her nominee, she is impacting on the health of the local BME community, lowering blood pressure, helping with weight loss and increased self-esteem.
One of her biggest achievements has been the establishment of’ Njuzu Community Swimming Group. She has also assisted with the formation of’ a female only BME walking group.
“I help to take some of the stress away from some of these women. I deal with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. I get them exercising and meeting people. I work with women who have been abused by their husbands. Many of these ladies feel isolated; they don’t know anybody. But once they start taking their kids swimming or they come walking, they form friendships.”
With the help of Newport Live, Newport BME Sports Forum and Sport Wales, she has set up swimming lessons for children. After sourcing a grant to hire the pool and pay for an instructor, 14 children, aged between 5 and 12, now come to her sessions once a week:
“For one reason or another,” says Angie. “Swimming in school or at regular lessons hasn’t been enough. The mother of one girl said her daughter didn’t like going to lessons because she was the only black girl in her class. They feel more comfortable in this group.”
But she’s not stopping there. She is now in the process of qualifying as a coach so she can teach. “That way, we’ll only have to pay for pool hire. It will be less expensive for the families.
“I’ve always been the sort of person to be busy. I’ve always had the heart to help and to help people improve themselves.”