i3 gifting hope campaign supports Newcastle Eagles Community Foundation.

At the start of the pandemic we reached out to our community of i3 coaches to kick start our i3 gifting hope campaign.  We recognised that not everyone copes well working from home; not everyone enjoys being furloughed; business owners were struggling with many aspects of the situation, so we set out to help.  Over the course of 4 weeks almost 50 hours of volunteer coaching time was delivered to help uplift those people struggling to cope with the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of our coaches Darryl Warden took the opportunity to take the gifting hope campaign a step further after carrying out a feedback session with Sam Blake, CEO of the Eagles Community Foundation (ECF).  ECF are basketball based community foundation linked to the most successful team in British Basketball history, the Newcastle Eagles and both organisations are run from the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Sam said, “my feedback with Darryl was the first time I really gave myself the opportunity to step back and understand myself better.  I recognised that I’ll naturally want to make things bigger and better, which is not a bad thing at all, but also that I need to stop being so hard on myself.”

As the feedback had been really enlightening for Sam, she saw real value in exploring the opportunity of profiling the rest of the leadership team which included her Chief Operating Officer, Susan Hunter and Managing Director Paul Blake and Sales and Communications Manager Dan Black, both of the Newcastle Eagles.  I3 fully supported this extension of the gifting hope campaign and to include a team awareness session.

Sam said, “The impact of the pandemic in May 2020 brought the four of us even closer together as a leadership team even though we spanned 2 separate organisations.  We knew that there were going to be challenging times ahead so if we could get some sort of boost through the i3, and a better understanding of our team dynamic, then I knew that would help us.”

After delivering the other 3 individual feedback sessions to the rest of the team, Darryl was joined by his wife Gillian also a qualified i3 coach, to design and deliver a team awareness session in December 2020 that focussed on a forward look for their organisations, and how the natural strengths that existed within their team would help them on their way.

Sam said, “Darryl and Gillian through their brilliant facilitation, really helped us to understand ourselves at a deeper level and explore and share how we can create the right environment to allow us to do our best work together.  The team session for all of us really helped to bring to life our individual feedback, and there was certainly a few lightbulb moments for us.  We took a lot away from the session but the key thing was that we need to do more of these types of sessions together in the future.”

The Vertu Motors Arena despite the pandemic has continued to show so much potential and has already played a major role in the community by hosting Newcastle GP Services Covid Vaccination programme, proving that even though community based sport is currently restricted, it’s still having a positive impact the community.  Both the Foundation and the Basketball Club hope that this will lead to even bigger engagement with the Foundation and the activities it’s looking to deliver in 2021 and beyond, to help the community and just like Sam and her leadership team, to adapt and thrive.