Credit: Clara Hayes via GUSWPC

GUSWPC’s Black and Gold does Strictly

By Aaron Purba

11 couples, one trophy. Who will win this year’s Black and Gold does Strictly in aid of Scottish Disability Sport?

Glasgow University Swimming and Water Polo Club (GUSWPC) is set to hold their annual fundraising event on 22 February. The fundraiser will entail 11 couples from different GUSA clubs, who will participate in BBC’s famous Strictly Come Dancing style competition. The show will also feature guest performances from dance companies across the University, with all money raised being donated to Scottish Disability Sport (SDS). As rehearsals are well underway, The Glasgow Guardian spoke to the organiser and one of the dancers about what the annual competition means, and how the event aims to highlight the work that SDS do to make sport more inclusive and accessible to all. 

GUSWPC’s chosen charity is Scottish Disability Sport, a national charity that aims to make sport as accessible as possible to disabled athletes. The charity is Scotland’s governing and coordinating body of all sports for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability. Their current plan, Inspiring Through Inclusion, summarises SDS’s work, reiterating the strong partnerships with organisations like SportScotland, governing bodies, and local authorities, as well as voluntary organisations concerned with disability.

The Glasgow Guardian spoke to Simona Holúbková, GUSWPC Fundraising Convenor and the organiser of the event, who talked about it full of excitement. She explained why SDS was the club’s chosen charity: “We have worked with them for a few years now and have developed a great relationship. The work that SDS do is amazing and being based in Scotland, working with them feels close to home so we know it can make a difference. Initially, we were thinking of something water safety related but because we are including a wide range of athletes from other sports, everyone agreed that it made sense to support SDS […] A spokesperson from the charity came along last year and was very good to chat to to learn more. We also get involved with other charities throughout the year, for example, Movember.”

She went on to speak about what the event means to her:  “I have a lot of responsibility in this role and the event is important to all of us. I am lucky to have a strong sub-committee of six. I am in charge of everything, but the team functions well.

“We have someone who oversees each section, for example, director, sponsorships, fundraising […] I really enjoy connecting all the pieces because everyone is playing a role in this good cause. There’s a good vibe, everyone is so excited and I honestly didn’t anticipate how much we would be looking forward to it. Of course, it is stressful at times because there’s so much happening, but it’s all worth it and we have a team that can be relied on. 

“Last year, we had over 200 attendees, which was similar to, if not more than Fight Night. With the ticket, you are automatically entered into the raffle, where all the prizes come from local businesses in Glasgow. There is also a JustGiving account for people who want to donate but are unable to be present on the night. If we could make the tickets free, we would, but everything bar venue hire will go to SDS, so I’m really proud to be part of something like this.”

In terms of the dancers themselves, Simona has organised 15 training sessions with members of the Glasgow Student Dance Company to support the participants and reduce risk of injury. Cerys Cox, who is one of the dancers representing GUSWPC, said: “I’m so excited to take part in Strictly this year because it gives me an opportunity to try something completely new to me. It’s such a different form of exercise to swimming and I am doing it with one of my best friends. I have loved being able to meet new people from different clubs and working together to provide a show for an incredible charity!”

The event will take place at Glasgow University Union in the Debating Chamber on 22 February at 7pm. Last year’s efforts raised a total of £1710.38, so the team will look to greater this number in the pursuit of supporting a truly great cause.


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