Back in October 2022, whilst away in the Peak District with seven of our members, TJ approached us to suggest we raise money for TACT Connect by doing a skydive. TJ was clear, he’d thought about the task in hand and told us that he’d like to do this because being away that weekend had got him thinking how he’d like more people to benefit from TACT Connect.
We left the Get Away and kept TJ’s suggestion in mind, whilst also being mindful of not jumping on the idea too quickly – we wanted those members who were with us at the weekend away to have time to settle with the possibility of jumping out of an aeroplane!
As we got back to everyday life, the idea remained present. TJ and other members called, WhatsApp’d, and talked about the skydive weekly, so we put it out to all members on our members-only TACT Connect Hub to see if the excitement was reflected in the rest of our community. It was! Five members registered interest within four weeks, with three members offering to help with travel, videography and coordination. Before we knew it, we had our TACT Connect skydive gang.
When the day came for us all to meet, one of our fabulous Advisors, Wee Em, took on the responsibility of getting everyone to the hotel safely, and did a smashing job. We sat in the sun, laughed, got to know one another, and our group welcomed our Deputy CEO Christina into the weekend, as we would any other member or ally.
We ate dinner in our own private area, which was as posh as the hotel!! We talked about TACT Connect and how it has grown and why it’s needed, and members exchanged information about bits of the scheme that had been most helpful to them, like our bespoke education offer. As we did so, our varied group symbolised our diversity and how we have created a community where people can be themselves in a room full of others.
The night was filled with excitement and nerves, which showed in different ways for different people, but were supported and accepted by all.
The morning was fast: breakfast was eaten by some, but not by others, and we took a big bag of sweets for sugar after the jump. Maya started capturing behind-the-scenes moments and we arrived at the airfield within five minutes, nervous and excited.
After some training and then some photos, we grouped up with our parachuters and, in groups of three, went 18,000 feet up into the sky!! We sang on the way up, and occasionally chatted. There were also small reassurances and gentle acknowledgements that this was pretty scary.
The skydive itself (like TACT Connect) was experienced differently by everyone. Some of us whooped, some of us screamed, some controlled the parachute, and some glided like angels. Many of us landed on our bum (and a couple of us on our feet)! However, the roars of support, following of the airplane on the app, and the level of pride held in the group was equal.
After high-fives, sugar and pizza, we all headed home, staying in touch until the last person walked through their door.
It can be hard to describe the importance of shared experiences in the context of a group of young adults who’ve been on the outside of some mainstream life experiences throughout their childhood. When a sense of belonging is found in a group in early adulthood, it becomes like a club – the richness and depth of relationships can feel different, with the value placed on individuality, and equality is high.
It was an absolute honour to be part of arranging this weekend and to crazily jump out of a plane, but mostly to be around this amazing bunch. Together, we raised £1,985 and the cash it still going up. The topic of an even bigger event next year has already started to be discussed…
If you’re reading this thinking, “wow – I want to give too!”, please do so here: Crowdfunding to grow our TACT Connect offer. on JustGiving
Or, if you’re reading this with a TACT care experienced person in mind, please go through our membership registration page and we will happily welcome them into the fold.
Take a look at the below video from the day: