SHAPE (St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise) is a charitable organisation of St Helena who work tirelessly to provide opportunities and activities for St Helena’s disabled people. Providing work and activities cantered around crafts and business SHAPE recycle everyday materials to produce craft goods of surprising quality from soap to necklaces made of reused magazines! With the appropriate mantra “Enabled no Disabled” SHAPE receives government funding for its activities, but must make up a 30% shortfall each year and does this through sales of its products and, more recently in its annual find raising event, Gravity Rush.
For the past three years, SHAPE has invited people to hurtle themselves down a hill through Jamestown on homemade go karts with no short measure of thrills, spills and crashes the event proves to be a popular and lucrative day. Having donned my “official” high vis jacket to allow me close access without being questioned I was more than excited to take up residents near the finishing line with my new camera and “big” lens and snap away. Sadly a few spectators did get injured, although this appeared to be due to those people not standing behind the appropriate barriers, but, despite the obvious concern it did not dampen spirits as spectators cheered on the contestants as they hurtled down the hill. Thankfully no -one was seriously hurt, and the event was a huge success, with no shortage of drama, crashes, clowns, water balloons and even two front wheel falling of one kart, the thirteen teams became one winner.
My take home memory of the day is that of community. Where else would we attend a public fun day like this, and know virtually everyone involved. As I look through the crowd there is scarcely a face that I don’t at least recognise. The stewards, the contestants, the clowns, the police, the press, the commentator, and all those in between I knew by name. Gravity Rush 2015 would be a great event for anyone to attend, but when your here, and you are part of this Island, you are part of everything the Island does, and it is a true privilege to look around and see friendly faces at every turn.