Bethany Edge joined the council as a Sports and Physical Activities Officer in June 2020 in the middle of the Covid pandemic. Here she talks about how we’ve supported her since she was diagnosed with ADHD – and how she cartwheeled two miles to support a local charity.

What first attracted you to the council?
What attracted me to the council was that roles like this are very few and far between. I’ve been involved in gymnastics for as long as I can remember and I’m a qualified gymnastics coach, so I was coaching at a local club before the first Covid lockdown. And my mum had worked for a local authority, so I knew what working for a council involved.

My main job is to develop various gymnastics programmes, looking at where we can improve. A lot of this is to do with children’s sport, which is particularly important as we open up again after the Covid pandemic, so I’m looking at what we can offer to get people in the community active again.

What makes it a great place to work?
Since I joined the council I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Like most people, I associated ADHD with young boys who can’t concentrate and are hyperactive, but I’d always done well at school and in my work, so it wasn’t something I’d thought about. Getting diagnosed gave me an answer to a lot of things that I’d always done and gave me a chance to manage it.

When I was diagnosed, I told my manager and the HR team. They were all very supportive and reassured me that I could ask for support at any time. At the moment, I’m still working from home and I know I can control that environment, so it’s not an issue. But when I go back into the office, I know I can ask for support and they’ll do all they can to help me.

The whole team’s very supportive in lots of ways. There are plenty of people to ask questions and that’s important to me because I hate not knowing things. So having someone to ask on Skype is something I really appreciate. I think that really helps with my ADHD, because there’s a tendency to put yourself down and if you know all you have to do is ask and someone will have the answer, that’s really useful.

I’ve also had the chance to do a lot of online training courses. I had a few introductory courses when I first joined and there are lots of other options to choose from for personal or professional development. It’s great to have all that choice – in my previous job at a local sports club, because it was a lot smaller, there weren’t so many options. Although sometimes I think I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next week, so it’s hard to think about your long-term career!

What do you enjoy most about working here?
The best thing for me is the freedom to go and develop things on my own, but knowing I have a supportive manager behind me. One of the characteristics of my ADHD is that I’m very good at concentrating on one thing and getting it done quickly. And it’s great that I don’t feel I have someone looking over my shoulder the whole time. They trust me to get things done, which is nice.

How did you get involved in supporting the local community?
We’re part of Leicester and Rutland Sports and they get you involved in supporting different local causes. So in the winter of 2020/21, they challenged us all to do activities to support the local Fareshare charity. As a team, we had to walk, or run or do an activity for a week to match the length of the border around the area we cover.

Luckily, our area’s quite small and we only had 28 miles to do as a team. So I decided to do something a bit different for my contribution and used my gymnastics background to do two miles of cartwheels. It was about 900 cartwheels over the week and because it was in winter, I did it in all weathers - rain, snow… everything except sunshine! I needed a lot of ice baths and heat patches afterwards, because I was aching in a lot of places, but it was good to do it and support the charity.

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