In response to the unequal effects of Covid-19 and lockdown on physical activity rates, Sport England launched the Tackling Inequalities Fund.
Active Sussex distributed the fund locally to partners who would be most effective in supporting people from each priority group to be active.
Impact Initiatives have been extremely successful at engaging people both on and offline since the pandemic began through The Hop 50+, a cafe and centre in Hove.
An activity pack is posted each week to people who are unable to use Zoom. 120 packs per week are now sent out. Participants are supported by a dedicated person to help them log onto Zoom.
When social distancing guidelines were relaxed in Summer 2020, the most isolated people have been invited into the centre, and participate with those online.
The social side
Numbers are still growing for The Hop 50+ online sessions, 35 weeks into the pandemic. One of the key features that keeps people coming back is the emphasis on fun and socialising.
Poems, puzzles and non-competitive quizzes are run each week and people move from these into the physical activity sessions. Classes don’t start for the first 10 minutes during which new participants are welcomed, and everyone has time to chat. Participants get to choose a music track which has a special meaning for them to be played during the session.
“It saved my life.”
Victoria has a number of health conditions, the latest of which is osteoarthritis. Her consultant told her she would never get better, but since joining The Hop 50+ online sessions, Victoria is now able to reach cupboards and go up and down stairs which were a struggle before.
“It's great to get away from always talking about our illnesses. We’ve developed some real friendships. Despite being from different backgrounds, we’re all equal. It gives you great strength. It's heartwarming.”
Victoria attends sessions such as strength and balance, Step to the Beat, and Chair Boogie throughout the week.