Many have been affected by the pandemic - it particularly stopped people from culturally diverse communities, disabled people or those with long term health conditions and those from lower socio economic groups from staying active.
Gladstone Connect Community Centre, in Peterborough, is just one of the many groups that Living Sport provided vital support to through Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund. The centre strives for a prosperous and self-confident community and wanted to run a ‘Healthy Living and Diabetes Intervention Project’ for local women. The project aimed to create awareness, educate and offer practical advice and tips on diet, exercise and wellness to allow people to become self-sufficient and independent in managing their health.
Thanks to the funding, Gladstone Connect Community Centre was able to bring women together from different communities, as well as support its participants to become healthier and more active. Participants engaged in a wide variety of activities such as circuit training, aerobic training, boxing, meditation, and even Reiki healing – a Japanese energy healing technique. The programme of activity transformed participants’ outlook to fitness, nutrition and wellbeing with many making new friendships along the way.
One female participant, aged 60, said: “Thank you for giving me something amazing in a very dark time where I didn’t expect it. The onset of the pandemic had a catastrophic effect for me. I lost friends, family, my job and sense of purpose.
“Joining a group of women with the shared goal of achieving some level of fitness felt like something to strive for. During the first workout, I felt as if I would collapse from exhaustion, but by the end of the course, I looked forward to every session and the feeling of wellbeing it produced.
“Having structure and an end goal at this time provided motivation to keep healthy and maintain some sort of togetherness and sense of community.”
Another participant said: “In the exercise class everyone was from different backgrounds, but it didn’t feel like it. We were all there for the same reason and supported each other as such, which was really lovely.”
One woman lost an impressive ten pounds in weight, dropping inches off her waist and witnessing positive changes in body shape.
Michelle Bush-Batty, Centre Manager at Gladstone Connect Community Centre, said: “We are so grateful to Living Sport for supporting us through the Tackling Inequalities Fund.
“We wanted to educate people and allow them to become self-sufficient and independent in managing their health, all while providing a positive, memorable experience. Thanks to Living Sport, a lot of the women have lost weight which has given them a huge boost and proved they are heading in the right direction for their individual goal, all while having fun in a group atmosphere.”
This poem tells the story of how the sessions helped support the women to build healthy habits and feel connected during the pandemic.