Tackling Inequalities Fund – the role of an Active Partnership – Wesport
The TIF funding has enabled us to connect to our local communities and ensure that funding reaches those most in need of a short term investment to enable local people to get active and move more during these challenging times. Investment has been focussed on those who have been most affected by the conditions that the lock-down has created which has seen their activity levels dramatically affected.
Wesport has been able to connect quickly and effectively with organisations working with those most in need during the pandemic. The speed of response has ensured we can really support communities with their ‘here and now’ needs. It has been incredibly refreshing and encouraging to connect with organisations who are so keen to use sport and physical activity as a way of combating the current challenges being experienced by the people they support. In the main, these organisations sit well outside the traditional sport and physical activity landscape, which adds to the positivity of these conversations and the openness of them to consider and champion the place of physical activity in response to the challenges many people currently face.
TIF Investment – refugee & asylum seeker communities
Wesport have already been working with the refugee and asylum seeker communities in Bristol through our workforce innovation project delivery prior to lock-down. We were able to build on these existing networks and relationships to ensure the funding opportunity was publicised with these groups. This was incredibly important as many of these organisations would not normally consider applying for funding from the sport and physical activity sector.
We attended the Bristol Asylum Seeker Well-Being Forum, where the fund was introduced to a number of support services and community organisations. It was evident from these initial conversations that lock-down was severely affecting the refugee and asylum communities, with many families and individuals feeling isolated and afraid to leave their houses. There was resounding support around the table for the opportunities the TIF funding presented, with partners clearly keen to use physical activity as a way of combating the challenges faced by local people as a result of the pandemic.
We were able to support a number of organisations to submit successful EOI’s, resulting in funding being made available in a very short time frame which was crucial to helping the communities most in need. One example can be seen through a walking project application; here two partners were very keen to deliver walking projects and Wesport facilitated a collaborative approach, ensuring a strong and joined up EOI was submitted. The project; Walk with Me’, or ‘Imshi my’ in Arabic was created by Bridges for Communities and the Syrian Resettlement Team. The project will involve the partnering of a local volunteer with a refugee or asylum seeker for the purpose of enabling 1:1 weekly walks, In addition, group walking opportunities will also be delivered for refugee and asylum seeker families. The walks will provide opportunities where people will feel safe and supported to access the outdoors whilst boosting their health, wellbeing and a sense of belonging in their local community.
TIF Investment – Bristol Food Union
Wesport had an existing relationship with Feeding Bristol, who provide strategic support in tackling food insecurity across the city. Through this connection, Wesport were introduced to Bristol Food Union, an informal collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations that have come together across-sectors to ensure that the city of Bristol stays fed during the Covid-19 crisis. A conversation with one of the founders of the Food Union led us to support a group of young care leavers with physical activity packs. Whilst the focus of these organisations is most definitely food, there was a real keenness to work together to provide something additional to those most affected, and the idea of using sport and physical activity was really welcomed. We were quickly connected to the local restaurant, Box-E, who coordinated the provisions boxes for care-leavers and were able to add the sport and physical activity resources to their weekly deliveries, once again ensuring the TIF funding was directed quickly and effectively. Even though there was a time limit to get the care leavers packages confirmed, we wanted to ensure the contents of them were usable and suitable for the broad range of ages and circumstances of the 125 care leavers. We were able to ask a contact at Barnardo’s who supports a cohort of care leavers in the city and asked her to share a simple list within a closed Facebook group in order to gain feedback on the suggested items.
The following quote came via Barnado’s from one of the care leaver’s they support, during a discussion about a running project:
“I think getting active will help other care leavers as much as it will help me, it would make us busy so were not home alone isolated or depressed, it would help us sleep better as most of us suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), it’s just nice to forget what’s in our head and just enjoy the sun and run!”
This really resonated with the team here at Wesport, summing up the impact funding can have when it gets to the right people and really cements the true power that sport and physical activity has.