Fitter Futures Project helps bring Communities Together

EMD UK has been supporting the development of one of the candidates on the Fitter Futures pilot project, which aims to help reduce inequalities, especially those faced by women, and to bring local communities together through exercise.

The Fitter Futures project, part-funded by Sport England, provides funded scholarships and business start up support to enable women to provide exercise classes in their local communities.

The scholarship and support scheme are for local women experiencing inequality and aspiring to better their prospects.  Graduates will then provide a valuable service back to their local communities by delivering a range of group exercise sessions in very local, accessible venues. The sessions will be aimed at boosting social integration by bringing people together through the neutral medium of exercising and dancing together.

One of the Fitter Future instructors, Reshma, enrolled onto the FF programme via Street League in 2019.  In Phase 1 (training) of the project, Reshma started her fully funded EMD UK Level 2 Group Training to Music course in September 2019 and qualified as an instructor in November 2020.  This may seem like a longer than usual process, but it was a huge learning curve for Reshma as she was completely new to the industry and had to contend with the added barrier of COVID-19 on her ability to deliver practical classes and undergo practical assessments.

Reshma’s drive and passion for instructing and a clear vision of who she wanted to teach when qualified, plus additional tutor support in areas she needed, ensured she successfully completed the training as soon as practicable.

Reshma is now in the middle of Phase 2 of the project, which is the delivery of her classes.  Now that she is qualified and ready to teach her classes, she has access to a funded set up package which includes areas like venue hire, equipment, marketing, and a fitness mentor.

Reshma’s aims are to offer all-female exercise classes, thereby creating a female-friendly environment.  She will be focusing on two target audiences, firstly inactive young women aged 16-30, particularly those who are hard to reach, may be vulnerable or who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).  These classes will be offered as charity sessions.

The second target group will be South Asian women aged 50 and over who are new to the fitness industry due to the lack of knowledge, experience and opportunities in the local area.

Reshma has identified business opportunities with funding through Street League and European Islamic Centre to work in the local community once lockdown restrictions permit.  Her aim was to start with classes at two venues, The Honeywell Centre and The European Islamic Centre (Oldham area) then slowly expand into the Rochdale region.   Currently EMD UK is exploring with Reshma the possibility of her delivering online classes until face-to-face classes are permitted.

We’ll let Reshma describe her journey in her own words . . .

Where to begin eh? Words simply cannot do justice to what this project has done for my life. Besides the funded scholarship and business start up support, this project gave me something much greater, it gave me hope. Hope for the present but more importantly for the future.  I started off with a passion for fitness but was a total amateur dipping my toes into the fitness industry. Despite this, I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I was prepared to grab this incredible opportunity that came by and make it happen, but it’s not been an easy journey.

You see I scraped through biology at school but it came back to haunt me in the form of a physiology and anatomy exam.  When I passed, it just showed you get what you put in. Then there was the practical exam. I thought I was good until I saw my peers in action. I know you shouldn’t really compare yourself to others but I guess I saw this as an opportunity to learn from the pros. I don’t regret not getting it after my first attempt as I knew exactly how to come back better and stronger. So yes it took some time and a lot of hard work but it all paid off in the end. Don’t ever give up in what you believe in.

My mentors/tutors never stopped believing in me, in fact I owe a great deal to them. The on going support and guidance from EMD UK has been overwhelming and I am eternally grateful to have had such an amazing team behind me. Thank you EMD UK and Sport England for making this all possible for me. You helped me and now it’s my turn to give back by helping the women of my community through exercise. I am super excited for the future and cannot wait to get my business up and running! #blessed

For advice and information on delivering online classes, the EMD UK Virtual Instructor Support Pack can be EMD UK Virtual Instructor Support Pack can be downloaded here