Our member organisations are working to Tackle Inequalities

We recently gave you news of some of our member organisations’ projects that EMD UK is supporting as part of Sport England‘s Tackling Inequalities initiative.

Here are yet more of projects which are linked to the Fund’s objectives – to help to reduce the negative impact of coronavirus and the widening of inequalities in sport and physical activity –

Sit4Tap (by Fit4Tap)

Sit4Tap is a seated and assisted standing ‘tap dance fitness’ class. It was created in response to feedback from existing Fit4Tap instructors that a seated format of their class is needed to support people with long term health conditions (LTHCs) such as long covid, autoimmune disorders, fatigue, and depression/isolation.

Sit4Tap used this insight to offer a funded opportunity to 10 instructors who have demonstrated a need for the adapted class within their local area. The training provided instructors with the theory and practical content to provide a more inclusive offering and reduce the inactivity amongst people with a LTHC.

The funding was used for content creation and resources used in the training as well as enabling the instructors to access the training free of charge so they can deliver this adapted concept to their communities. Post-training, the funding supports the delivery of the initial two classes for each instructor trained (five to date) and marketing costs to raise awareness of the seated classes.

DrumnBounce (DnB)

DrumnBounce has been supported by EMD UK in two of their projects.

DnB was approached by a women’s group whose members hadn’t engaged in formal exercise in a long time and a women’s refuge for those who have experienced a domestically abusive relationship alongside the pandemic and struggled with isolation.  The main barrier to accessing opportunities is low income and lack of confidence.

In one project DnB introduced gentle yoga-based exercise sessions to start to build confidence and to bring people together, helping some of the social anxiety developed during lockdown.  Sessions were based on the needs of the group, initially offering two blocks of six weekly sessions for a maximum of 12 women to ensure a safe space for them.  Seated yoga may be offered for a while to continue to build confidence in the women and there is also a possibility that the project will move online after the final 6-week block.

DnB was able to build up a rapport with the group prior to the sessions and ensured sessions were planned according to the needs of the group.  Each woman who finished a 6-week block was given a memento to recognise her achievement and be a positive daily anchor.

In the second project, staff at a refuge for South Asian Women reported that mental health issues were high as there was limited access to activities.  They wanted to offer the group an opportunity to take part in exercise, in a safe space, to help improve this.

DnB was able to initially offer trauma-informed yoga and work with the group to identify other group exercise styles they would like to see in the sessions as they progress. The funding was used to deliver two blocks of six weekly sessions with the aim of building confidence, resilience, and inner strength.

The women were very open to engaging in activities and had expressed interest in exercise classes.

The time of the classes was chosen to allow more women to attend and they also brought their children along who took part as well. This has been a confidence boost for them, although initially just four women were attending due to limited space at the venue.

The Keep Fit Association (KFA)

The KFA were granted additional funding to help residents of an extra care housing care scheme in the East Midlands.  The residents are all older adults, who were assessed by NHS and Local Authority as needing metal health and physical care needs and include people with dementia, long term health needs and mental health challenges.

The project was designed to give residents the opportunity of a physical activity session as they had been deprived of such opportunities during the Covid pandemic, aiming to make an impact with increased participation among the group.

Dancing for Health CIC

Dancing for Health was able to extend their initial project with some additional funding from the Together Fund.  The project aimed to support people with long term health conditions and/or disabled people with access to online seated dance exercise classes whilst coronavirus restrictions were easing across England.

The classes are reaching an average of 12 participants per class with some very positive feedback received from some of the  .  For example, one particular participant had three strokes and, through these sessions, gained enough movement back in her left arm to enable her to play the piano again.

Para Dance UK  

Para Dance UK’s initial project was designed to minimise the impact of COVID-19 by offering an opportunity for wheelchair users and the wider disability community to learn something new, be more active and celebrate that everyone can dance.

Para Dance UK is now using additional funding and working with Phab charity,  to widen their initial project, to offer new Online Inclusive Dance sessions.  The twice-weekly sessions are running for eight weeks and are open to the whole disabled community – individuals, families, groups or schools – and are suitable for all dancing abilities

Seated dance classes (SOSA & Starlets CIC)

This project is focussed on working with existing instructors and activity coordinators to take the classes into care homes and community organisations, including local charities who specialise in supporting groups with specific needs such as falls prevention or dementia.

The project helps people with long-term health conditions and disabilities to access SOSA dance fitness classes.  SOSA provided the instructors and care home activity coordinators with training videos so they could deliver the classes until external instructors were allowed on site for face-to-face activity

SOSA planned and created content for the classes and marketed the concept to a variety of organisations who engage with their target audience. The care homes quickly took on the initiative, followed by other organisation such as community groups and day centres.

After Active Essex had funded the pilot project, Active East Herts, Northamptonshire Sport, SASP (Swindon and Wiltshire) and Active Humber, all undertook to roll out the programme in their local communities.  SOSA is also working with ActivLives to develop a ‘Falls Prevention Programme’.

Farmily Programme (Warriors CIC)

The project supported over 100 families from lower socioeconomic groups with a programme led by Community Warriors.  The programme offered live online classes, on-demand content and a nutrition element to help participants understand the healthy connection between exercise and nutrition. The focus was on working as a team to complete classes and exercises within each 9-week programme with a live channel to further support participants.

Key learnings from the post project survey were that while many participants had felt they weren’t able to be physically active whilst covid-19 restrictions were in place, the majority said they were able to be physically active due to this project.  The two main reasons for taking part in the project were weight management and managing mental health.

Participants were from more deprived areas such as Alfreton and South Normanton near Derby, showing that Warriors was able to engage with these harder to reach communities.  Sadly, the biggest barrier to continuing with programmes such as this is the cost

You can find out more information about all our completed projects here.