EMD UK and Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund support community projects

EMD UK has been awarded funding from Sport England’s  £20m Tackling Equalities Fund which was made possible by National Lottery funding.  EMD UK is currently working with partner organisations whose projects link to the Fund’s objectives –

  • To minimise the impact of COVID 19 on activity levels in under-represented groups, namely lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, ensuring that the physical activity participation inequality gap doesn’t widen during this period in targeted communities
  • To enable community groups working with target audiences to continue to exist and retain the resources and capability to recover at the appropriate time
  • To provide funding for community groups working with Sport England target audiences to remain connected with their participants and keeping them active in the COVID 19 lockdown and early recovery stages.

A survey commissioned by Sport England found that at the beginning of lockdown 32% of all adults were doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days per week.  This dropped to between 24% and 29% for BAME communities and differences of activity levels were also found among different demographic groups.   September activity levels for those with a disability or long-term illness were 23% compared with 31% of people without.

Current projects from the partner organisations

Medau Movement is providing care homes with a DVD containing six lessons for use by their residents during the lockdown and who are unlikely to be able to access regular classes due to continued shielding, long-term health conditions or high levels of anxiety.

Barbara Rose, Chair, Medau Society said ‘We have always been inclusive so we were really excited at the prospect of making a difference.  Our successful application to the Tackling Inequalities Fund provided the finance and we await feedback with eager anticipation.’

The Keep Fit Association (KFA) is producing a DVD for those in isolation and likely to shield for longer term and reluctant/unable to access social media and online classes.  The aim is to produce and distribute 3,000 DVDs to people with a long term health condition or who aren’t accessing online classes.

Lynne Dowdican, Keep Fit Association Chair commented ‘We recognize how important it is to keep everyone active, especially now. We really wanted to reach out to those people who cannot access traditional classes or are isolated as they can’t get online. ‘

Move It or Lose It (MIOLI) are building an online community to replace face to face for those with age-related long-term health conditions.  The funding received will enable instructors to build local community groups by creating engaging social content to complement on demand and live fitness sessions and widen the appeal to keep people active and reduce social isolation.

‘We are thrilled to receive funding to develop the Move it or Lose it Club to help to bring people together. It’s never been more important to reach those who need it most and help them enjoy active, healthier, happier lives.’ Julie Robinson, CEO – Move it or Lose it Ltd

Synergy Dance Outreach (SDO) are developing a programme of online dance and yoga classes for a range of target groups, including those with a disability, long term health condition and older adults.  The programme will include seated dance, audio yoga via a national online platform and development of Para stars yoga programme.

Community Fitness Network (CFN) is to provide relevant training and resources to upskill instructors to support participants with additional learning needs and increase current provision to be more inclusive.   Community Fitness Network will also support instructors in making local links with providers who work with this audience that have had to shut down services due to C 19

Pungra is creating ‘home-based heroes’ with a focus on increasing exercise at home for South Asian populations.  A community and learning experience will be created for home-based activators to connect with the individuals in their local communities and run twice weekly Pungra on demand session via YouTube to help break down technology barriers to accessing workouts online.

Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund aims to support ‘community organisations working with priority audiences so they have a future to plan for, and is intended to meet immediate need up until October’.  Details of other funding support available can be found here.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said ‘We are proud to be able to provide funding and support in this difficult period. This funding will help support our valuable community infrastructure that is so important in keeping the nation active and will also provide important connections and reconnections for people whose lives have been affected by COVID-19 and for whom remaining active is so important for their physical, mental and social wellbeing.

‘Thanks to the support of the National Lottery and its players, the Tackling Inequalities Fund will be both crucial and central to ensuring no-one is left behind when it comes to having the opportunity to be active during this period. This builds off the back of our £35m Community Emergency Fund that has already reached and supported over 7,500 community clubs and groups across England.’

In addition to the above projects, many other EMD UK member organisations continue to work to address inequalities and help communities keep active during and after lockdown.