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Financial boost for activity providers that support at-risk groups

Posted: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 15:39

Financial boost for activity providers that support at-risk groups

Active Norfolk is helping to support groups that are at high risk of being inactive due to coronavirus, thanks to funding from Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund.

Insight from Sport England found that certain groups were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and less able to be active, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, disabled people, people living with long-term health conditions, and those from lower socio-economic groups.

Active Norfolk is working with organisations that support these groups to apply for funds from this Sport England pot, which can be used to help cover staffing and delivery costs, new equipment to adapt sesesions to make them Covid-safe, and create new opportunities that will allow more people from these groups to be more active.

Over £55,000 has been applied for by community groups, projects, and charities since the fund became available in June. Active Norfolk is now applying to Sport England for an additional pot of £80,000, which will see even more groups benefiting from the fund.

Active Norfolk director Ben Jones said: "The awards we distribute from the Tackling Inequalities Fund allows us to support priority audiences to be active in their communities, and go some way in addressing the stubborn inequalities in physical activity that have been exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus."

A selection of the Tackling Inequalities Funding awards to date include:

- New socially distanced African and Portuguese dance classes will be offered on Great Yarmouth beaches by community group Afroluso. The popular dance classes bring different minority groups together to share cultural experiences through dance, and provide opportunities to make new social connections and reduce feelings of social isolation, anxiety and depression.

- Older people in care homes will benefit from new video exercise sessions provided by EPIC Norfolk. These virtual sessions will reach audiences where budgets for physical activities have been redirected to other critical areas such as PPE. Care homes will be some of the last places restrictions ease, so provision to help these at-risk residents is critical to help safely maintain their mental and physical wellbeing.

- Social isolation and loneliness throughout the disabled community has been heightened by coronavirus, with access to carers, facilities and specialist services restricted. Equal Lives received funding to sustain the role of a project officer to provide dedicated support across their network and ensure people are aware of and encouraged to access virtual physical activity opportunities as well as safe, outdoor, group activities.

- The Holt Youth Project delivers programmes and activities for hard to reach groups across North Norfolk including young carers, disadvantaged young people, men with mental health issues and disadvantaged families. The charity will match the funds received to staff a coordinator that will deliver creative programme of online and socially distanced outdoor physical activities, and ensure continuation of its telephone helpline.

Additional projects that are under application will see more community groups and charities from across Norfolk receive funding to continue, adapt, or develop new physical activity opportunities.

Steven Hitcham, Director of EPIC Norfolk, said "Prior to Covid-19, older people (especially those that are frail and living in care homes) have always been a key group to get physically active to reduce the risk of falls and many chronic medical conditions. They have become particularly more vulnerable during the last four months without visits from family and friends, and no physical activity instructors allowed to lead sessions. This has resulted in a large decrease in their physical and mental health.

EPIC Norfolk was approached by local care providers to see how we can together increase the physical activity levels and wellbeing of their tenants.

The award from the Tackling Inequalities Fund will allow us to give older people across hundreds of care home in Norfolk the opportunity to start being physically active, to address these issues in a creative and safe way."

The Tackling Inequalities Fund forms part of Sport England's £210 million support package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the pandemic and into the early recovery stages. Find out more at https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/tackling-inequalities-fund.

Tags: Sport England, funding, inequalities