Active Tameside, a charitable trust which runs community leisure centres and wellbeing programmes, has been working tirelessly to support local communities since the UK went into Covid-19 lockdown in March. The trust has been determined to continue to make a difference to people’s lives, including its staff and outreach services, providing tremendous support where it’s been needed most.
Throughout the challenges of lockdown, its Active Education service – which provides high quality physical education curriculum to Tameside and Glossop primary schools – has been supporting over 40 local schools by delivering PE sessions for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers during term time.
During the two-week May/June half term, it also helped 10 primaries to remain open by providing cover in schools where staffing was an issue. Many head teachers and school staff have come forward to sing their praises and express gratitude.
Meanwhile, out in the community, the Live Active service – which helps to make physical activity easily accessible, particularly to those with long-term health conditions and older residents – has been out and about helping to keep up spirits and fitness levels.
Live Active Officer, Rick Gannon, was delighted to go above and beyond for an 86-year-old lady referred to the service, who is shielding during lockdown due to her ill-health and was desperately missing her Live Active sessions – her only real social engagement.
Rick contacted the lady and sent some gentle exercises for her to do, but on hearing she’d lost motivation and was struggling, he decided to talk her through the exercises on the phone as if she was in the gym.
And in a bid to help her through lockdown and keep her mind occupied, Rick has also been teaching her Italian which he’s currently learning himself, coaching her a couple of times a week over the phone.
Rick said: “It has helped her laugh and has taken her mind off other things, allowing her to sleep. She is a fantastic lady and is coping with this crisis fantastically. It shows you are never too old to learn and a positive mind-set can get you through any adversity.”
Live Active’s Active Streets team has recently been engaging with socially isolated residents at a housing complex run by New Charter Homes by holding outdoor Tai Chi sessions.
As well as the physical benefits, residents have enjoyed chat and laughter with the Active Streets team and each other, and the service is now being rolled out to other areas in Tameside.
They’ve also continued to deliver regular Health Walks – essential for maintaining fitness, social interaction and wellbeing for many vulnerable, older adults – easing concerns and encouraging those who need it most to take part, with six walks now back up and running across the borough.
Over the last few months the trust has pulled out all the stops to keep in touch with its members and residents by live streaming workouts and quizzes, posting online fitness instructor videos, nutrition, health and wellbeing advice, exercise resources and insightful blogs.
Chris Rushton, Chief Executive of Active Tameside, said: “We set out to support our communities as much as possible during lockdown and I’d like to say a huge thanks to our services and staff for the vital work they have done and are continuing to do at a time which has been difficult for many.
“It is essential that we continue to stay safe and adhere to the restrictions still in place, as we start to see some normality return to our lives. As soon as we are able to, we want to get back to what Active Tameside does best; providing the ways and means for our communities to live their best lives.”.