At the beginning of lockdown in March last year, Sport Aberdeen was forced to close all its venues in line with official government guidelines. As a means of continuing to engage with the community and provide opportunities for people in Aberdeen to remain active and participate in exercise, the charity loaned out gym equipment and set up Get active @ Home; a completely free online resource with live and recorded exercise classes and wellbeing hints and tips for people of all ages and abilities.
Since March 2020:
Sport Aberdeen loaned exercise equipment to as many customers as possible; a total of 150. Over 80 body pump kits, 100 steps, 700kg of dumbbells, kettlebells and slam balls were among the items loaned out and delivered direct to customers doors, in line with social distancing guidelines.
David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations, said: “We did what we could during a difficult time, to engage with the community and help keep our customers active and motivated with online workouts and we also saw a brilliant uptake in people joining the Sport Aberdeen virtual running club on Strava.”
Natalie Newlands, a regular at Sport Aberdeen’s Get active @ Jesmond gym, commented: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Sport Aberdeen for supporting the community and helping us all to stay active in this challenging time. I am so grateful for the loan of this equipment, this will make a huge difference to keeping me healthy and motivate me on my workouts every day!
“All the staff and especially the Health and Wellness Coordinators have put in a lot of hard work and effort in organising and delivering the equipment. They are always making sure their members are happy and are an asset to Sport Aberdeen!”
Supporting our community
More than 35 furloughed employees have taken on volunteer or secondment roles supporting the local community and partner agencies since the lockdown restrictions forced venues to close last March.
Sport Aberdeen employees have turned their hand to several different roles in positions supporting the NHS, Aberdeen City Council, Grampian Assessor & Electoral Registration and Aberdeen Health & Social Care Partnership. These roles include; Contact Trace Practitioners, Logistics Coordinators, Call Handlers, Refuse Loaders and Temporary Electoral Registration Assistants. This support is vital to these organisations and has been very gratefully received.
Aimee Beatie, a Sport Aberdeen employee, said: “During the first national lockdown I was supporting the child services team within Mile-End Primary School. It was really great to get out and support my local community in such uncertain times and it was very positive for my mental health, giving me purpose during the first lockdown.”
Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools team have also been supporting children of key workers and vulnerable children in over 10 schools across the city, delivering physical activity outdoors following the appropriate local and national guidance as well as supporting young people in the classroom.
Several Active Schools coordinators have been working with targeted young people to support their overall wellbeing, delivering sessions and creating new ways for young people to stay active during the lockdown.
A young person from Kaimhill Primary School said: “Thank you for being here with us. We’ve had so much fun with [Active Schools], they’ve helped us in the classrooms and played really fun activities outside.”
Sport Aberdeen’s SPACE (Supported Physical Activity for Care Experienced) programme Project Activator staff have been delivering one-to-one sessions both in specific schools or within the local community, engaging with those most at risk.
Support from our community
Last year Sport Aberdeen automatically froze all memberships when venues closed. Members were also given the opportunity to un-freeze their membership and continue their monthly payments, helping to keep the charity afloat and the support received was overwhelming. Over 400 members opted to un-freeze during the initial lockdown, highlighting how in challenging times the community rallies together. Since the second national lockdown was implemented in December, the support from our members has continued and there are currently 180 members paying while their membership is not in use.
Donna Sim, a Sport Aberdeen Get active member said:
“We decided to continue to support Sport Aberdeen as we really want there to be the facilities to come back to (particularly the ice rink) after all this is over.
“The Sport Aberdeen staff that work at the facilities we use are very helpful and friendly and we have gotten to know some of them quite well. Supporting the charity would hopefully mean that all the staff have jobs to come back to as it would be nice to see the same friendly faces when we return.”.