About the programme:

Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund was created to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on activity levels in under-represented groups. Living Sport plays a key role in connecting local communities and allocates funds of up to £10,000 to these organisations.

Gladstone Connect Community Centre, in Peterborough, is just one of the many groups that Living Sport has provided vital support to through the fund. The centre strives for a prosperous and self-confident community and wanted to run a ‘Healthy Living and Diabetes Intervention Project’. The project would create awareness, educate and offer practical advice and tips on diet, exercise and wellness to allow people to become self-sufficient and independent in managing their health.

The difference:

Thanks to the funding, Gladstone Connect Community Centre was able to bring people together from different communities, as well as support its participants to become healthier and more active. Participants engaged in a wide variety of activities such as circuit training, aerobic training, boxing, meditation, and even Reiki healing – a Japanese energy healing technique. The programme of activity transformed participants’ outlook to fitness, nutrition and wellbeing with many making new friendships along the way.

One female participant, aged 60, said: “Thank you for giving me something amazing in a very dark time where I didn’t expect it. The onset of the pandemic had a catastrophic effect for me.  I lost friends, family, my job and sense of purpose. 

“Joining a group of women with the shared goal of achieving some level of fitness felt like something to strive for. During the first workout, I felt as if I would collapse from exhaustion, but by the end of the course, I looked forward to every session and the feeling of wellbeing it produced.

“Having structure and an end goal at this time provided motivation to keep healthy and maintain some sort of togetherness and sense of community.”

Another participant said: “In the exercise class everyone was from different backgrounds, but it didn’t feel like it. We were all there for the same reason and supported each other as such, which was really lovely.”

One woman lost an impressive ten pounds in weight, dropping inches off her waist and witnessing positive changes in body shape.

Michelle Bush-Batty, Centre Manager at Gladstone Connect Community Centre, said: “We are so grateful to Living Sport for supporting us through the Tackling Inequalities Fund.

“We wanted to educate people and allow them to become self-sufficient and independent in managing their health, all while providing a positive, memorable experience. Thanks to Living Sport, a lot of the women have lost weight which has given them a huge boost and proved they are heading in the right direction for their individual goal, all while having fun in a group atmosphere.”

The future:

So far, Living Sport has supported 29 groups across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire and is looking to reach even more organisations.

If you are an organisation which works with under-represented community groups in Peterborough and want to support your participants to be more active, please email Rebecca Evans or call 07739 655062.