Sports and physical activity charity, Living Sport, has worked tirelessly over the last 20 months to support communities across the county responding to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s physical and mental health. An important part of the response has been through their work distributing Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund.  

The Tackling Inequalities Fund was created by Sport England in April 2020 to try and minimise the impact of Covid-19 on activity levels in under-represented groups. Living Sport worked to get funding straight to local community groups to deliver what their communities needed, to not only help them with their physical activity levels but support people with their mental health. The groups supported highlighted the importance for mental health, particularly due to the impact of lockdowns and restrictions and ongoing concerns about the pandemic. 

Since April 2020 Living Sport has distributed £150,000 of Tackling Inequalities Fund, supporting 63 projects across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The funding has helped groups we know have been worst affected by the pandemic, including people from ethnically diverse communities, disabled people, people with long term conditions and people living in areas of statistical deprivation.  

Through this funding Living Sport has been able to work with organisations they haven’t previously partnered with –including community groups and charities who hadn’t previously had a physical activity offer but recognised the role it could play in connecting people and supporting them through the pandemic. One size certainly doesn’t fit all, and whilst the average grant was £2,500, this ranged from £350 to help an existing group meet the costs of moving online to £6,000 to enable the hire of a swimming pool for female only swimming sessions. 

A third of the funding was received by organisations working in Peterborough. One of these projects was Alama Iqbal Community Centre, run by Gladstone connect to run a ‘Healthy Living and Diabetes Intervention Project’ to create awareness, education and offer practical advice and tips on diet, exercise and wellness to allow people to become self-sufficient and independent in managing their health. We can see the impact the project has made through this poem, written and performed by Sophie O’Sullivan. 

A quarter of the funding went to 15 projects working with disabled people. One of these projects included Rowan Humberstone a charity in Cambridge working with disabled adults through art. The funding as enabled the charity change perceptions around physical activity and make movement part of every day.  

 

Natalie Trapmore, from Rowan commented: 

Receiving Tackling Inequalities funding from Living Sport has reminded us of the importance of building in an element of physical activity into all the workshops and activities we provide at Rowan.  The funding has enabled us to provide Zoom and in person sessions promoting and encouraging physical activity. With the funding we have been able to provide a wide range of physically active sessions to meet the diverse needs and abilities of our students. We have provided, Disco dancing for fun, Movement to Music, Nature Walks, Rowan Rangers – Forest School, Yoga, Armchair yoga, Creative Storytelling, and more” 

“This has been very important as all our students who have learning disabilities and the majority do little or no physical activity each week.  We are also pleased that some family members of our students and Rowans Staff and Volunteers joined in many of our sessions – so we were able to reach a wider audience than expected.” 

Chief Executive at Living Sport, Simon Fairhall, said: “The pandemic has brought into focus the structural inequalities that exist within our local communities. The Tackling Inequalities Fund has been created to try and reduce the widening of these disparities in sport and physical activity. 

“We are so proud to play a key role in connecting local systems and allocating funds, as well as making a positive change to such important groups”