An additional £208k funding has been sourced by Active Lancashire to support community organisations, sports and activity clubs that work with under-represented groups of people who have been affected by the pandemic.
Active Lancashire will be allocating the funds to projects and groups who work with people with disabilities, disadvantaged children, ethnically diverse communities, those with long term health conditions and more.
The funding has been provided to Active Lancashire following a further bid to Sport England’s Together Fund (formally known as the Tackling Inequalities fund). The fund was set up in April 2020 as part of Sport England’s support package to help the physical activity sector in Lancashire continue to support people during the Covid-19 crisis.
Prior to the new funding, Active Lancashire has already accessed £352,000 through the Together Fund, supporting 98 community organisations and clubs across the county.
As well as funds being allocated for specific projects run by clubs, future plans include the delivery of training courses and mentoring run in collaboration with Spring Into Action CIC, which will help local coaches and instructors understand how to be more inclusive for people with learning disabilities.
Work will also take place to engage influencers within ethnically diverse communities, working with community leaders in East Lancashire and Preston to promote activities and healthier living.
A number of grants will also be provided to groups based within deprived areas, to provide children living there with access to swimming lessons during school holidays, following the successful piloting of this in Burnley.
Omar Khan from Preston United Youth Development, who recently received some of the Together Fund via Active Lancashire, said, “The impact of COVID-19 on our community was immense with the highest numbers of people losing their lives. Responsibilities intensified for women who were seeing family members coming down with Covid, children to home school and incomes reducing due to lockdown. The Together Fund provided online respite for our 'mums group.' They took part in virtual walks, skipping challenges and fitness sessions.
"After lockdown, the fund helped them take part in swimming, yoga, trampolining, cycling, boxercise and football. They were also invited to take penalties at Preston North End. The funding boosted the confidence of the group and enabled them to share their experiences and counsel each other through the trauma of losing family members.”
The Together Fund has also recently supported Groove N Glow in Burnley, an aerobic inspired workout group for women, enabling it to reopen following lockdowns.
Andrea Pilling, Groove N Glow founder, said: “Restrictions meant that it wasn’t always financially viable to deliver classes, but the funding meant that an instructor could return to provide these much needed sessions without any worries. It helped us support these ladies not just to be physically active again but to venture out of a very isolated time.
“Although they were allowed to do some physical activity, many didn't during lockdown. They had lost their confidence, previous fitness levels and their mental health had suffered as a result. We were so grateful of the funding in helping us provide a safe, welcoming environment, reaching over 50 women within a 12 week programme.”
Adrian Leather, Chief Executive at Active Lancashire, said, “The Together Fund is making a big difference to the lives of people in Lancashire who need it. Taking part in regular activity and sport sessions has so many positive benefits, keeping people connected and supporting the health and wellbeing of people from all walks of life. This funding is helping to ensure that this remains accessible to everyone.”