Active Reach Blackbird Leys
The great success of Active Reach's first phase saw residents from Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys supported throughout COVID-19 to keep physically active. Thanks to funding from Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund, partners including Access Sport, Age UK Oxfordshire, Aspire Oxford, KEEN, Oxford Hub, Oxfordshire Mind, OXSRAD and Oxfordshire Youth were able to provide online classes, local volunteer networks, bike libraries, sports holiday schemes, young leaders' training programmes and specialist physical activity resources.
Overview of Phase One
Changing lives: a very pretty pink bike
One family talk about the difference that Active Reach has made to them:
"My youngest, he's now five, and he hadn't had a bike, and he's really wanted to. So, I was saving up for his birthday, or for Christmas, and then next minute they said that he could have one as well. And they offered me one so we could go on family bike rides. And helmets, locks and lights. They weren't patronising and they didn't make me feel like a bad parent that I couldn't provide these things.
It wasn't just the bikes, it was them going to the summer school. That was a massive help because they got to go and see their friends during a really rubbish time. They hadn't seen their friends in God knows how long due to Covid. So, it was nice for them, even though it was still kind of segregated into little bubbles, they had a group of friends, whether it was ones that they may have known already, or even to make new friendships, they got to be kids for a bit.
Covid has affected everyone in so many different ways but I think the biggest one is mental health. The club and the bikes, they massively helped, whether it be a case of getting the kids to go and see their friends or getting them to meet new ones or getting them out for an exercise for a bit, or now having something new to be able to go and explore.
My kids laughed at me when I came back with a pink bike. 'Cause I am the least girly. We went past and we was like, 'Let's hope it's not that one,' 'cause it was the only pink one sticking out like a sore thumb. And now I have a very pretty pink bike. I'm heavily tattooed, pierced and everything. So, coming out on this little pink thing, with the little wicker basket with the flowers on it, it will be great. But it gets me to A to B and gets the kids out as well so I'm happy either way.
It's good for puddles as well. That was our favourite day when it poured down. There was massive puddles and we just spent, I think it was like forty-five minutes, just racing through them. Just this one puddle, because it went up to, my youngest is quite short, and it went up to his knees. Just speeding through. We got bloody soaked but it was just fun."
We were delighted to take part in a storytelling evaluation through The Old Fire Station to measure the impact Active Reach has had on our local community. The process collected 6 stories from participants who had been involved in Active Reach in different ways.
You can read the Active Reach Storytelling Evaluative Report here:
You can read the 6 stories here: