Keeping everything together throughout lockdown
Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 15:19
As lockdown is eased and we enter the 'new normal', keeping active whilst still not being able to use the facilities that Oxfordshire has on offer can come with its challenges. Paul Saxton, the manager at OXSRAD explains what the centre has been doing to ensure all members can keep active while the centre stays shut for now:
2020 was looking to be a good year for OXSRAD we had achieved so much: Rebound Therapy was back up and running, we had managed to fund a completely new Spa bath, all our memberships were on the up and we were running more classes. Then in March the announcement came to close all gyms in the UK, we knew this was coming and were making plans, but it all happened very quickly. So that was that. We went around the building unplugging everything that would not be used for the foreseeable future and put in extra measures to make sure the centre was as safe and secure as we could make it.
That weekend was spent trying to work out what to do next - how would OXSRAD survive? We have never been able to boast about having plenty of money in the bank but have always managed to keep fighting when we have been backed into a corner and I was certain that we would do all we needed to survive to make sure we could continue to offer our services to the amazing people who access the centre whether they are using the gym, coming for Rebound Therapy, playing Boccia, chilling in the Spa or taking part in classes or just coming to socialise. Knowing how important OXSRAD is to many of our users we needed to make an action plan so together with the Trustees the Zoom meetings started.
Our Social Media became busier than ever and what a great way to keep everyone informed but also to see just how generous our members are coming up with their own ways to raise us funds, we had people shaving their hair off, a Crochet Challenge and lots of running events. We thought about hiring out our gym equipment so made an announcement and soon realized it was a shame we didn't have more, as it was taken up very quickly.
So with money coming in it was important to see what we could do for our users that were isolating and were unable to go out for the recommended hour of exercise a day, this proved to be a very hard task as a lot of them had relocated back to family to be safe but we persevered and managed to make contact. Many of them didn't like the idea of doing exercise via Zoom or Facetime although this was becoming the new way to exercise but some did. We designed sessions to suit them. We thought about going off site to help users with their fitness, but this comes with many hurdles, but we continue to see if we can achieve this.
With no one being able to predict how the next few months will plan out we continue to chase funding for set projects to interact with those clients who will still be isolating - funding for tablets so we can make contact with those who don't have the technology and be able to offer them exercise sessions or just a good old chit chat. For us its so important to keep everyone part of the journey we are heading on into the new normal.
Our big user groups Headington Road Runners and Oxford Tri have been fantastic in raising money and we have been fortunate to be able to buy two large Marquees so we can move our classes and activities outside offering a safer area and increasing out total space. We continue to fund raise and have the OXSRAD Tour De France Challenge running a great chance for everyone to be active check out our Facebook.
Weekly staff Zoom meetings has kept all the staff informed and we have just had a social distanced staff meeting and walk round at the centre in readiness for reopening. There are so many new things to take on board to keep us all safe and we want to assure everyone that we have a thorough operating guide which makes the centre a safe place to access.
With the disappointing news that we will not be able to open the centre as planned we have moved our activities outside, and we are trying to see how this will work for the next couple of months or until the weather changes.