Active Reach: Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund in action

Active Reach: Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund in action

Posted: Fri, 30 Oct 2020 15:13

Active Reach: Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund in action

Active Oxfordshire has been awarded £100,000 of Sport England funding to help tackle inequalities and reach people in the greatest need across the county. We know that COVID-19 is hitting the most vulnerable groups in our community the hardest and is set to widen the inequality gap even further. This is why it's never been more important to have a targeted, place -based approach to helping local people get active and protect their health, wellbeing and life chances.

Over the last few months, our incredible local communities and charity partners have come together to help hundreds of people facing significant barriers to get active and change their lives. As the second phase of Active Reach fast approaches, we've been reflecting on the superb impact that the first phase has achieved so far:

Our approach

Active Reach is designed to be run by the community, for the community. For the first phase of Active Reach, which focuses on Blackbird and Greater Leys, we brought together eight experienced charity partners who know their local place and understand how to reach people most in need. One of our charity partners Oxford Hub has co-ordinated Active Reach activities across the eight charities, and local resident Natasha plays a critical role in community outreach. By actively using the knowledge, experience and insights of each local community, we can ensure that Active Reach activities are genuinely reaching those in the greatest need.

This approach is also designed to leave a strong legacy of increased partnership working, collaboration and communities leading the way in deciding what works best for their local place.

Key achievements so far

  • Oxford Hub has been running a very successful summer school, with 32 children enjoying a wide range of activities, hot meals and additional literacy games and support. Active Reach was also an ideal platform to launch bike donations for local families as part of their Ready, Set Go initiative. Bike helmets, lights and locks were also provided. Oxford Hub have also played a key role in co-ordinating the whole programme across eight charities.
  • Access Sport has been providing sports equipment packs to help local families stay active. So far, 68 packs have been distributed in the Leys to 247 participants. Early feedback suggests that lockdown has decreased both activity levels and local families' wellbeing, with the activity packs making a huge difference at a critical time. Upon receiving the sports equipment packs, "excited" was the word most used by children and "Grateful/thankful" was the word most used by parents.
  • Age UK Oxfordshire is providing online exercise classes, specialist exercise opportunities, health walks and motivational calls to help older people stay active, particularly during the winter months.
  • Oxfordshire Mind is working closely with Aspire Oxford to co-design new wellbeing and fitness sessions at local Park Clubs. Their Walking for Wellbeing sessions are continuing to make a huge difference and are attracting new people, too.
  • Aspire Oxford has done an incredible job continuing to provide regular fitness sessions, aimed at people facing homelessness, disadvantage and poverty after their Gym Bus tragically caught fire back in September. They have been able to secure free space at Fusion Gym until Christmas.

What's next for Active Reach?

We are delighted to announce that the second phase of Active Reach will shortly be launching in parts of Banbury and Abingdon. We consulted with local charities who are already embedded within their communities, who were able to work together to design Active Reach activities that would work best for their target groups. Some of our partners for the next phase of Active Reach include Banbury Mosque, St Leonard's Church, Banbury United, Inspiring Minds Community Group and Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project.

In Blackbird Leys, Natasha's contract has been extended through until March 2021, to ensure that she can continue community outreach and promote physical activity opportunities as well as Oxford Hub programmes in the Leys.

We will keep you posted as Active Reach expands further across the county – watch this space!

Tags: Active, communities