Providing a place and activities for people of all ages to get active
It was identified that the local community in Southend have to travel far to access free or low-cost physical activity, and there was a lack of inclusive sessions catering for children with additional learning and sensory needs. Lifestreams aimed to make physical activity more readily available on multiple days, opening the opportunity up to more people.
Lifestreams have been able to develop 4 group sessions for various age groups with different levels of activity depending on the age of the participants. The project has proven popular particularly among children aged 6-14 and their parents who have benefitted from the free activities and use of equipment to build their levels of physical fitness. Social connections have also developed as a result of the project with like-minded individuals being able to share the space and meet other local residents.
The group initially built a strong partnership with Basildon and Southend-based group ATF. Together, they recognised a local need for free activity sessions, initially for preschool aged children and their parents. But as the project developed, they identified that this needed to be widened to families with SEN children. Funding from Active Essex allowed them to purchase equipment, and they then employed Leanne who has a background with SEN inclusion, to expand their offer to include more ages and activities.
It was important for Lifestreams to ensure a change in behaviour was sustained among children and their parents/carers. Therefore they offered additional signposting to other forms of support for parents, as well as further tailored free activity which was available locally.
It's important to take time to reflect and understand the learnings from work undertaken, in order to focus on ways to improve in the future.
Important to provide focussed attention, so need more volunteers so everyone feels comfortable
Strong friendships have blossomed and the group has offered a lifeline for some residents