Bodies in Motion
Contact: Shahid Shabbir
Telephone: 01282 605050 / 07912946515
The project focused on Brierfield one of the most deprived wards in the Borough of Pendle which has an above average incidence of cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, school leavers achieving well below the national average and a high incidence of juvenile crime and social nuisance. The ward has a population of 5,232, with 34% approximately British Pakistani (muslim).
The community is generally conservative in outlook preferring to access facilities within the ward than travel to better resources areas of the Borough. In addition, the muslim population had a clear preference for segregated sessions and were doubtful that mainstream providers understood their needs. Bodies-in-Motion has significantly widened participation by gaining the trust of the community and by engaging people who would otherwise not have participated.
Originally funded through the Sporting Equals Sport for Communities programme, but now independent the project provides instructor and fitness training to around 3,500 participants in the ward. These members were people who had not previously participated in any kind of physical activity since leaving schools and who were not comfortable with accessing mainstream facilities.
From a rather tentative beginning some three years ago active membership is growing year on year; women often queue to be sure of a place on the cardio machines; young people on the brink of exclusion from school are re-motivated to achieve and the older men of Brierfield have been given something to do along with keeping them fit and healthy.
There has been a strong element of collaboration and mutual support from other local groups and the project is now self sustained through other avenues of funding.
This project shows the ability of a small project to widen participation through grassroots works. From identifying a simple need within the community and tailoring services to meet the specific needs of groups within this community the project has grown participants from people who would not otherwise have participated in any kind of physical activity. Engagement has been crucial to help break down barriers and encourage people to access fitness who would otherwise have been inactive. The project has been able to sustain itself through various avenues of funding and there are potential partnership opportunities for other agencies to link into the work of Bodiesinmotion to expand its work.
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