The Harrogate and District Community Action team column with Karen Weaver: New activity packs prove to be a great success

Just as the lockdown affected everyone differently so the steps being taken to emerge from it will be challenging. Last week I was in a Zoom planning meeting where we were advised that we must learn how to live with Covid-19 “in the community” for some time to come.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 9:15 am
North Yorkshire Sport staff and volunteers assemble the activity packs. Photo submitted

As we’ve seen in Leicester, there can be no room for complacency and many things we took for granted before lockdown will need to change or be adapted.

This same meeting also highlighted concerns about how the long weeks of isolation have resulted in those shielding and self-isolating losing both fitness and confidence. This is something my own mum in her mid-80’s has experienced; having not been out of the house for 12 weeks she is feeling anxious about attending her first post lockdown medical appointment.

Local voluntary organisations have played a vital role in supporting people’s physical and mental health during the lockdown and Harrogate based charity North Yorkshire Sport was quick to anticipate the problems which might arise from inactivity at this time. They piloted the distribution of activity packs to those most in need in our area and these have proved to be a great success. Now they’ve teamed up with North Yorkshire County Council to distribute more than 2,000 packs across the county to key groups of people still affected by the coronavirus outbreak; older adults, families and young people.

The packs contain practical examples of ways to stay active at home, tailored exercises and items to help people take part in physical activity more easily and to maintain positive mental health.

Included in every pack is a Rural Arts North Yorkshire art activity and advice on how to stay healthy and happy from organisations such as North Yorkshire Youth and Compass Buzz.

The project has been jointly funded by North Yorkshire Sport, North Yorkshire County Council and the National Lottery.

Packed by a team of volunteers from Align Property Partners the packs will be distributed by Community Support Organisations across North Yorkshire and other voluntary groups.

This includes the six CSOs in the Harrogate District based in Harrogate, Pateley Bridge, Ripon, Masham, Boroughbridge and Knaresborough, that have all had a key role during the pandemic.

David Watson, Chief Executive at North Yorkshire Sport, said: “Driving positive change through physical activity and sport is at the core of what we do, and it’s now more important than ever to help our local community make positive changes to improve their health and wellbeing.

“That is why we have put these packs together as a free resource and are working with colleagues to make sure they get into the right hands. We are sure these activity packs will make a difference to a lot of local individuals and families.”

Richard Webb, Director of Health and Adult Social Care at NYCC, added: “We know that staying at home can bring with it a variety of challenges to people’s mental and physical health. Staying physically active while at home can bring a variety of positive outcomes and these packs can really help people with practical items and ideas.”

This project is an excellent example of local charity partners working with the local authority to find creative and practical ways of adapting to living with Covid-19.

The HADCA ‘Where to Turn’ online directory provides lots more info on the wide range of support offered by local charities via hadca.org.uk/wheretoturn.