A shout out to all the sport and physical activity groups in Salford!

Following the government announcement, a host of people are excited for the 4th July; the increased opportunities to see family, the ability to enjoy a pint in a pub, go out for a meal and finally get that lockdown hair sorted out. But for a huge group of people, it was met with bitter disappointment.

Marie training BJJ

Gyms, pools and indoor sporting facilities remain closed with no timeline in place for their review and reopening – this is despite ongoing discussions with government and experts regarding protocols and procedures to mitigate risk etc as well as evidence on how it can work in a host of European countries including those badly hit by the virus, such as Spain and Italy. I admit I am definitely one of our office's “sporty spices” and since the announcement my social media has been full of debate ranging from anger through to 'so what just go for a run'. I totally understand that many readers of this blog will be wondering why does Salford CVS care when there are so many other issues that need tackling in society at the moment?

Salford CVS is proud to be the infrastructure organisation for all the VCSE organisations in the city and includes the sporty and active ones!

26% of the VCSE sector in Salford identify themselves as a sport or leisure organisation (State of the Sector research). That’s nearly 400 organisations, not including those that may deliver physical activity as part of the broader health and wellbeing work. They range from large organisations such as Leisure Trust through to a range of volunteer-run groups providing everything from traditional sports through to activity sessions covering kurling, Zumba, Pilates and everything in-between. These groups have done some fantastic work during lockdown including online sessions for their groups or sharing videos of activities to help families stay active to supporting their local communities by helping with food deliveries and whatever else was needed during those difficult times. But it’s about acknowledging it’s also been difficult for them and their members, who are not just the ultra-fit or sporty but are a diverse community from across the city.

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Like many organisations they have experienced a loss of income and uncertainty about the future, despite alternative programmes and activities a lot of their members have become less active which has impacted on their physical and mental health but more importantly they have been separated from their social networks. Regardless of the activity, groups play an important role in wellbeing by providing a sense of belonging as well as the friendships and social connections they create. Communities of interest are often not discussed as much as those of place or identity but that have a key role in the lives and wellbeing of so many people.

So what is Salford CVS doing to support this part of our sector?

Well, most importantly, sport and physical activity groups have been able to access all our services during lockdown whether that’s been the Crisis Grants programme, our development work or the range of resources and webinars we’ve produced. But we’ve also been working behind the scenes with the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot, GM Moving and we’ve continued conversations with a range of stakeholders to look at the challenges and the solutions moving forward.

At present, we are not a 100% sure of what the future holds for this part of our sector although a recent tweet from Oliver Dowden (Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) stated that there were aspirations to look at reopening in mid-July. What we can say positively is that Salford CVS are here to support you. If you have any queries whether it’s practical support like using Zoom or help with funding applications or just wanting to talk through the challenges your group faces our team can help. To paraphrase this video from London Sport (which despite being all about London is still very relevant) our sports and physical activity groups were not spectators before the pandemic, they haven't been during it and Salford CVS will not be on the sideline when you need us!

Salford CVS
Author: 
Marie Wilson, Strategic Lead

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Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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