£10,000 funding means 40 'virtual' physical activity classes for the local community

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council has secured £10,000 in funding for virtual physical activities for vulnerable people, young people and the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic to be delivered in January.

The Operations Committee of council was due to be told this week that the organisation’s Leisure Service department usually delivers a range of health intervention programmes.

These include a Physical Activity Referral Scheme, whereby individuals with relevant health issues are referred for prescriptive exercise; the Macmillan Move More programme for cancer patients and survivors; an Active Pregnancy programme; cardiac and pulmonary programmes and most recently an activity programme to promote improved mental health.

All of these programmes have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to facility closures and also the vulnerable nature of the customers referred.

A report due before members said that officers recently secured £10,000 of funding through Sport NI and the Northern Lifestyles Partnership to assist in the delivery of virtual physical activity programmes for vulnerable groups of people.

The funding facilitated the creation of two new virtual programmes - a health intervention programme to reach people in the groups referred to, who cannot come to leisure settings and an ‘Open for All’ programme which includes various junior sports sessions, junior dance, as well as senior citizen classes.

The report said: “The guiding principle was to be able to deliver programming virtually that leisure settings once restrictions allow.

“Approximately 40 virtual activity classes were recorded for this purpose in mid-December 2020 and will be launched online in early January 2021.”

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