Active Suffolk gives recognition to over 50 individuals as part of their Lockdown Activity Hero campaign
Posted: Tue, 08 Sep 2020 12:45
Over 50 individuals across Suffolk are being recognised as Lockdown Activity Heroes for their selfless dedication to support, motivate and inspire local people to be physically active during the recent lockdown.
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced the whole country into lockdown from 23rd March 2020, all leisure centres, gyms and fitness studios had to close their doors until further notice. As a result, instructors across the nation stepped up to ensure we continued to benefit from the positive impact of exercise and physical activity. In Suffolk many teachers, instructors and clubs took to the online world to support us to be active through the delivery of virtual workouts and socially distanced challenges. The Lockdown Activity Hero campaign led by Active Suffolk aims to give recognition to those that went above and beyond in our local communities during a challenging and uncertain time.
Throughout August Active Suffolk invited the public to nominate someone they felt had gone the extra mile to support them and their families to be active during the lockdown.
John Clough, Director at Active Suffolk said:
"We have been totally overwhelmed by the response this campaign has had. When the lockdown rules were introduced we identified a vast number of local instructors and clubs that quickly adapted to deliver innovative, online challenges and workouts to support those in the local community. We were determined to ensure they received the thanks and recognition they deserved.
In less than one month, we have had 382 stories sent to us, identifying over 50 individuals who have demonstrated undeniable passion and enthusiasm for physical activity during a time when everyone has been faced with inevitable change and uncertainty."
The stories shared with Active Suffolk have all been published as part of the My Lockdown Activity Hero campaign to showcase the hard work of some of our well-loved, local physical activity champions.
Amongst the stories shared, is that of Jay Austin the owner of Just Jay Dance in Ipswich. He said:
"Thank you, this means so much and has really cheered me up! There really should be more campaigns like this that give thanks and share the positive stories of those in the local community"
Jay was just one of the Lockdown Activity Heroes who moved over to the virtual world to continue supporting the children that would usually attend his face to face dance classes in Ipswich. One parent said:
"Jay is always thinking about how he can help others and his efforts during lockdown proved this, without a thought for himself or gaining anything from it personally (except for very happy and grateful parents and children!)He is a true lockdown activity hero!"
Whilst schools were also closed during this period, seven dedicated teachers across Suffolk were also nominated and recognised for the support they offered the children and their parents during this time. One of them is Mr Johnny Lee from the Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft who produced 63 YouTube workout videos for the children to follow at home. His efforts extended further than his pupils and were picked up by residents in the area, with one person explaining:
"My Daughter left Red Oak a year ago and still she was doing his daily exercise during lockdown. I also shared his videos with friends and family, far and wide who also started to get involved daily as they were suitable for everyone to follow. He is an inspiration to all!"
Research carried out by Sport England during this time found that 67% of adults agreed exercise was helping them manage their physical health and 62% agreed that it was also helping to manage their mental health. The stories shared with Active Suffolk as part of the Lockdown Activity Hero campaign highlighted the positive impact that ongoing physical activity support had on our local community's mental health, whilst also identifying ways in which these efforts prevented feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
Jill Streatfield, who delivers adult tap dancing in some of the most rural parts of the county, was one instructor that was conscious of the impact cancelled classes could have on her audience.
"The Otley adult tap dancing class was launched in association with Fit Villages and has been successfully running for four years now. Great friendships have been forged and the group meet regularly for social activities as well as tap but transferring to zoom during lockdown meant that 15 – 20 members were still able to connect and participate in regular activity"
One of Jill's regular participants said:
"Many of the tap class members are single ladies who have been in lockdown alone (me being one of them) and we are also not in our prime. Our generation is often forgotten with much attention and time given to the young of society. The weekly dance with music and supporting each other is hard to value anytime, and especially since March. We have all forged new friendships through this group and given invaluable support to each other."
The support of the Lockdown Activity Heroes has been undeniable and the benefits to our local community is vast. As many have now reopened their doors and are working to adapt to the new normal, it is important that their efforts during this challenging period have not gone unnoticed. All stories shared with the team at Active Suffolk are now available to view at www.activesuffolk.org/my-lockdown-hero