A photo of one of the zoom sessions

Get Berkshire Active on behalf of Sport England (SE) are administering the Tackling Inequalities Fund (TIF). The TIF forms part of the Sport England's £210 million support package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

The results of the regular survey undertaken by Sport England revealed that certain groups were being disproportionately affected by the pandemic and it was significantly impacting their ability to be physically active. In response to this research, the Tackling Inequalities Fund has been created to try and help reduce the negative impact on activity levels in these under-represented groups, with a specific focus on:

• Lower socio-economic groups

• Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities

• Disabled people

• People with long-term health conditions.

GBA were introduced to a Wokingham based charity, CLASP by colleagues at Wokingham Borough Council. CLASP supports adults with learning disabilities to speak up for themselves. Their mission is: "To develop independence through self-advocacy for adults living with a learning disability". Ordinarily this is delivered via face-to-face workshops and training, providing resources and signposting, and peer support.

The pandemic and lockdown have had a noticeable impact on their members, Debs, CLASP Manager, explains:

"Lockdown had a significant impact on CLASP's services and members. Members were unable to meet at our base in Wokingham or meet each other face to face. This had a big impact on their mental health and feelings of social isolation. Some members have had increased anxiety, becoming far more challenging for their support workers and families."

Like many other organisations CLASP had to adapt and deliver services virtually and started hosting meetings over Zoom. During Learning Disability Week in June 2020 the members were offered a taster in movement to music, led by Aby from Wokingham Borough Council. Following the success of this taster CLASP applied for and were successful in securing Tackling Inequalities Funding, allowing these sessions to continue on a monthly basis, so far, all via Zoom.

Whilst this has it challenges it has provided a regular, fun, active session for the members. Aby shares her observations about the sessions

"The participants would often begin the session quite cautiously with some starting seated. As their confidence and enthusiasm has grown I notice more of them copying my moves and standing up to take part. I really look forward to the session, their smiles are infectious and I can always count on them to be honest in their views about my music choices!"

Feedback from the members is collected at each dance session and from the sessions so far 100% of participants have said that it has improved their physical or mental health and 100% would recommend the session to a friend.

Lorna, one of the participants, had this to say about the sessions

'I have really enjoyed our Dancing to music sessions with Aby, there is a good variety of music, with movements that are easy to follow and I'm always left feeling energised.'

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