Many of our in-person classes and activities began to return in May, starting with our popular Seated Yoga.  This was followed by the Chair Exercise class returning in June.  Both these returned with existing and new attendees which has introduced people to new social connections too.  Many attendees catch-up afterwards with a cuppa in the local Space Hub Community Café which has been missed greatly in the periods when things were closed.  With this reopening of activities and services we have seen the impact of being at home on many people, and with the work we did during lockdowns with our weekly Wellbeing Packs and Zoom Socials we maintained connections.

The weekly Wellbeing Packs ended in June and we gathered feedback on what people enjoyed, comments included a keen interests in crafting, gardening and cooking.  We have responded to this by doing several things over recent months: providing regular gardening sessions in our local community garden within the grounds of a local GP practice, forming a knitting group that has grown in numbers and has a wealth of skilled knitters who share their passion for wool with one another, cooking classes and nutrition workshops for parents of young children with a creche to support attendance with their children.  We also became aware of many older service users and people they know who have a digital device at home but not confident in using it and apprehensive too.

We began to deliver digital support sessions in August, and part of this included provision of five tablet devices (Ipads) alongside inviting those who have a device to bring it along for training and support.  This is positively increasing awareness of the benefits of connecting digitally and encouraging people to share their anxieties and also their successes with others in a supportive environment.  We know from the lockdown periods and overall COVID experience of being at home that as we approach the winter months it is important to equip people with digital skills.  It is great when people can access classes both in-person and online, particularly when weather impacts things or if time commitments of service users (carers, parents etc) mean they might not find it easy to attend in-person, we can give them an online option.  This flexible hybrid approach is something we have become confident in delivering and continue to develop.

Your funding enables our charity to reach many people in ways that positively benefit their wellbeing – from attending a class, to sharing a skill, to learning something new and making friends.  We have had a good summer period and seen many of our service users returning and new ones too.  Our outdoor activities are really great at spreading the Be Healthy Together word, from BuggyGym to the Friday Walking Group, the shared support and motivation to be active, well and socially connected is strong.  Our team listen to the stories and needs of those we engage with, and we look at ways we can further our programme.  One ways is to provide workshops that provide advice and tips on wellbeing issues like: sleep, gut health and how mental health and physical health are connected to lifestyle and how we look after ourselves.  When reflecting on the last six months, we are providing wellbeing engagement for body and mind on every weekday which is a wonderful thing to be able to do.