Free Transport Service To Help More People Access Leisure Facilities
Posted on 25th February 2022 at 09:01
People in North Essex who struggle to enjoy the facilities at Leisure World Colchester and Clacton Leisure Centre due to issues associated with travel, can now enjoy a free seat on a community bus, thanks to a partnership between Sport For Confidence, Community 360 and Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST).
The service collects participants from their home, in a mini bus, and drops them right outside the front door of the leisure centre where they can enjoy a number of inclusive sporting sessions run by a team of Sport for Confidence occupational therapists and sports coaches.
Sophie Garratt, Occupational Therapist at Sport For Confidence, says: “The scheme has been life changing for so many people. At Sport For Confidence we are constantly seeking new ways to tackle inequalities that exist in sport, helping those who face barriers to entry gain access and enjoy the many mental, physical and social benefits associated with physical activity.
Our sessions welcome people with cognitive and physical impairments, creating opportunities for them to take part in meaningful and fulfilling sporting activities. Until recently, many people were unable to take advantage of our services because they couldn’t get to the leisure centre due to financial challenges, finances, mobility issues or difficulties with travelling independently. This new, free to access, transport service removes these barriers and reduces the risk of social isolation and inactivity.
On a Monday at Leisure World Colchester we run a Love To Move group movement session that helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline and deconditioning. All participants, many of whom are living with dementia, are making use of the free transport service and see the sessions as a fun way to maintain or improve their health.
One participant, Susan Stonard, who lives in Colchester attends Love To Move Every week. She says: “When I started coming to the Sport For Confidence session in June 2021 I was reliant on a wheelchair and a carer. I also had to pay for a taxi to get to and from the leisure centre, which financially limited my attendance to once a week.
“Since attending Love to Move and with the support of the Sport For Confidence team, I am no longer reliant on my wheelchair or a carer to help get me to the session and take part in the sessions. Making use of the free transport also removes the cost issue and means I can now increase attendance to three time a week. I really look forward to my Sport For Confidence sessions. With the new transport service I am now able to independently and safely get out the house, enjoy time with friends and take part in activities I never thought possible. Now I go to Love to Move, Boccia and Multi-sports and am so proud of how far I’ve come”
Love to Move is now being delivered in Clacton Leisure Centre and the Occupational Therapists are working with Care Homes to encourage residents to utilise the free transport to access the group sessions to improve quality of life.
The new transport service is part of a county-wide strategic partnership between Essex County Council Adult Social Care, Sport For Confidence CIC and Active Essex to help all Essex citizens be active, be engaged with their community, be happy and be independent.
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