Message from Julie Stokes, CEO

Message from Julie Stokes, CEO

In light of the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, ActivLives is following strict government guidelines. Our main office at Brightspace closed on Monday 23rd March 2020, with all staff working remotely and continuing to do so until it is safe to return.

As many of you are aware, events and face-to-face meetings have had to be cancelled or postponed. All of our falls prevention sessions, inclusive sport activity, singing groups, Lunch Clubs, specialist Hubs, Health Walk, ActivSheds and our Sudbury Garden Project  have had to close and our Community Gardens at Maidenhall Allotments and Chantry Park are also closed to the general public.

All our projects are on hold at the moment and will re-start as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be keeping in touch with our members and volunteers by phone to make sure they are alright and if they need any help.

I would like to thank all of our Staff, volunteers and also our Freelance Staff for their dedication and support during this difficult time. We hope that our volunteers and Freelance Staff will be able to return very soon to start-up all our fantastic activities again, when it is safe to do so.

We want people to stay connected and as active as possible while they are having to self-isolate at home, so please visit our website www.activlives.org.uk  for up to date information and participate in a variety of activities that will keep your mind and body active over the coming weeks. There are exercise videos that can be done safely at home – https://activlives.org.uk/activhome/, weekly quizzes, singing videos on our Facebook page – facebook.com/activlives  and we are currently working on a fun reminiscence, arts and photography project. So please have a look at the ActivLives website and Facebook page.

 

ActivLives will be up and running as soon as we can and we hope that everyone stays safe and well in these unprecedented times.

Best wishes

Julie Stokes

CEO ActivLives

ActivLives April 2020 Newsletter

ActivLives April 2020 Newsletter

In light of the UK lockdown, we unfortunately won’t be bringing our usual bright and colourful newsletter to you this quarter.
However, here’s an electronic version with the added benefit of bigger photos!

We’re hoping to bring you our next newsletter in July 2020.

ActivGardens

Learners go from strength to strength

Our Grow Your Future learners have made a flying start at ActivGardens.

They have enjoyed a range of activities on Mondays and Fridays, including gardening tasks, environmental conservation and beekeeping, cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients and pizza making on our clay oven.

Unfortunately, the project has been postponed owing to coronavirus lockdown, but we are hoping to finish off training with our first intake of learners online.

When we get back to normal, Eastern Region Roof Training are planning to deliver skills workshops as part of the project and ASDA is offering mock interviews to trainees.

Register your interest and we will let you know when our next FREE course starts…

 Grow Your Future will enable you to learn new skills and gain confidence on your way to further opportunities and employment.

The 12-week scheme will include garden maintenance, horticulture and environmental conservation, with a chance to get involved in specialist activities such as woodworking or bee-keeping.

Grow Your Future is for anyone aged 16+ who is unemployed or economically inactive, and encourages people who face barriers to work – such as a disability, health condition, or caring responsibilities.

  • Where? The People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE
  • When? Next course start date to be confirmed

The programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the Education & Skills funding Agency, and administered by LIFT Community Grants ‘Local Investment in Learning Paths to Work’.

New chapter for school grounds

ActivGardens are busy planning a sensory garden at Stoke High – Ormiston Academy to brighten up the front of the school and encourage students and community library users to enjoy the natural environment and read al fresco!

With the help of contractors from Clarion Futures, who funded the initiative, we are also planning to install raised beds in the library courtyard so older people can join in with gardening activities.

We would like to thank Louisa van den Berg, an RHS flower show winner, who has designed the garden and helped with logistics.

Last term, Lesley was  busy in the new vegetable garden, down at the bottom of the playing field, planning and planting with an enthusiastic group of students, who are learning skills and enjoying fresh flavours.

 

  • Once we are able to return to normal, we will be holding a community planting day to get the sensory garden planted up – do email susannah@activlives.org.uk if you’d like to help out.

Community Garden offers learning programme to schools

ActivGardens is launching a new learning and skills programme at the People’s Community Garden to inspire young people and help move them on to the world of work.

Starting whenever we are able to get back to normal (possibly Autumn term 2020), it will consist of half-termly (five-week) programmes, giving young people a chance to learn hands-on in the great outdoors, as well as improving their overall health and wellbeing in a community-embedded project.

The programme will benefit from the expertise of careers professional Bev Baker – project officer at the People’s Community Garden.

The programme will offer a range of activities in gardening and horticulture, nature conservation and beekeeping, woodworking and construction, cooking and crafts.

The scheme will help young people:

  • learn practical skills, gain work experience, and take on leadership/ organisational roles
  • develop competencies such as working as a team, good communication, and being willing to take on and understand responsibility
  • build self-esteem, gain confidence, and feel pride in their achievements
  • feel better – both physically and mentally
  • develop friendships, form social networks and feel a part of their community.

For more details, please call Fundraising and Development Manager Susannah Robirosa on 07530 407302 or email susannah@activlives.org.uk.

Never mind the weather!

Two classes of 30 children from Sprites primary braved the rain to visit our walled garden as part of their topic on the ‘Scented Garden’.

They learned all about how to nurture plants before sowing seeds to take back to their school to look after and plant out.

Huge thanks to Thompson & Morgan for donating the seeds!

 

It’s bloomin’ lovely in Sudbury

Where once was a bare patch of land was a glowing host of golden daffodils in early Spring – thanks to the work of Sudbury volunteers who planted this forgotten flower bed with bulbs kindly donated by Riverside Bulbs.

  • The team usually meets every Thursday morning at 10am Belle Vue Park. To register your interest, please contact project officer Bev Baker on or email beverly@activlives.org.uk . Bev will let you know when the volunteer session is up and running again.

Shedders are shell-shocked

ActivSheds recently received its most unusual commission to date. We have made a mini Suffolk barn, a cat box, and many a hedgehog home… and now we have been asked to make a tortoise hideout!

Although this has had to be put on the back burner for the time being, the shedders will be busy building this and their amazing array of products once they are able to get back to work.

ActivSheds offer not just standard bird boxes – we have whole sparrow terraces to encourage these cheeky chappies (in sad decline) to our gardens and green spaces, alongside bat boxes, bird feeders and bird tables, garden trugs and planters, obelisks to support plants, tool holders so you can keep everything together, bread boards  lovingly decorated…  and much much more…

  • Why not think up your own unusual commission to get the shedders busy thinking during lockdown?

We also renovate and repair, recycle and upcycle – so we’re doing our bit to save resources and give your garden benches a new lease of life.

  • Owing to popular demand, we will be launching a new ActivSheds session when we are able to open again… so watch this space….

Keeping our bees buzzing

Our community beekeeping project has sadly had to be put on hold owing to the current situation. But our small team of project beekeepers are keeping our buzzing friends happy and well meanwhile.

To keep yourself connected with nature during this difficult time, watch for signs of spring when you leave home for your exercise each day – have you heard a blackcap or spotted a swallow yet – both arriving from Africa? Try to identify one of the many sorts of bumble bees emerging now. What about trying to name a few spring wildflowers?

  • If you would like to help keep our bees buzzing – please sponsor a bee. For £5 you will get a fantastic information pack and contribute to our project. Please email susannah@activlives.org.uk  to find out more.

Growing for ‘Eden’

Pacitti Company has enlisted ActivGardens as a growing partner for its SPILL Festival this year.

Luckily, we managed to get the seeds sown before lockdown, and a small team of volunteers is keeping the seedlings watered and well.

They will hopefully form part of an art project ‘Eden’ by Canadian artist Mary Catherine Newcomb, made up of curious creatures, grown from veg with the use of custom-made moulds.

< This one is is a Bride Aubergine ‘Saint’

 

French garden exchange

ActivGardens has entered into an exchange project with a group of volunteers from a community garden project in Auxi-le-Chateau in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France.

They are called ‘Les Popotes Papotent’ – or the ‘chattering pans’, and we have already had long-distance meetings via video-call to get to know each other, swap and share ideas.

Although we have had to put our exchange visits on hold for the time being, we hope the group can eventually come to Ipswich, and that we can visit them too – especially as Ipswich is twinned with the region’s capital of Arras!

ActivIpswich

ActivLives Badminton Group enjoy success in London SW19!

Members of the ActivLives Inclusive Badminton group had a great day recently representing Suffolk at the Special Olympics Regional Tournament which was held in Wimbledon.

Just up the road from the All England Tennis Club, this singles badminton tournament was held for the very first time in the famous SW19 area of South London.

The ActivLives/Special Olympics Suffolk group consisted of nine players competing for the medals across the various divisions. They were joined by competitors from a variety of Special Olympics groups including Wimbledon, Southampton, Exeter and the Isle of Wight.

“This tournament is a very welcome addition to the Special Olympics calendar”, said Mike McCarthy, from ActivLives, and Coach to the Suffolk group. “It has been brilliant for our players to play at such a prestigious venue, against opponents, many of whom, they hadn’t competed against before”. 

The Suffolk team did the county proud by winning a number of medals including two Golds won by Donna Wyatt and Harry Creasey, who both topped their respective divisions.

The team completed a great day by taking part in the Team Relay event, a competition that puts all of the competitors into mixed teams across all of the abilities and groups represented on the day.

If you would like to get involved with Inclusive Special Olympics Badminton in Suffolk (the group is based in Ipswich), please contact Mike McCarthy at mike@activlives.org.uk or call on 01473 345350.

🚨 COVID-19 Hub Closures 🚨

🚨 COVID-19 Hub Closures 🚨

Due to the risk of Coronavirus, we have been advised by the NHS to close all of our hubs this week.
Some venues have decided to close before we could have this weeks session, but we’re trying our best to let all members that it effects know.

ActivGardens is currently unaffected. If anything changes, we will try and let all members & volunteers know ahead of time.

If you have any queries, please call us on 01473 345350.

“We’re all going on a Summer Holiday!”

“We’re all going on a Summer Holiday!”

As our long-term members would know, most of our hubs have a break in the summer.
This lets you all have a bit of a break – as well as our staff!

The instructor will tell you when the last session is, and when the first one back is – but here’s a handy list just in case you forget!

ActivHubs:

HUB LAST SESSION RESTART DATE
Goldcrest Court 12th August 2nd September
St Mary Stoke 6th August 3rd September
Oasis Lunch Club Closed on 27th August and 24th September
Rushmere 13th August 3rd September  
Morecambe Court 14th August 4th September
All Hallows 15th August 5th September
St Thomas 15th August 5th September
California Club 15th August 5th September
Meeting Place 15th August 5th September
Dundee House 16th August 6th September

ActivSuffolk:

HUB LAST SESSION RESTART DATE
Walton 13th August 3rd September
Stowmarket 17th July 21st August
Leiston 4th September 18th September
Felixstowe 3rd August 7th September

ActivIpswich:

 

 

If you can’t find your hub, or have any other queries – be sure to give us a call on 01473 345350.

ActivIpswich celebrating being awarded almost £10,000 by National Lottery

ActivIpswich celebrating being awarded almost £10,000 by National Lottery

Local charity ActivLives is celebrating being awarded almost £10,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work keeping older people active and connected in their community. ActivLives is based on Hadleigh Rd in Ipswich
and provides a wide range of preventative activities across the town and in East Suffolk to support inactive older people, become active. The funding will support existing activity, new taster sessions, a sports festival and a half day Sports Leadership course for members and volunteers to encourage more people aged 50 plus to ‘have a go’ at a wide range of inclusive sport sessions.

Everyday Activ-Ipswich now runs 14 sessions across Ipswich, attended by 200 people each week. The sessions provide a range of accessible and inclusive sports such as walking football, Boccia, New Age Kurling, Ping Pong, ActivYoga, ActivStretch, Bowls and Badminton that enable people of all abilities to take part in a sport and reduce loneliness and social isolation by providing opportunities for people to get out and about and meet and make new friends.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see more people aged 50 years and over participating in inclusive sport activities and attending sessions in North West Ipswich.
ActivLives will also be working closely with the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust and other local organisations to reach and engage more older residents living in the area.

Mike McCarthy, Everyday Activ – Ipswich Manager says: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding which will help ActivLives to sustain, and further develop, our Everyday Activ programme in the NW area of Ipswich. The aim is to encourage more adults to get involved with ‘easy to access’ sport and physical activity and, through this, to promote increased physical and mental well-being. We are also planning to provide some Sports Leadership training to those who would like to help others to become more active in the area – it’s an exciting time for the project!”
A member said, “This is excellent news. At least while we are all here playing Kurling, we aren’t filling up the doctor’s surgeries are we? More people should come and give it a try.”

Celebrating ‘Move Suffolk Week’!

Next week is ‘Move Suffolk Week’ and to help to celebrate this we are holding our ‘ActivFriends Week’.

 

We are involved with several events next week including:

 

  • Saturday 18th May (10-4pm), Special Olympics Eastern Region Badminton Tournament at Gainsborough Sport Centre, Ipswich, IP3 0SP. The third hosting of this event in Ipswich with competitors coming from as far afield as Exeter, Lincoln, Birmingham, Southampton, Bournemouth, London and Scotland. There will also be a strong Suffolk team competing for the medals. Please note – this is for spectators only as entries are now closed for this event. Refreshments will be available.

 

  • Monday 20th May (11-12), ActivLives Health Walk in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, IP4 2BX. 45-60 minutes comfortable walking in this beautiful town park. Meet at the Soane Street entrance at 10.45am. The group is approximately 25-30 in number – this is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the park in spring and meet some lovely people. FREE – New participants welcome.

 

  • Tuesday 21st May (4.30-6), Inclusive Boccia Taster at Gainsborough Sport Centre, Ipswich, IP3 0SP. This event is particularly aimed at anyone over the age of 14, who has a learning disability and would like to try this great sport. FREE to new participants.

 

  • Wednesday 22nd May (10-3), The Golden Games at Whitton Sport Centre, Ipswich, IP1 6LW. This event is focussed on promoting well-being through memories. Helping to tackle dementia, depression, loneliness and isolation through sport and physical activity. Activities available include: Ping Pong, Kurling, Boccia Seated Dance and Short Mat Bowls. FREE – all welcome. (Flyer attached to this email).

 

  • Monday 20th-Friday 24th May (inclusive) ActivLives ‘ActivFriends Week’. All this week ActivLives are inviting new participants to come and try one of their weekly inclusive sport and physical activity sessions held in Ipswich as part of the Everyday Activ-Ipswich programme. All of these sessions are particularly targeted at those who are over 50 years old (no upper age limit!), who don’t currently exercise regularly. Activities include Beginners Yoga (Mon/Weds), Short Mat Bowls (Tues), Badminton (Tues), Ping Pong & Short Tennis (Weds), Boccia, (Mon/Thurs) and Walking Football (Thurs/Fri).

All of these sessions offer a free taster to new participants throughout this week.

 

For more details about any of the above events please call on 01473 345350 or email mike@activlives.org.uk