Supporting World Mental Health Day

Supporting World Mental Health Day

ActivLives supports World Mental Health Day. Sunday 10 October is the day that we are being asked to support the campaign to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health, for all of us.

One of the initiatives this year is the ‘Big Mental Health Get Together’. The Big Mental Health Get Together is all about creating a supportive environment for people to reconnect and to talk about mental health if they want to. ActivLives strives to promote positive mental health in a number of ways including: hosting a wide variety of positive physical and social activity sessions in supportive environments, providing mental health awareness support and training to our staff and volunteers, working closely with local mental health providers, supporting local and national mental health campaigns.

Find out more about World Mental Health Day at World Mental Health Day 2021 – Mental Health UK (

Short-mat bowls returns!

Short-mat bowls returns!

We had a great summer season at Kesgrave Community Centre and now, as the weather changes, the ActivBowls group are ready to return to playing indoors. The group have not been able to return to their usual venue of Gainsborough due to the un-availability of the hall, which is still being used as a Vaccination Centre. However, we are able to bring our session across town to Whitton Sports Centre, starting on Tuesday 12 October. Many thanks to the Sport Centre staff at IBC for all of their support in helping this group get back to activity.

Please check our Calendar for more details about the session HERE

Boccia is Back: Celebrating National Boccia Day

Boccia is Back: Celebrating National Boccia Day

There was a great atmosphere in the hall earlier this week, as 36 participants, from across Suffolk, came together to take part in the ActivLives Boccia Festival in Ipswich, in celebration of National Boccia Day 2021.

The event was supported by players from a variety of partner organisations including Avenues East Ipswich and Stowmarket, Wots Up, Papworth Trust and Mid-Suffolk Axis

The day also had star quality as Ipswich-based, Evie Edwards, recently returned from representing Paralympics GB in Tokyo, was on hand throughout the event to meet players and to present the awards.

A big ‘thank you’ must go to all of our great volunteers who gave their time, skills and energy to make it all happen. Thanks also to Special Olympics Suffolk, Active Suffolk, SCC and IBC, for their support with this event.

If you would like to know more about Inclusive Boccia with ActivLives, call on 01473 345350 or email

Disability Badminton Festival in Cambridge

Disability Badminton Festival in Cambridge

A group of our ActivLives Inclusive Badminton players went over to Cambridge recently, to play in the Disability Festival as part of the Badminton England ‘Big Hit’ initiative. Our group of 10 players, were brilliantly supported by family members. The ‘Big Hit’ initiative has been an attempt to capitalise on the successful Paralympics Badminton in Tokyo. We ran a ‘Bring a Guest’ session earlier the same week which was also part of the ‘Big Hit’.

A  big thank you to all who supported these events. If you would like to know more about our Inclusive Badminton group, please contact Mike on 07531 236442.

Volunteer vacancies at ActivGardens

Volunteer vacancies at ActivGardens

ActivLives is looking to recruit keen gardeners who enjoy working alongside others to its core volunteer team.

Where you’ll be working : The People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments and the CRESS Pavilion, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8RE.

About ActivGardens
ActivGardens are part of Suffolk-based charity ActivLives. Our community garden is a lively, inspiring and very busy community site which supports people to lead active, healthy lifestyles, learn and share skills, and contribute to their community. Our projects work with a wide range of people, including long-term unemployed, people experiencing mental ill health, depression and anxiety, people with disabilities, young people, older people, and refugees and asylum seekers. We also work with local schools and welcome community groups, local business and other visitors.

What you’ll be doing :
We mainly need people who are confident gardeners and can help keep on top of the work. We also need people who enjoy helping and supporting others, and can assist staff in the smooth-running of the day on this busy site.

Main tasks include the following:

  • Working as part of the core volunteer team to maintain the community garden, which includes traditional vegetable plots, sensory garden, herb spiral, polytunnel cropping/ propagation, orchard and fruit-growing, nature conservation areas.
  • Working alongside the people we support to help them get the most out of their sessions
  • Assisting staff in organising and running the day
  • Helping run group sessions, including school groups and groups of young people
  • Assisting in organising and running events
  • Contributing to development of the gardens and its projects
  • Option to get involved with woodworking/ carpentry, cooking, beekeeping, other specialisms

You will gain skills in:

  • Working with a wide range of people, including people with needs; children and young people; refugees and asylum seekers
  • Public engagement
  • Gardening and horticulture
  • Nature conservation and beekeeping (optional)
  • Events organisation

Training available:

First Aid, Safeguarding and other relevant training

The time you need to give:
We are ideally looking for a minimum commitment of 3 hours per week, for a set time each week – although we understand you may need a level of flexibility.

The skills you need:

We are looking for team players with a positive, friendly attitude and excellent communication skills, who enjoy working with people of all ages and abilities. We need people with an active, hands-on approach, with a willingness to tackle a wide range of garden-related and other tasks.  Gardening/ horticultural experience will be an asset, but confidence, initiative and good organisational skills are also important.

  • Experience of working or volunteering with people with needs is desirable but not essential.
  • Skills associated with woodwork, nature conservation, cooking/ hospitality / catering, community education/ teaching, PR / events, will be an advantage.
  • Experience of working or volunteering with children and young people is desirable but not essential.
  • You may be able to contribute a specialist craft skill (eg flower arranging, art, crafts etc – please let us know!) – we are open to new ideas and projects.

What you’ll get out of it: 
Volunteering with us is suitable for people who have a keen interest in community gardening/ food growing projects and/ or nature conservation and enjoys working alongside other people. You will gain experience of working in the charity sector as part of a diverse, award-winning community project.

Contact details:  Please fill out our application form and email to Ian Hirst, ActivGardens Operations Officer Alternatively, please post to ActivLives, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich IP2 0HH. If you have any questions, or would like an informal chat about the role, please call Ian on 07725 327819 or ActivLives 01473 345350.

To download this information in a word document please click HERE 

National Fitness Day

National Fitness Day

National Fitness Day 2021 is being held on Wednesday 22nd September and gives us all at ActivLives a great opportunity to celebrate the vital role that physical and social activity plays in all of our lives. ActivLives provide a variety of activity options on a weekly basis across east Suffolk, including Better Balance classes, Walking Football, Badminton, Boccia, New Age Kurling, Yoga, Bowls and, of course, our Community Gardens!

If you would like more detail have a look at our website at and/or contact us directly on 01473 345350.