Boccia and Badminton

Boccia and Badminton

Inclusive Boccia and Badminton continue with ActivLives

Well, what a year 2020 has been! Although for much of the year sport has had to be put on hold as a result of Covid-19, some of our ActivLives groups have been able to continue to play sport in a Covid-19 compliant manner.

Despite the many restrictions that have been placed upon participating in sport and physical activity in recent months, ‘disability sport’ has had an exemption from these at various times throughout the year. Because of this, two sports that we have managed to continue with have been boccia and badminton.

“During the summer months we were able to play boccia and badminton outdoors in local parks in Ipswich, which was a great way of us getting our ‘Inclusive groups’ back to playing after the first lockdown ended in July”, said Mike McCarthy. “During the autumn we were able to play both sports indoors, apart from during the second lockdown period in November. Obviously, we had to ensure that we were meeting all of the UK Government Covid-19 Guidelines, as well as those of Boccia England and Badminton England. The response of the players, and their families, over the last few months has been absolutely brilliant. Everyone has adapted to the restrictions and guidelines that we have had to put into place in order to return to play safely – the positive attitude to returning from players, families and volunteers, has been great to see”.

Who knows what 2021 will bring? Whatever happens next, we do know that we have a lot of very committed participants who hope to get back to playing ‘inclusive sport’.

ActivLives Message – 13.01.21

ActivLives Message – 13.01.21

Due to the latest Government announcement and lockdown restrictions, ActivLives had to close all of our activity sessions again, including ActivSheds, the Sudbury project and limit the access to our two community gardens in Ipswich.

Staff are still able to access the office at Brightspace.

 

What are we doing during the Lockdown?

  • We are monitoring the Covid-19 situation and Government announcements very closely and following strict guidance on hygiene / cleaning, social distancing and the wearing of face masks.
  • The ActivOut and About Project continues to support people on a one to one basis who live on their own, are vulnerable or need some social contact and exercise to help with their physical / mental health. The walk may just be around the streets or in a park or green space. We are very grateful to Active Suffolk and Sport England for their support with this initiative. All our other ActivSports sessions are closed at the moment.
  • Having been able to re-start our Step by Step (falls prevention) and ActivSteps sessions in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Leiston, we have now had to close them all again. However, we are providing Better Balance sessions through live streaming on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning. If you would like to join one of the sessions with our OTAGO Instructors Del Keeble and Jo Powley contact Clare Macdonald at the main office on 01473 345350 for more information. We will restart face to face sessions, as soon as we are able. The Step by Step (Falls Prevention) programme is funded by Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG. We are still accepting referrals from health professionals, Social Prescribing Link workers and self-referral.
  • It is very important that through the lockdowns or if you are shielding that you try and keep active. If you are not into live zooming, then why not visit our Activ@Home page on our website where you can find seated exercise videos with Jo. Please visit: https://activlives.org.uk/activhome/. You will also find quizzes, singing videos and lots more….
  • Our Carers Elderflower Hub, Friday Friends Hub and our ActivSingers community singing groups remain closed, but we are keeping in contact with members and volunteers through regular welfare calls, WhatsApp groups and zoom singing sessions and socials.
  • We are still working on the Bridging the Gap Project in partnership with NSFT / Willows Unit and the Recovery College and are currently working on a new ‘Connecting with Nature’ Webinar, which should be available in March.
  • Our two lunch clubs at St Mary at Stoke Church & the Ipswich International Church remain closed but we are keeping in touch with members and volunteers. Hopefully, they will reopen again later in the year.
  • Our Befriending / Welfare calls, shopping / food parcel delivery and medication collection will also continue, with our most vulnerable members / carers to help reduce their anxiety, loneliness and social isolation caused by the lockdown.
  • ActivGardens – Our two Community Gardens in Ipswich are temporarily closed due to the current lockdown. Our provisional re-opening date is Monday 1st March. This also includes ActivSheds and ‘Grow Your Community’ in Sudbury’s park.

 

Essential work at the gardens and community apiary will continue with key volunteers and some placements will be able to continue to attend their programmes – by prior arrangement with staff.

  • Please do keep in touch with all the activities at ActivGardens via the ActivLives website and social media, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need more information. Please visit: activlives.org.uk

 

We are obviously following Government COVID-19 Guidance to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and members. We will reopen our activity sessions when it is safe to do so, but in the meantime, we will keep in touch with our members / volunteers to make sure they are OK and inform them of any developments with our activity and social programme.

A big thank you to all our funders and the amazing donations we have received to help the organisation through these unprecedented times and to the staff

and volunteers who have gone that extra mile to support our services and each other during the lockdowns. If you require any further information, please contact us on 01473 345350.

Please stay safe.

Regards

Julie Stokes CEO

 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook to keep up with everything – www.facebook.com/activlives

ActivLives Newsletter – December 2020

ActivLives Newsletter – December 2020

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!

ActivGardens

Festive Market a HUGE Success!
Our team at the community garden pulled out all the stops to put on a fabulous festive market on 4th December, and thanks to all our supporters, we made a whopping £568!

As well as freshly picked produce and cheerful plants to brighten up winter days, we had an amazing array of gifts, all made by our volunteers and learners.

Visitors braved the first really bad weather of the season to browse our original range of gifts such as – bee products – including bee bombs, candles and lip balm – a delicious selection of jams, jellies and chutneys, strings of chillies and many other decorations, pine cone firelighters and bird feeders, woolly hats and furry brooches, and a fantastic display of wooden items by the ActivSheds team.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the day the success it was.

It’s not too late to pick up a gift from us! Festive goods will continue to be on sale from our polytunnels until we close for Christmas on 18th December.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas. Thank you for all your support in this very challenging year. We look forward to seeing you in 2021! Gardening and access to the great outdoors has never been more important. The gardens reopen on Monday 4th Janaury 2021.

Grow Your Future learners move on to pastures new as new faces start their garden adventure

Our learners have enjoyed a productive three months at the community garden, and are now moving into work experience in a variety of roles – supporting others, trying their hand at flower arranging with a professional florist, and working at Chantry Walled Garden.

As well as taking part in all aspects of horticulture and gardening, beekeeping and nature conservation – including scything our wild meadow with a local expert, they got involved in preparing for the market too, including making pickles and jams, apple-pressing, harvesting honey and making crafts.

The group is busy looking at progression routes into further training or employment, while our third group of 10 learners enrolled in November, and is now settling in.

These free courses are funded by the European Social Fund.

We still have spaces on this course, which resumes in January. Please get in touch if you or someone you know or support would like to take part.

Grow to Learn gives young and old a taste of the great outdoors

Leading Lives Community Benefit fund has enabled us to provide taster sessions for people with additional needs, both at our gardens and at our ActivSheds project.

Our weekly sessions have enabled young people to enjoy a range of gardening and nature conservation activities, alongside cooking, jam-making and other activities.

While these sessions are fun to take part in, they also enable people to develop practical skills and encourage important attributes such as good communication, ability to work as part of a team and willingness to take on responsibility.

Meanwhile, over at the ActivSheds, Ralph has helped men with living with a range of conditions, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke and post-traumatic stress disorder, to get involved in making, doing, repairing, recycling, upcyling and everything to do with wood.

Those who take part enjoy socialising with others and sharing their skills and knowledge.

 

  • Thanks to South West Area Committee for funding our pop-up garage, which enables more people to take part in a safe, socially-distanced way.

Women’s Shed is now in Action!

Our merry band of ‘she shedders’ now meet every other Thursday afternoon, making all sorts of items from windmill sails (model, of course) to teddy trugs for grandchildren.

We also held a craft afternoon, flower arranging session, jam-making sessions and apple pressing as part of our Women’s Skills Exchange.

  • Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.

Walled Garden volunteers bring power of flowers to parks

Chantry Walled Garden volunteers, led by David Sheedy, grew an astounding 14,000 spring bedding plants for Ipswich parks and green spaces.

The pansies and polyanthus were collected by Ipswich Borough Council Parks team in October to be planted all around the town.

As one of our customers said: “It’s so important to have flowers during these difficult times. I’m going to enjoy seeing them all planted out.”

The plants arrive to our nursery as tiny plug plants in August, which then have to be carefully potted up and grown on, to be in peak condition for planting out in autumn. These plants will keep blooming right through winter and into spring.

Thanks to all our team who worked so hard and made such a tremendous effort.

    Helping hands from local business

    Our Wild Zone benefited from Do Good’s corporate networking team in October, when a group of seven people from various local business came to the People’s Community Garden.

    We were delighted to welcome Councillor Nadia Cenci – who has been a great supporter of the gardens over the years – as part of the team, setting her to work on raking up grass as habitat piles and sowing wildflower seed.

    We hope to welcome back Do Good in 2021.

      School puts finishing touches to their new garden with a bit of help from us!

      Lesley visited Stoke High – Ormiston Academy to help children with additional needs put the finishing touches to their garden at the front of the school.

      We took over a selection of plants which children enthusiastically planted up.

      Community librarian Jane Riches, who has led the project for the school, said: “All of the children in this group enjoy getting outside, they feel more relaxed working in a small group and love the garden. 

      “They dug up 60 potatoes yesterday, yes they actually counted them!”

        Update from Belle Vue Park, Sudbury – Bev

        Our volunteers continue to improve the beds at Belle Vue Park. We have been clearing the woodland area of the park. We have cut back large shrubs, cleared pathways, we have moved non-woodland plants and have replaced them with English Bluebell bulbs and woodland plants such as Pulmonaria and Cyclamen.   Perrywoods in Sudbury very kindly donated £50 to enable us to purchase more woodland plants.

        We are putting leaf mould on the beds to protect the dahlia tubers.  The tender plants have been moved to Chantry Walled Garden and winter bedding plants and perennials have gone in.  The Community Wardens have given us a quantity of woodchip that has been placed next to our compost bins ready to use next year.

        We have provided work experience placements for students at the Ryes College – which provides education and care to young people with complex needs. The students have been very courteous and hard-working. They have integrated into the Sudbury team very well with support from Liz Brightwell and other staff from the school.

        Our volunteers say they have become much closer during lockdown – forming friendships, meeting outside of the project to enjoy other activities together, and supporting each other – running errands for each other and calling each other to make sure they are okay.

          “I love gardening. It’s good for my health.  I have made friends at the ActivGardens group and have recently started to support Sudbury in Bloom with Julia.”

          Maxine

          “I need to socialise with others.  I have made friends with Bev and the other volunteers.  I go walking on a Tuesday with Rosemary and meet Bernie to tend the garden at the Railway station.  Gardening keeps me fit, mentally and physically.”

          Hazel

          “I joined to learn life skills and enjoy talking to other volunteers – it makes me feel very happy and useful.”

          Merry

          ActivSports

          Getting Out & About with ActivLives!
          ActivLives members have had the chance to get out of their houses, and go on mini health walks with ActivLives staff – meaning they can get weekly exercise, while staying safe and supervised!

          These have happened in one-to-one sessions, as well as in small socially-distanced groups.

          Here’s what some members have had to say:

          “I enjoy exercising with someone else, it really helps to motivate me.

          “The exercises that we are doing remind of what we would normally do at our badminton sessions.

          “I am feeling so much fitter as a result of these (exercise) sessions, I really enjoy the challenge.”

          MB

          “It has been so lovely to go for a walk somewhere different (on the heath), it’s not something that I would feel safe doing on my own.” 

          MH

          “I have been stuck in the house for so long, these walks are great.

          “I am seeing places that I have never been to before, and I have lived for over 40 years!

          “Thank you Mike, it’s really good to see you both again.

          “My Daughter in Law said ‘Go for it’, when I told her about the walks. I’m so glad that I did!”

          AC

          ActivHubs

          After successfully re-opening some of our Better Balance sessions as well as our ActivSteps session back in September following the end of the first lockdown, another lockdown meant that these had to stop temporarily after not long being started!  During lockdown 2 we were able to offer live exercise sessions via Zoom where some members were able to participate in their exercise class with their instructor from the comfort of their own homes.  This worked really well, with very few technical difficulties and allowed people to maintain their fitness whilst keeping connected with others. 

          Now that Lockdown 2 has finished we have been able to reopen some of our classes again whilst following Covid safety measures.   We ensure that members are 2 metres apart whilst participating in their exercise, frequently sanitise, follow social distancing and face masks are worn (although these can be removed during the exercise).   We are operating 2 Better Balance sessions on a Tuesday morning at Rushmere Village Hall as well as 3 sessions at Walton Community Centre on a Tuesday morning.  St Mary at Stoke Church Hall also has a session running on a Tuesday morning. Our ActivSteps group continues to run at Castle Hall Community Centre on a Thursday morning and Woodbridge also has 2 sessions running at the Fred Reynolds Centre, also on a Thursday morning. 

          We were also pleased to have welcomed back some members to our Leiston Better Balance session on Wednesday 9th December.  This was the first time this group had returned since March and it was lovely to see people back at the King George Community Centre.  Comments from our members were “it’s really good to be back”.

          As some venues are still not opening up, we have been trying to seek alternative venues for some of our other groups.  We are very grateful to the Kingfisher Pub at Chantry which is temporarily hosting our Monday morning class.

          We are making lots of wellbeing phone calls to keep in touch with our members and hope that it won’t be too much longer until we are able to resume all of our Better Balance sessions.  We look forward to seeing those members that have not yet been able to return to their class as well as welcoming new people who are interested in joining.

          Message from ActivLives – 27.11.20

          Message from ActivLives – 27.11.20

          Just to let everyone know how ActivLives is managing the lockdowns and Government and Sport’s Bodies restrictions and how we are continuing to support our members and volunteers.

          We have been able to keep our Community Gardens in Ipswich and our Sudbury Garden project open safely, with the support of our dedicated teams of volunteers who are helping to maintain the gardens and grow plants and produce for the local community. The volunteers in Sudbury have been working hard to keep Belle Vue Park looking lovely and keeping on top of the weeding and tidying in preparation for the winter months.

          The staff and volunteers are also working hard to prepare all sorts of jams, pickles,  Honey, fresh produce, bird boxes, garden items, crafts and lots more for the Christmas Market on December 4th at the People’s Community Garden, Halifax Rd from 10am – 1pm. Please come along…

          We have also been able to keep various projects running such as ‘Grow Your Future’ which is giving people skills, work experience and support in finding employment as well as building confidence, self-esteem and helping people with anxiety and depression cope through the lockdowns and the pandemic.

          ActivSheds has been able to keep open with a limited number of volunteers and with the new outside cover funded by SW Ipswich Area Committee, we now have more space for people to enjoy the Shed and keep socially distanced.

          Unfortunately, the Better Balance sessions that we managed to get up and running after the first lockdown had to close again, but for those that could access the internet the instructors have been running live zoom exercise sessions and seated dance and chair-based exercise to keep people moving and connected.

          We have established WhatsApp Groups, run zoom socials and sing-a-longs, including our Friday Friends Hub and kept in touch with our members from all our different activities with the Befriending / Welfare calls to help get people through this very difficult and anxious time.

          During lockdown 2 our ActivOut and About Project returned to 1-1 ‘walks and talks’, encouraging people living alone to have a walk in the fresh air to help with their physical and mental health.

          Check out our Activ@Home page on our Website for exercise / singing videos, quizzes and our themed reminiscence project ‘That Reminds Me’ for things to do at home.

          We are now planning to re-open safely again on the 2nd December, so that some of our Better Balance, Inclusive Sports groups and Carers Hubs can meet again before the Christmas and New Year holiday. We hope to get more of our sessions running in the New Year, if we can.

          A big thank you again goes out to all our funders who have helped to keep the organisation going through 2020 and the generous donations that people have sent in, even people who don’t use our services – thank you.

          Thank you to all the staff, freelance staff and volunteers for your patience, flexibility, creativity and dedication in supporting ActivLives and keeping things going through the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Let’s hope 2021 is a better year for all of us.

          For any information about any of our services or activities please contact the office on – 01473 345350 or visit www.activlives.org.uk

          ActivLives recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th October 2020

          ActivLives recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th October 2020

          Mental Health is everyone’s business, especially now. Having good mental health, emotional health and well-being is as important as having good physical health.

           We are all affected differently and our mental health can change as circumstances change or as things happen through the different stages of life.

          ActivLives provides a wide range of activities in Ipswich, Sudbury, Stowmarket and East Suffolk to help and support people with mental health problems and people living with Dementia and their Carers.

          We are currently working in partnership with the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Recovery College and the Woodlands Unit at Ipswich Hospital on the successful ‘Bridging the Gap’ Project, funded by Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG/ Suffolk Community Foundation.

          The project introduces service users, their carers and families and staff to community services that can support people after discharge. We can help people reconnect with their communities, enable people to learn new skills, support people to be kind to themselves and manage their mental health better, meet and make new friends, build their confidence and help people cope with and manage change, anxiety and uncertainty.

          Two strands of ActivLives are involved with the project ActivSports and ActivGardens. The gardens are a great way for people to connect with nature, conservation and the environment, learn new skills, build confidence and meet and make new friends.

           

          Enjoy a lovely relaxing tour with Lesley at the People’s Community Garden, located at IBC Maidenhall Allotments in Ipswich. Meet some of our staff and volunteers who help nurture and maintain the gardens and grow fresh produce and plants for the local community. For more information contact our main office on 01473 345350.

          ActivLives is now gradually and safely re-opening our activity sessions, where we can. We are following strict hygiene and Government Guidelines and providing Covid-secure environments for people to re-connect with friends and their weekly activities.

          ActivLives Newsletter – October 2020

          ActivLives Newsletter – October 2020

          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!

          ActivGardens

          Updates from the People’s Community Garden – Beverly

          We have been very busy keeping our gardens going right through lockdown and now gradually reopening our services and projects. 

          We continued to grow vegetables to support our local community and other charities with a reduced team of four key volunteers and a member of staff, joined by other regular volunteers and Grow Your Future learners as time progressed. We planted every bed at the garden to ensure plenty of crops throughout summer, autumn and into winter.  

          During lockdown, we encouraged local children to create pictures for us in return for a sunflower plant. The pictures have been displayed on our blackboards for everyone to see.  We created a lockdown cress-growing activity for children missing school, and met families who were pleased to find fresh vegetables grown locally. They continue to return weekly to buy our delicious produce.

          The Bee Team have continued to inspect the hives and keep the bees happy. Project Officer Beverly and Grow Your Future learners have joined sessions to learn how to care for their needs.  Others have booked viewing sessions to learn what it takes to set up in beekeeping. Our bees have provided us with around 90 jars of honey this season, which flies out the door!

          This year has been particularly difficult with regards to the heat and the bug population.  We have discovered new ways to treat our crops suffering from black fly and aphid invasions: we sprayed them with washing up liquid and water, that didn’t work. We sprayed them with vinegar and water – that worked! We placed foil at the base and rubbed the stems with orange peel – for good measure.

          Our key volunteers and staff have found the garden and allotment to be a sanctuary during the crisis.  We are now managing a new normal, with strict measures on social distancing, hand-washing, and wiping surfaces and tools.  Our volunteers are glad to be socialising again after long periods of isolation, and our projects are reopening bit by bit. 

          Meanwhile in Sudbury…

          During lockdown, our wonderful Sudbury volunteers have kept in touch with each other to provide practical and emotional support. 

          Bev kept in touch with volunteers regularly by telephone and asked them to share photographs of their own gardens during lockdown.   

          We started back on the 2nd July with a socially distanced cuppa before getting to work sprucing up the borders with new perennials, provided by Sudbury in Bloom, and Geranium cared for at Chantry Walled Garden.

            Thank you to ActivGardens key workers during lockdown and into the new normal

            People’s Community Garden volunteers and Grow Your Future learners kept the gardens and allotments tidy and well stocked with vegetable plants and flowers in preparation for a return to the new normal.

            Our beekeepers continued to work with the bees on a weekly basis – with new recruit, Grow Your Future learner James – to keep the bees healthy and produce our delicious honey.

            A special thanks to our amazing mentor Barry, who has many decades of experience and has been endlessly kind in providing equipment and live queens.

            At Chantry Walled Garden, the lockdown team potted up thousands of plants for Ipswich parks and green spaces, to keep everyone’s spirits up, while helping make up orders for our new online plant sales venture.

            Sudbury Belle Vue Park volunteers looked after each other by keeping in touch to reduce the feeling of isolation. Volunteer Julia visited others and brought shopping for them.  From June, the volunteers tended the gardens independently, using  their own tools.

            All about James – Grow Your Future learner, beekeeper, chef, volunteer

            James joined us as a Grow Your Future learner in February – with a keen interest in nature conservation and wildlife.  He soon volunteered to support the beekeepers. He has grown in confidence every week to the extent he can check through a hive himself – quite a task with thousands of bees buzzing about.

            • He has completed his Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene for and assists in our CRESS kitchen, helping to process honey and make preserves using our fruit and vegetables.
            • He is now a regular volunteer as we support him to find employment.

            Patients Bloom on Mental Health Wards

            ActivLives project with patients Woodlands mental health unit at Ipswich Hospital had to be put on hold during lockdown.

            We spent the next few weeks making films so people on the wards could enjoy a virtual tour of the gardens and beekeeping project.

            But in September, following strict Covid-19 protocol, ‘Bridging the Gap’ Project Officer Lesley went back to visit older people in the Woodlands wards to engage them in therapeutic gardening activities to promote mental and physical well-being through doing something active, positive and creative in a small group.

            Participants have planted perennials, decorated pots and made therapeutic floating flower bowls.

            Participants have said:

            • “It’s fun. It’s being with people and having a laugh.”
            • “The leaf activity helped me concentrate.”
            • “The floating flower bowl helps me get up in the morning because I want to see them outside.”

            Lesley says: “It promotes conversation, and aids in balance and dexterity, for example, scooping compost into a pot.”

            “The courtyard where we do our activities was very dull. But we have planted it full of colour, and there are edible herbs in the raised bed.”

            “Some people have just enjoyed having flowers beside them.”

            Staff have benefited from the sessions too – finding it easier to assess patients when they are involved in something active.

              Chantry Walled Garden knock-down Plant Sale!

              As Autumn sets in, and the soil becomes more workable, it’s time to stock up your borders.

              We still have lots of lovely good-sized perennials priced at £3 each or less.

              Soon our glasshouses will be blooming with winter-flowering pansies, viola, primrose and Polyanthus in all colours for your pots, planters and borders.

              Take a look at our online catalogue and please put in your order.

              Alternatively, come and share the wonderful uplifting sight and scent and pick your own plants. Bedding will be available mid-October onwards.

              We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am until 2pm. Please note – our usual access is under repair. Please call Susannah on 07530 407302 on Tuesdays and Thursdays for directions or to place an order for pick-up. ActivLives office: 01473 345350

              How about an ActivSheds bird table or hedgehog home to help wildlife through the winter?

              Our merry band of shedders have been busy making all sorts of wooden items for wildlife.

              ActivSheds offer not just standard bird boxes – we have sparrow terraces to encourage these cheeky chappies (in sad decline) to our gardens and green spaces, alongside bat boxes, bird feeders and bird tables.

              Our hedgehog homes provide a cosy hibernation shelter for our prickly friends, and we make tortoise homes to order too! We have made a cat cottage and a mini Suffolk barn, and we have some restored some chicken coops for sale too.

              For your home, garden or workshop, we sell garden trugs and planters, obelisks to support plants, tool holders so you can keep everything nice and tidy, bread boards lovingly decorated.

              We also renovate garden furniture and have a beautiful bench for sale.

                Please get in touch to find out more. We can make up orders as per your specifications. By buying from us, you will be supporting our projects to help people learn skills, boost their health and stay connected in these very challenging times.

                • We now run sessions on Thursday mornings 9.30am to 12 for men who need a level of support to join in.
                • Women’s sessions and mixed gender sessions run on Thursday afternoons 1pm to 3.30pm.
                • To find out more or book a session, please contact Susannah on 07530 407302 susannah@activlives.org.uk or call ActivLives on 01473 345350

                Sign up to the next ‘Grow Your Future’ programme NOW!

                If you are looking for a new direction – how about taking part in a FREE outdoor-based learning programme at ActivGardens? ‘Grow Your Future’ will enable you to learn new skills and gain confidence on your way to further opportunities.

                More info can be found here: activlives.org.uk/activgardens/grow-your-future

                ActivGardens plans for safe Christmas Market

                Christmas is not cancelled at ActivGardens! We are bringing our wonderful array of produce, crafts and gifts to you – but this year at the community garden so we can keep safe in the open air.

                The event will be held on Friday 4th December, from 10am to 1pm at our lovely site on Maidenhall Allotments.

                Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, we will need to limit numbers of people on site, and manage the site safely, so please be patient if you have to wait for admission at the garden gate (on the laneway between Halifax and Wherstead roads). Alternatively, please get in touch to book a slot – especially if you are coming in a bubble/ group (of no more than six people please).

                Come along to pick up some freshly harvested winter produce or lovely own-grown plants. Make up a hamper of delicious garden-made jams, chutneys and pickles. Choose a wooden gift from ActivSheds. There will be Christmas wreaths, crafts and much more to browse – all made by our volunteers and learners.

                We will also be serving seasonal refreshments so you can enjoy a socially distanced chat with your friends and get to know other people in the community.

                • Please park at the CRESS Pavilion, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE or on surrounding roads.
                • For information and bookings, please get in touch with Susannah on 07530 407302 susannah@activlives.org.uk or call ActivLives on 01473 345350.

                ActivIpswich

                Still keeping active through lockdown

                As with every other area of life, our Inclusive Sport programme at ActivLives has obviously been heavily affected by Covid-19, all of our regular sports groups having been suspended since mid-March.

                Despite this we have been able to support a number of our participants and members to get back to physical (and social) activity over the summer period with the Activ Out & About Project. This programme, which started in July, has focussed upon offering Covid-19 compliant outdoor exercise opportunities including chair-based exercise in the garden, walks in local green spaces and parks and outdoor badminton and boccia. We are very grateful to Active Suffolk and Sport England for their support for this initiative.

                We are planning for a phased return to our indoor sports sessions over the autumn. We are taking a gradual approach to this in full compliance with the range of Covid-19 regulations from venues, sports governing bodies, Sport England and the UK Government. Badminton and Boccia are likely to be the first of our regular activities to return indoors.

                Please do keep a check on our website for updates regarding returning activities. If you would like any more information regarding our inclusive sports programme, please contact Mike on 07531 236442 or email at mike@activlives.org.uk

                ActivHubs

                Step by Step Better Balance sessions start to re-open after 6 month lockdown.

                On 8 September ActivLives welcomed back members to the Rushmere Better Balance session at the Rushemere Village Hall in Ipswich. Sessions are Covid secure with 2 meter spaced chairs, lots of hand sanitizing, face masks and social distancing safety measures in place. Everybody looked different with their face masks on and it was a lot quieter than usual, until they took them off to exercise.

                Members stated that it was difficult to exercise through lockdown and so hadn’t really done much since March, so the session was a gentle introduction to the weekly Better Balance exercise. 

                Del Keeble, Step by Step OTAGO Co-ordinator said “Exercises that were easy a few months ago were suddenly more difficult.  Members were saying that they were using muscles that they hadn’t used in six months. However, as the class progressed everyone started to feel better and by the end had smiles on their faces. Many commented it was nice to see the group again and that they would have an afternoon kip”

                Members said that they felt safe with the “new” layout and all the safety measures in place and were looking forward to gradually regaining their fitness over the coming months.

                To be even safer, ActivLives decided to split the Rushmere session in two to enable members to have even more space between each other.

                Other Better Balance and ActivSteps sessions have opened as well, at Walton in Felixstowe and ActivSteps, which was previously held in Whitehouse has now moved to a new venue Castle Hill Community Centre.

                Although the focus, at the moment, is re-engaging current members and volunteers, if anyone is interested in joining an ActivLives activity or wants to volunteer with the organisation, please let us know. We can take your details and keep you posted when places become available, as the sessions re-open.

                Please call 01473 345350 for more information or visit our website to see all the activities we provide.