Women Today is a society where Black African Women in Tees Valley are empowered and enjoy their rights and are aware of all the services and help that are around them with support from whole communities so as to walk in the fullness of their potential. one of our objectives is identifying and researching issues that are unique to Black African Women and leasing with policy making to address their needs and aspirations. Working with other agencies to develop supported pathways for Black African women and actively promoting and encouraging mutual respect, inclusion and equality within and between communities. Developing partnerships and networks of individuals and agencies, locally, nationally to support, educate, encourage Black African women towards self-empowerment. Establishing information, service and polices in relation to Black African Women's needs and holding services and policy makers to account where there are gaps.
The project will engage the Black/African community in the Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees areas, targeting women and girls who are overweight through leading sedentary lifestyles and struggling to integrate into English society, feeling marginalised and disengaged. These women/girls are physically inactive having a poor understanding of what local services exist to become physically active.
To address these issues our project will work with partners to deliver a weekend programme bringing together over 70 women/girls (14+) to participate in sport/fitness activities. We will also train 5 volunteers with a sports qualification to enable these women/girls to sustain their participation levels post funding.
As part of the meetings we have held meetings and the engagement events/coffee mornings we will deliver the following;
•Exercise, physical activity and sport programme would be delivered alongside healthy eating which provides links into the community e.g. we will deliver a nutrition seminar to help educate them. This will be funded by ourselves. A senior dietician in the NHS will also provide support and advice (in-kind) on how to eat healthily and the importance of being active whilst becoming involved in the community.
•Sessions will be women/girls only.
•The exercise/physical activity and sport activities will vary but based on feedback will be wide ranging to meet demand. Therefore there will be a range of multi-sports including yoga, dance, swimming, martial arts, badminton, netball, boccia, jogging, Zumba, Bowls etc
•Participants will take part in the programme for 48-weeks
•Sessions will start at an introductory pace to build the confidence of the females
•There will be 2 sessions per week, one on a Saturday morning and the other a Sunday afternoon
•The majority of sessions will take place at North Ormesby Community Centre & the TAD Centre in North Ormesby due to high attendance levels and positive reputation in the Teesside Black/African community. They have good indoor and outdoor facilities, well-located and easily accessible. Some activities will also take place at the Live Well Centre and Eston Leisure Centre where good partnerships had been developed. Prices for hire have be negotiated at a reduced rate.
•Sessions will be delivered by experienced external sessional coaches/Instructors who will also provide support to encourage those that lack the confidence to participate. ‘Everyone Active’ who operate the local leisure centres have also said they could provide fitness trainers if they could promote their leisure centre memberships e.g. they have agreed to offer casual gym visits and free taster sessions
•The most effective methods to engage the Black/African community is via the church. We will use this method alongside a future engagement event/coffee morning, posters, leaflets, our website, social media and word of mouth
•A number of local sports clubs/groups, Eston Leisure Centre and Everyone Active, will support this programme given the (relatively) low number of participants from the BME community. This will allow females to continue their participation.
•A community celebration event to be held in partnership with the church to get people involved and to stay involved in the project
•The church plans to train up 4/5 of their existing volunteers/workers (and more should there be the interest) in delivering sport, exercise and wellbeing activities. This will provide them with the necessary skills to enable them to assist with the delivery of the sporting sessions and ensure there is sustainability after the funding ends. It will also create local female role models for other females to look up to and learn from.
What will happen after this project ends?
By delivering this project we will overcome some of the issues, concerns and barriers currently experienced by Black/African women/girls supporting their change in behaviours so they continue in sport/physical activity either through the continuation of these sessions or through sporting/physical activities outside this project (or both) once the project ends. For example, by bringing participants together they will develop relationships/friendships that will support this positive change, leading to increased self-confidence that will contribute to increased physical activity levels and less sedentary behaviours
Other ways in which the project will be supported and sustained when the funding includes;
•Introducing a small charge. Statistically people from BAME groups tend to earn less than their white counterparts, therefore, sessions will start off being free, but towards the end of the project when they have developed a ‘habit’ for continuing them a small fee of £2 will be charged.
•Eston Leisure Centre have provisionally agreed to offer free taster sessions to members of the black/African community in order to help them build confidence in attending sessions. This support will be offered during the project and beyond to enable these women/girls to continue exercising.
•Acorn Centre who operate a wide range of clubs, groups and activities and have offered to attend our sessions in order to build a relationship with these women/girls, and will invite them to taster sessions to continue their participation in sport/physical activity.
•Victory christian Center International Church plan to train up 3/4 of their existing volunteers/workers as coaches/leaders via entry level coaching/leadership qualifications that will help to continue the sustainability of the funded sessions when the funding ends. The church has also agreed that the venue will be made available free of charge after the project has finished to continue these activities if the project is a success. In addition, they have agreed that the equipment purchased/loaned can be stored in the church cupboard and be used for future sessions beyond the life of the funded element of the project.
•During the project we will deliver healthy living messages through nutrition seminars and a dietitian that will provide the participants with the knowledge to make more informed decisions in relation to their health going forwards.
•Raising funds to support future session by fundraising through ourselves and the church either through collections or donations to cover any shortfall in costs.
•Towards the end of funded project a community celebration event will be held in partnership with the other organisations to get people involved and to stay involved in the project.