25th November 2022
Angela Arnold from Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP presenting the award to Freedom Leisure Healthy Communities Brighton & Hove. Picture by snapitnow.co.uk
"We have been able to keep the majority of our activities at low cost," says Inclusion & Diversity award winners
Freedom Leisure Healthy Communities Brighton & Hove has won this year’s Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Inclusion & Diversity Award at the Sussex Sports Awards.
The team has had an unrelenting focus on inclusion and diversity during the past 12 months, focusing on supporting women and girls, people living with disabilities and special educational needs and low income families.
It has worked strategically to form partnerships in the city to firstly understand the needs of the people at the heart of inclusion and diversity and secondly to create the environment and activity to support these people to become active.
Carrie Reynold from Freedom Leisure said:
“We have been struggling recently during covid and the energy crisis, but we have tried our very best to find partners and new ways of working in Brighton and Hove.
“Working with partners and organisations like Active Sussex, we have been able to keep the majority of our activities at low cost, which has been really important.
“But what we found out with all the activities we have provided is that ongoing support, mentorship, the social angles, what we provide around those activities rather than just providing the activity has been so incredibly important.
“Without that team we would not have won this award.”
Alongside working with partners, the team launched a 20-week pilot programme to engage women who wanted to be more active.
In total, 36 different women took part in the pilot, with noticeable improvements in both physical and mental health.
This led to an instructor completing the EMD UK / This Girl Can training and the session becoming a permanent feature in the class timetable.
Another focus has been on the perinatal journey for parents and how physical activity is a pivotal part of this, delivering pre and post-natal fitness sessions.
They also organised a baby Expo event at the King Alfred, attracting 180 people, bringing together organisations across the city which support expectant and new families.
Another project was funding inclusive multi-sports day at Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre.
Darryl Keech, area manager from Freedom Leisure, said:
“A parent of two children with disabilities approached the team to express the shared difficulty amongst families in finding appropriate activity for children with disabilities, particularly after COVID.
“The team worked with AMAZE, PAC and Active Sussex to access seed funding to initiate inclusive multi-sports days.
“Over 50 different families engaged with this activity, and the team have worked further with participants to initiate disability inclusive public swimming and deaf friendly swimming lessons, as well as inclusive badminton sessions.”
With partners, the team has developed an annual wellbeing fair at Moulsecoomb to support low income families, alongside low cost activity being delivered out of all sites in the city.
This, alongside projects to support the LGBTQ community, refugees and others, has seen 7,500 people take part in focus activities.