In recent weeks, Link4Life has continued to support its customers despite the gyms, swimming pools, sports halls, events venues and Touchstones museum and art gallery being closed as part of the government lockdown and restrictions on social distancing.
The charity, working in the heart of the Rochdale borough community to inspire people to live more active, creative and healthy lifestyles, has moved activities online so that customers have access to a variety of resources to help them as we all stay at home.
The free online portal, which can be viewed at link4life.org/at-home, gives lots of ideas for children, adults and older adults. Alongside Link4Life activities and those of their partners, there are also links to some of the great resources available from other organisations to give a range of online workouts, fitness classes, recipes and nutrition, indoor activities, art projects, water safety, virtual tours, online viewing of the boroughs’ artworks collection at Touchstones Rochdale, national theatre broadcasts and mindfulness sessions. There’s also gentle home exercises for older adults and for those managing health conditions such as back pain, and as part of Rochdale Borough Culture Network, the charity has contributed to new creative activity pack which will be available in the coming weeks.
Andy King, Chief Executive of Link4Life said “It’s really important that we continue to support our community as much as possible during this time. Recent research from Sport England shows that adults consider exercise to be more important now than before Coronavirus and believe that it is helping them with their mental health during the outbreak, so we’ve worked to launch alternative ways of providing our health, physical and creative activities so that people have a variety of things to help them to stay busy whilst they are at home. We’re aware that a large number of households are home schooling and it can be difficult to keep children entertained so we’ve included a wide range of activities that families can do together too”.
Following the closure of its facilities, the majority of Link4Life staff have been placed on furlough in line with the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, however a number of the team have been redeployed to support the delivery of front line services.
Working in partnership with Action Together and Rochdale Borough Council, Link4Life staff have been seconded to help to support the most vulnerable in our local communities. Through the Local Response Hubs, staff are providing emergency food parcels, giving assistance with shopping and medicines and providing wellbeing assistance. The #Thrive team are making welfare calls to children and young people who access the service to support their emotional health and wellbeing, and members of the Exercise Referral and Active Living team are making welfare calls to older adults and vulnerable people, typically those with long term health conditions, who usually attend regular sessions at the leisure centres.
The Children and Young People team have been volunteering to deliver PE activities to those children who are still attending school as their parents are keyworkers, and other members of staff have been seconded to residential childcare workers.
Andy King commented “As a charity working at the heart of the community, our team wanted to help as much as they could. Working together with Action Together and Rochdale Borough Council, the Local Response Hubs were set up quickly at the start of lockdown, and everyone has worked together to implement things speedily so that we could support those must vulnerable as quickly as possible. I’m really proud of the work that the whole team has achieved over the last few weeks, and will continue in the coming weeks”.