We strive to continue in supporting residents across the county living in ethnically diverse communities to access and enjoy opportunities for physical activity. To do this, we have made the decision that all Tackling Inequalities Phase 2 funding received from Sport England in August of last year would be allocated to Essex organisations supporting ethnically diverse communities. So far, we have worked alongside and funded 25 organisations and groups, with 1497 people benefitting, in an effort to tackle racial inequalities in physical activity participation.
A project we are proud to support is the Ghana Union Harlow, who have developed a physical activity project from a health check they have organised for the members of the Ghanaian community. Via their health check, Ghana Union Harlow have identified underlying health conditions within the community, such as hypertension, high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea, that can be alleviated by physical activity. Following the health check, the Union carry out their project every week with 200 families. They guide sessions including a mix of Zumba, health walks, exercise classes and football sessions – all appealing to different sections of the community. The project also includes health screenings after 3 months and at 6 months to show progress and to continue member’s motivation during and after the funded period ends.
Another project is the Over 50’s Black Men Forum in Chelmsford, first initiated to support those feeling the major impacts that self-isolating, shielding, redundancy and furlough due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their members’ mental health. Active Essex have supported this project, which included wellbeing walks as well as online exercise sessions, improving both physical and mental wellbeing.
We will continue to work with these organisations and commit to working with further organisations who can support ethnically diverse communities to become physically active.
To address the racial inequalities within leadership positions in the Sport sector, Active Essex became early adopters of the Race Equality Code in January 2021. The Race Equality Code and its accountability framework has been developed by The Governance Forum to provide organisations across all sectors of all sizes, with the opportunity to address race inequality in the boardroom and in senior leadership teams.
Since January, Active Essex have worked with The Governance Forum through a robust assessment against the Code’s requirements. Active Essex has now received our RACE Action Plan which will be embedded into the organisation’s ongoing improvement journey. The aim is for this to become a golden thread through the organisation, creating sustainable and lasting improvements to achieve a truly diverse board and organisational senior leadership team.
Jason Fergus, Director of Active Essex commented: “”Active Essex are committed to tackling racial inequality in the sport and physical activity sector. It’s great to see collectively, Active Partnerships standing together to proactively tackle the racial inequalities that prevent or discourage people from leading active lives. Active Essex have begun to take positive steps and are fully ready to set the scene for change.”
We are honoured to continue to support and fund the fantastic work taking place in our community at the forefront of this commitment. Active Essex sees an important role in leading from the front and championing for our stakeholders to also address race inequality in this way.