October is Black History Month, a chance to not just acknowledge the past, but to make a commitment to the future. At Active Essex we strive to support residents across the county living in ethnically diverse communities to access and enjoy physical activity opportunities. A project we are proud to support is Ghana Union in Harlow, who have developed a physical activity project from a health check they organised for members in the Ghanaian community.
Ghana Union Harlow were keen to identify underlying health conditions in their community and how those issues could be alleviated by physical activity. The group have since been able to carry out their project every week with 200 families. Their activity sessions include a mix of Zumba, health walks, exercise walks, exercise, and football sessions – all appealing to different sections of the community.
We caught up with Helen Verrier, Find Your Active Ambassador, and Founder of Ghana Union Harlow to get her thoughts on how Ghana Union is being highlighted during Black History Month and how through physical movement, their community can be brought together. Helen shared; “I’m a naturally upbeat and strong person. I’ve always thought that everything is possible if you believe. We began the physical activities with little idea of how the community would respond, but the responses have been tremendous and well surpassed our expectations.
Along with the accolades and compliments we receive in our sessions about how our project has benefited participants, volunteering and finding your life’s purpose have also truly energised and encouraged me as an ambassador. Others may not always speak, but just seeing them smile speaks volumes and inspires you to arrange and attend every session making sure everyone is having fun and improving their wellbeing at the same time.
Finally, our physical activities are like a family, and when we get together, we can be ourselves, laugh, and be silly all at once without fear of being judged or treated unfairly. I had this in mind when we first started our projects, and it has truly been accomplished. Finally, our partners have always been excellent and professional, which has truly made my job as an ambassador very simple!”
Find Your Active campaign is centred around the importance of physical activity being accessible and inclusive to all. It’s about celebrating the power of physical activity by harnessing community spirit, like Ghana Union. We will continue to work with these groups who can offer support to ethnically diverse communities to become physically active. If you are a member of a group and looking for funding or support, make sure to get into contact with us.