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Show and tell: Erasing the Monday blues in Nottingham

The third Monday of January is awarded the title ‘Blue Monday’. Why? It’s the combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. Perhaps you’ve taken up a New Year resolution and are finding it tricky to stick to the rules. Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is making waves in supporting people to feel happier and healthier. Here, we share some of the programme’s useful learning, funded by Spirit of 2012.

Faces of women involved in Nottingham walking netballIf you’re involved in GOGA, you’ll know the way it makes you feel. You’ll be able to shout about it. Results show it’s having a positive impact on people’s lives and we’re delighted to be rolling it out across the UK. We don’t want to keep the learning to ourselves – if we share it, we share the happiness too. That's why we've started Show and Tell

The location:

GOGA Nottingham has excelled in getting more people active in their location. We look at their success.

Walking netball began in the City following a partnership between England Netball and the Nottingham team. Now, week after week, the fantastic participants bring it alive!

The story:

Nottingham wanted to provide more inclusive activity where disabled and non-disabled people take part together. But it needed to be activities that the community felt were right for them. Something they could call their own.

A community activator from Nottingham City Council scoped out ideas. Conversations began with the Muslim Community Organisation (MCO) Centre in Sneinton. They were keen to engage more people from a range of different communities into their centre. Walking netball seemed the perfect answer.

The numbers:

Since the sessions began in April 2018, more than 34 women have taken part. This includes 15, who stated having either an impairment or a long-term health condition.

The recipe for success:

It quickly became clear that these sessions were more than the numbers taking part. The success is a combination of delivery and a welcoming atmosphere. Ruth Pickthorn, delivering the sessions, and her values for community inclusion. Then, the participants, who go out of their way to welcome everyone to the session.

Each week the session is sandwiched between a cup of tea, some biscuits and a natter. That’s before they even make it on court. This creates an immediately obvious friendly environment. It’s welcoming to new and regular participants. There is a huge breadth in the participant’s ages and abilities. Women in their 50s play and laugh alongside women in their 80s. It rings true to the GOGA principles of being active together.  

The participants:

One of the session’s regulars is GOGA Volunteer Asmita Nathwani. She is a wheelchair user and never thought she’d find herself at a walking netball session. But she is loving her weekly trip to MCO.

Other regulars include women living with dementia and their carers. The carers are incorporated into the session with the support and encouragement of other participants. They happily make small but effective adaptations. This may include lowering the pole to allow more chance of making that all important goal.

The activity reached a new height in March 2019. GOGA funded three participants to complete England Netball’s walking netball host course. Two participants from MCO and one participant from a newly established session within the north of the city.

Now these women are trained, they are fully engaged as session leaders. They are able to run sessions for the community within the community.

That’s a testament to both their ability and unfaltering passion as participants!

The future:

The walking netball sessions in Nottingham are here to stay. The MCO session are fully sustained by the volunteers themselves. Plus, new sessions happening at Mellish Sports Centre in the City. The MCO learning will support with the setting up. The aim is for the Mellish sessions to also be sustainable through volunteer involvement.

The team has also developed a deliverer network. Here learning can be shared and disseminated to others in Nottingham. This will develop to support the wider GOGA network within time.

Get involved in the show and tell campaign. Use #GetOutGetActive on Twitter to share your learning.