Six Town Housing is a Housing Management Association, looking after approximately 7500 of Bury Council’s properties in Bury. Not only do they manage rent and maintain estates, they invest time and thought into ensuring their tenants and staff are healthy, happy and given real opportunities to reach their full potential.
Having informal conversations and through social media forums, staff began to recognise the need to provide facilities and services for young women in two geographical areas on the Borough. There was an appetite for a club or exercise class but lack of confidence and knowledge of what was available seemed to be a barrier.
Six Town Housing partnered up with Street Shakers, a local sports and training provider, and successfully secured Sport England funding through a programme called “Sportivate”. This money was used to facilitate a Boxing session in Victoria Youth Centre and Tottington Sports Hall. An eight week programme was delivered to females encouraging young women to come and try something new.
Many of the participants had either not exercised since leaving school or some had just never got round to joining an activity despite best intentions. Six Town Housing Staff promoted the sessions in local community forums, via Twitter and Facebook and through the Community Development Team connections. In total, 31 residents of Tottington and Whitefield attended the sessions over the eight weeks. 9 women and girls have since joined a local boxing club and all of the participants have been signposted to existing sessions in other sports or activities. Street Shakers are doing further consultation with others to determine what future projects that could be developed.
Maria Worthington, Business Manager for Neighbourhoods said “We are keen to embrace new ways and ideas to enhance the wellbeing of our tenants and I am delighted with the outcomes of this project. To keep momentum, we have provided additional funding for 6 tenants to gain a qualification in Sports Leadership, enabling them to carry on hosting sport sessions within youth clubs and neighbourhood groups.”
Inspired by some ‘I Will If You Will’ female participants, the staff at Six Town Housing decided it was time the lads got back involved with sport. Adam Greenhalgh, Business Manager for Tenancy Management, championed the programme inviting those males who had “fallen out of football” over the years due to family, work or life circumstances, to reconnect with the beautiful game.
GreaterSport provided a small grant to help with purchasing basic kit and to pay for facilities hire. Adam also invited colleagues from other partner agencies to get involved and it wasn’t long before they got enough players to form a team. The lads play once a week currently but aim to increase this and create a second team as interest grows. They have entered a local 5 a side league and are keen to encourage more men to join them.
Immy Anwar is one of the team members who got involved. “I have been wanting to lose some weight and get fitter for a while but couldn’t get into a routine. When the opportunity to play football with some work mates at a time that suits me came along, I was pleased. It meant I could commit and I regained my motivation. Since getting back to football, I have lost 31 kg. I am feeling fitter and healthier and my energy levels are higher at work and at home.”
Emirates Old Trafford are sponsoring the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2019 Greater Mannchester Sports Awards.