Spotlight on…Saheli Hub
This ‘Spotlight on…’ blog series is aimed at shining a light on some of the 70+ partner organisations that are making the #BrumTogether campaign possible.
Next up on the spotlight list, is Saheli Hub:
Q. What do you do?
A. We’re a registered charity that was formerly known as Saheli Women’s Group, and we are celebrating 21 years of service this year.
The hub was created following a feasibility study that was carried out in 1998. The study showed there was demand for a women’s centre run by and for women in Balsall Heath, who wanted to take part in health and fitness-related activities as they felt excluded from the mainstream leisure centre provision.
Over the decades, we’ve engaged BAME women with physical activity and sport (running, cycling, swimming, Zumba, pilates, yoga and so much more) and run a very successful GP referral scheme. We’ve also provided local women with the training and development to lead their own sessions and groups.
We currently work in Balsall Heath, Handsworth and Saltley Wellbeing Centres and three GP surgeries, referring patients onto health and wellbeing services.
We’re funded through our partnership with The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) and the Sport England Active Communities programme to deliver our Holistic Interventions programme, working with GPs and their vulnerable, isolated patients and those least likely to participate in physical activity. We encourage them to join our physical and social clubs including Talking Art, Crochet & Chai and Knit & Natter. Supporting our service users to develop friendships and to feel connected to their local community is key to improving their health and wellbeing. Over 50% of those who joined our social groups moved into physical activity sessions.
Q. How are you helping #BrumTogether?
A. We’ve been working in partnership with TAWS for over five years and were delivering over 52 of outdoor and indoor physical activity sessions a week before Covid-19. We recognised we could not risk the health and safety of our service users after the Coronavirus outbreak and so paused our sessions following social distancing measures. However, it was clear that for many of our service users, we were the only way of keeping fit and healthy, helping them to manage their long-term health conditions, and stay emotionally and socially connected to each other. We recognised we were needed more than ever during the lockdown.
Alongside TAWS, we’ve been working on the befriending service and have been contacting all of our service users. We’ve been checking in with them to see how they are and if they have access to all of the information they need or require help and support, such as food parcels, guidance on Covid-19, staying healthy, or how to get financial assistance.
We’ve remained in contact with many of our participants through TAWS’ Virtual Wellbeing Pillar and have been posting videos twice a day via WhatsApp groups to encourage them all to stay active through yoga, African dance, growing, crocheting, cooking, baking and even nail art. We are also planning a week of ‘mindfulness’ via Zoom meetings to encourage everyone to discuss how they’re feeling and discover how to meditate, alleviate stress and switch off.
Q. Are you doing anything else to help people in Birmingham?
A. Yes, we’re encouraging volunteers to help with food distribution and to help pack and deliver food parcels for those in need.
We’re planning to look at how we can keep those who’ve reconnected with us engaged, especially those who have discovered/joined us during the lockdown. We are also looking at how we can support those who have started to participate with us but are housebound and won’t be able to come into their Wellbeing Centre when restrictions are gradually lifted.