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Active Nottingham leisure centre awarded top marks on ‘Quest’ for excellence

Active Nottingham’s Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its facilities and services, recognising high quality within UK Sport and Leisure.

It joins Djanogly Community Leisure Centre at the top of the rankings for 2022 – another site run by Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council.

An industry standard developed by the UK Sports Council, Quest assessors look at a range of factors including operational management and approaches to engaging with customers through to community outcomes. Taking place over a two-day on-site assessment and a mystery shopper visit, the overall process ensures a thorough review takes place and provides assurances a quality service is being provided to residents.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m thrilled Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its performance and management on the latest Quest Assessment. This is a testament to the incredible work and dedication of our front-line staff delivering best practice and the highest industry standard for the benefit of Nottingham residents using the centre.”

Ken Martin Leisure Centre General Manager, Kirsty Worthington, said: “Thank you to everyone at Ken Martin Leisure Centre and the wider Sport and Leisure teams for their assistance and support during the Quest preparation as well as the recent two-day assessment. It’s brilliant news for us all that we were rated as ‘Excellent’ as it highlights the hard work that is put into Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The hard work does not stop here, we will continue to assess, reflect and progress the site and the services we offer to Nottingham residents and customers. Great job everyone!”.

Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been externally assessed and achieved Quest Plus - Excellent. This certificate expires in July 2024. Image includes Quest logo, Sport England Logo.

For more information about Quest, visit: https://www.questaward.org/ 

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre, and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Take a virtual tour of Active Nottingham without leaving your house!

A NEW virtual tour promoting the facilities of six leisure centres in Nottingham has been launched by Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council.

The online tool not only allows users to see inside each Active Nottingham leisure centre but also view spaces from 360-degree angles. During the tour, potential members can gain virtual access to the facilities and visit each building from the comfort of their mobile device or computer.

Virtual Tour Image - Harvey Hadden Sports Village Gym

Active Nottingham is much more than just a ‘gym’ with indoor swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms and a range of exercise classes, there is something for everyone and the new virtual tour allows potential members to explore the layout and details prior to arrival.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said:

“I’m delighted Active Nottingham have launched their virtual tours, especially as they provide flexibility for potential members as well as those who may not be comfortable with having an in-person tour and want the freedom to view the leisure centres at their leisure.

“The tours also offer valuable information for service users wanting to understand access arrangements, where the changing rooms are, where specific rooms are for classes etc.

“Nottingham residents will benefit greatly from these tours and I hope they will inspire more people to get active.”

For more information and to view the new Active Nottingham Nottingham virtual tours, visit https://www.activenottingham.com/virtual-tour/

In-person tours are still available and can be booked by visiting www.activenottingham.com/enquire

Virtual Tour Image - Victoria Leisure Centre Swimming Pool

Can this brown gal swim? The final day!

It’s the final day of Summaya’s challenge and the Brown Gal Can’t Swim podcast and if you’ve stuck with us this far, you’ll have heard Summaya talking about why she is learning to swim at 27, changing rooms within swimming facilities, modesty and swimwear, plus why you should learn to swim given the apparent dangers with water.

Summaya stands in the swimming pool with water, looking up and talking to swimming teacher Victoria (who is stood at the side of the swimming pool)

Summaya (in water) and Nottingham Swim School Teacher, Victoria (right)

Spoiler Alert!

Now, if you’ve not listened to the final day of the podcast series, then below are some spoilers!

Let’s rewind to a cold, wet and windy day in Nottingham and a team of supporters (plus some open water swimmers) headed to Spring Lakes to watch Summaya take on her final task – a 500m open water swim.

Spring Lakes

Spring Lakes

Summaya is putting on a brave face as she mentally prepares for the swim and kindly snaps some images with our team and is interviewed by the BBC. She’s compiled a Brown Gal Can’t Swim playlist for everyone to listen to as she counts down the time before she gets into the cold lake.

As it nears 4 pm, the nerves are kicking in – it is a miserable day weather-wise, she’s paranoid about the swans and ducks plus a lot of emotions are racing through her mind – however, her swim coaches are here (Nottingham Swim School teacher Victoria Charles and Her Spirit’s Mel Berry), plus Olympian Alice Dearing providing words of calm, encouragement and advice as she prepares to get into the water. As she pops back into the changing room for a pep talk with her brother, she decides she needs a moment alone, saying: “(I’m) feeling really nervous….I’ve got butterflies….but I’m feeling ready – let’s do this”.

Right before she gets in the water, she listens to Ella Henderson’s Ghost to help calm her.

Summaya, wearing her wetsuit, floation device and headphones, being interviewed by the BBC

Summaya, listening to Ella Henderson Ghost.

The time is now 4:15 pm and Summaya begins her swim, taking it in her stride, like a duck to water! She swims the first 200m using a variety of strokes and is looking strong, but then stops and it looks as though she might be struggling….. But after a few words of encouragement and advice from the boat (with one of her coaches, Mel Berry, who is following), she powers on.

All the while Summaya is in the water, there are groups of swimmers also in the lake. They join her for the last push – providing an open water swim supporter group! Everyone is on the bank cheering and shouting to Summaya for the home stretch and the sound is deafening!

Summaya is being interviewed by the BBC and a camera crew stands in front of her as she emerges from the lake

Summaya, emerging victorious from Spring Lakes

At 4:39 pm, 24 minutes after she started the swim Summaya has done it! Summaya has swam 500m in open water after only learning how to swim 8 weeks ago – what an amazing achievement.

As she leaves the water, she tells the crowd (who have now gathered) “That felt like a lot. It was really really hard….eight weeks ago I literally couldn’t swim and today I’ve managed to do 500m in open water. If I can do it, and I could not swim at all, then anyone can do it! no matter how embarrassed you might feel about not having a (swimming) skill, it could save your life. with the right support and the right people around you, you can make it happen”.

Summaya, just finished the 500m open water swim, stands with her coat on, looking up and chatting to Rob Green

Summaya and Rob Green

Can this Brown Gal Swim? She sure can and she did an incredible job! To listen to the Brown Gal Can’t Swim series in full, click here.


Get Out Get Active Nottingham has been honoured to work alongside Active Nottingham in supporting Summaya Mughal’s Brown Gal Can’t Swim campaign. The values of the project of supporting more people to be more active and overcoming the barriers faced to being active perfectly aligns with the campaign’s ambitions to address the lack of South Asian and other ethnic minority swimmers in our pools across the country.

Swimming is a fantastic activity for people of all ages and all abilities, including people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, that has multiple benefits both for our physical and mental wellbeing. However, for many who have never learnt to swim, or who have anxieties about accessing a pool, it can feel really overwhelming and can prevent people not only from accessing swimming pools but also from gaining the vital life skill of swimming and being safe in the water.

Through the GOGA project, we have worked on a number of swimming initiatives such as the development of our Swim for Health programme across the six Active Nottingham pools which provides a public swim in a quieter setting with the support of flotation aids within the pool and other supportive equipment such as gradual steps.

However we know that often the biggest barrier can often be overcoming the mental and emotional barriers and that’s why we are so inspired by the work of Summaya and her Brown Gal Can’t Swim campaign and it’s endeavour to break down the stigma around learning to swim or accessing support to enjoy swimming and we are proud to have been a partner, alongside Active Nottingham, in this work.

Well done Summaya!

Summaya, pictured left, and Claudia (Get Out Get Active Nottingham) pictured right after the 500m open water swim

Summaya (left) and Claudia from Get Out Get Active Nottingham (right) celebrating the 500m swim


If you’ve been inspired to take up swimming, get in touch with Nottingham Swim School today and see how we can help you on your own swim journey.

October Half Term holiday activities

Need some entertainment during the school holidays this October?

We have lots of fun activities on offer across our Active Nottingham leisure centres. See below what is happening:

Clifton Leisure Centre: 17-28 October 2022

Swimming

Pre-booking is required for both the Swim for Fun and Swim for Fun with Flume sessions. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance via the Active Nottingham app or here. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.

Little Treasures Soft Play

A two-story play frame packed full of challenges for your child. Pirates and princesses can explore the Octopus lair and the fun hanging features of the biff snakes – a unique and challenging under-the-sea adventure. Suitable for toddlers as well as children, with different designated areas to keep everyone on the hunt for treasure!

Little Treasures is open Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm and weekends from 9am – 3pm.

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance via the Active Nottingham app or here. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.

Birthday Parties

Don’t forget, Clifton has recently upgraded its party room to make your child’s birthday extra special. They have a range of children’s party packages available, perfect for any celebrations you might be having.


Ken Martin Leisure Centre: 

Pool Parties

Join us by the pool this half-term and dream of sunnier climates. Come along to Ken Martin and enjoy music by the pool and splash about with our inflatables.

When are the pool parties? Every weekday during the October half-term – 17 – 28 October 2022. Session times:

Swimming: Tuesday 18 to Friday 28 October 2022

Pre-booking is required for both the pool party and Swim for Fun sessions. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance via the Active Nottingham app or here. So grab your swimming clothes, get booking and we’ll see you by the pool. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.


Harvey Hadden Sports Village: 17 – 28 October 2022

Pool Parties

Join us by the pool this October Half Term with friends and family and splash about with our pool inflatables.

When are the pool parties? Monday to Friday, between 17 and 28 October. Session times:

Week commencing 17 October 2022:

Monday 17 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
Tuesday 18 October
Pool depth - 0.96m
Wednesday 19 October
Pool depth - 0.96m
Thursday 20 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
Friday 21 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
1.15-2.15pm1.30-2.30pm1.30-2.30pm1.15-2.15pm9.30-10.30am
2.30-3.30pm2.30-3.30pm2.30-3.30pm2.30-3.30pm10.30-11.30am
11.30-12.30pm
1-2pm
2-3pm

Week commencing 24 October 2022:

Monday 24 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
Tuesday 25 October
Pool depth - 0.96m
Wednesday 26 October
Pool depth - 0.96m
Thursday 27 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
Friday 28 October
Pool depth - 1.24m
9.30-10.30am1.30-2.30pm1.30-2.30pm1.15-2.15pm9.30-10.30am
10.30-11.30am2.30-3.30pm2.30-3.30pm2.30-3.30pm10.30-11.30am
11.30-12.30pm11.30-12.30pm
1-2pm1-2pm
2-3pm2-3pm

Rollerblading

Rollerblading is a fun activity for both children and adults to enjoy. Over time it will help to develop agility, balance, coordination and speed. Rollerblades and safety equipment will be provided – but feel free to bring your own rollerblades if you have them!

Currently available at Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Cycle Circuit every Tuesday.

Pre-booking is required for all pool parties and rollerblading sessions. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance via the Active Nottingham app or here. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.


Southglade Leisure Centre: 17 – 28 October 2022

Hunter the giant inflatable is floating in the pool at Southglade Leisure Centre

Pool Parties

Join us by the pool this October half-term with friends and family and splash about with our inflatables.

When are the pool parties? Every Tuesday and Thursday, between 17 and 28 October. Session times:

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.

Swim for Fun with Flume

A great way to work on your swimming skills whilst enjoying our great flume ride! (Height restrictions apply – 1.2meters minimum, single riders only).

When are the Swim for Fun with Flume sessions? Session times are listed below, including Pool Party times:

Monday 17 & 24 OctoberTuesday 18 & 25 OctoberWednesday 19 & 26 OctoberThursday 20 & 27 October Friday 21 & 28 October
1.15-2.15pm
Swim for Fun with Flume
10.30-11.30am
Swim for Fun with Flume
10.30-11.30am
Swim for Fun with Flume
1.15-2.15pm
Pool Party
1.15-2.15pm
Swim for Fun with Flume
2.30-3.30pm
Swim for Fun with Flume
1.15-2.15pm
Pool Party
1.15-2.15pm
Swim for Fun with Flume
2.30-3.30pm
Pool Party
2.30-3.30pm
Swim for Fun with Flume
2.30-3.30pm
Pool Party
2.30-3.30pm
Swim for Fun with Flume

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.


Victoria Leisure Centre: 17 – 28 October 2022

Join friends and family at Victoria Leisure Centre this October Half Term with their Swim for Fun sessions.

Monday 17 & 24 OctoberTuesday 18 & 25 OctoberWednesday 19 & 26 OctoberFriday 28 October
12.15-1.15pm
Swim for Fun (small pool)
1.30-2.30pm
Swim for Fun (main pool)
9.30-10.30am
Swim for Fun (small pool)
10-11am
Swim for Fun (small pool)
1.30-2.30pm
Swim for Fun (main pool)

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.


Djanogly Community Leisure Centre: 17 – 30 October 2022

Join friends and family at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre this October Half Term for their Swim for Fun, Swim for All and Splash About sessions.

Mondays 17 & 24 OctoberTuesday 18 & 25 OctoberWednesday 19 & 26 OctoberThursday 20 & 27 OctoberFriday 21 & 28 October Saturday 22 & 29 OctoberSunday 23 & 30 October
10-11am,
2.30-3.15pm
Swim for All
8.15-9am,
10-10.45am,
2.30-3.15pm,
4.15-5pm
Swim for All
1.30-2.15pm
Swim for Fun
1.30-2.15pm
Swim for Fun
8.15-9am,
2.30-3.15pm,
6-7pm
Swim for All
2.15-3pm
Swim for Fun
1-1.45pm
Swim for Fun
1.30-2.15pm
Swim for Fun
11-11.45am,
1.30-2.15pm
Swim for Fun
2.30-3.15pm
Swim for All
8.15-9.15am,
2.30-3.15pm,
5.45-6.45pm,
Swim for All
1.30-2.15pm
Swim for Fun
3-3.45pm
Swim for All
2-2.45pm
Swim for All
10-10.45am
Splash About

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.


Booking and times:

For Little Treasures, please visit Clifton Leisure Centre or call 0115 876 1600 to book.

*Activities per site may vary and are subject to availability. Pre-booking required. Timings are subject to change without prior notice. Please ensure you check the Active Nottingham app or timetable in advance for the most up-to-date timings.

Brown Gal Can’t Swim: City Council helps BBC presenter to get South Asian women swimming

Summaya Mughal (left) and Alice Dearing (right). Image: Charlie Firth

Nottingham-born BBC presenter Summaya Mughal has been learning to swim at Active Nottingham pools in a bid to encourage other South Asian women to take the plunge.

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has supported her during her journey which she starts sharing on air this week. Her five-part series looks into learning to swim at the age of 27 and explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.

In revealing that she couldn’t swim, Summaya exposed the cultural barriers that she faced and how it has affected her both physically and mentally. As part of this journey, Summaya has given other members of the South Asian community the confidence to take their first steps into swimming.

As a result of her campaign, Summaya was honoured at the Nottingham Awards 2022 last week for her work in the Voluntary and Community Sector. Meanwhile, Active Nottingham, Nottingham Swim School and the council’s school swimming department have been honoured at the recent Swim England Teaching and Education Awards.

The series titled ‘Brown Gal Can’t Swim’ sees Summaya learn to swim in just eight weeks at Active Nottingham swimming pools, supported by Nottingham Swim School swimming teacher Victoria Charles. Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing also provide support and guidance and set Summaya additional challenges including a 500m open water swim – will she do it? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of this project with Summaya and the BBC to help raise awareness and showcase the importance of learning to swim within South Asian communities. This campaign will go a long way to help break down barriers that people face when it comes to swimwear, changing rooms, and going swimming itself and help get more communities involved in swimming.

“Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are proud to have helped Summaya learn to swim over the past eight weeks and it was great to see her face the 500m open water challenge at Spring Lakes.

“Summaya has also worked with the black swimming association to challenge the lack of representation of black and Asian people in both recreational and elite swimming – she also engaged with Olympic swimmers Becky Adlington and Alice Dearing in her campaign, who both set her challenges for Summaya to complete.

Her work with diverse communities is second to none, both engaging as well as empowering!”

The Brown Gal Can’t Swim podcast is available on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/p0ctzgft It will also be broadcast as a series on BBC East Midlands Today from Tuesday 11 October 2022.

Summaya at Southglade Leisure Centre. Image: Charlie Firth 

Importance of learning to swim

Swim Teacher Denise, teaching a Pre-school class in the swimming pool
Swimming is the only sport which could save your life and is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children especially, enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. It’s also important to remember children (and adults) who appear to be confident in the water are not always competent swimmers.

Reasons why you should learn to swim

A group of children look up out of the water with swimming aids under their arms

According to Swim England:

Learning to swim is a skill for life and is rarely forgotten, swimming doesn’t care about age either making it an accessible sport for all.

Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are one of the largest swimming lesson providers in Nottingham. Learn to Swim today and make a lifelong difference, enquire here.

Brown Gal Can’t Swim: Summaya Mughal aims to get South Asian women swimming

Summaya and Alice sit crossed legged on the swimming pool (dryside) floor. The pool and steps leading into the pool is behind them.. Image cred: Charlie Firth

Left to Right: Summaya Mughal and Alice Dearing. Image: Charlie Firth

Nottingham-born and raised Summaya Mughal, a BBC presenter and podcaster for BBC Radio Sounds and Radio Leicester is presenting a five-part series which explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.

The series, Brown Gal Can’t Swim (BGCS), will see Summaya take on swimming challenges set by Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing. She said: “I’ve spent over 20 years embarrassed about not having a skill it feels like kids have”.

Breaking down barriers and misconceptions

Statistics from Swim England show people from black and Asian backgrounds are less likely to swim than those from white communities, with 49% of black and Asian communities unable to swim 25m unaided.

Summaya aims to break down misconceptions about swimming and encourage members of the South Asian community to get behind her campaign and learn to swim.

About the journey itself, Summaya says: “It has tested me physically and emotionally but I’m hoping it makes a difference and encourages others to learn to swim too. After all, it could save your life.”

As part of the BGCS project Summaya is challenged to swim 50m in a swimming pool by Rebecca Adlington and 500m in open water by Alice Dearing in just eight weeks – will she do it? Keep listening to the BGCS podcast daily from Monday 10 October 2022.

Listen to Episode One of Summaya’s podcast here.

Importance of learning to swim

Did you know swimming is the only sport which could save your life, according to Swim England.

Swimming is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children, especially, who enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. Check out our blog for the importance of learning to swim, you can read it here.

Good luck with the campaign Summaya, Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School is proud to work with you on this project and we all look forward to seeing more about it in the next few days!

Active Nottingham named finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022

Swim School Teaching and Education Awards 2022 Logo

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, is delighted to have been named by Swim England as 2022 Awards Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.

They have been shortlisted in two categories:

Deborah Williams was awarded ‘Runner Up’ for Swimming Teacher of the Year after being nominated by Nottingham Swim School parents and students from Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and Southglade Leisure Centre.

Deborah Williams

Additionally, Nottingham City Council’s School Swimming department came away with School Swimming Provider of the Year for the second year in a row.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 in two categories. This is an incredible achievement to all the team for their incredibly hard yet rewarding work.

“Well done to Deborah Williams for achieving ‘Runner Up’ in the Swimming Teacher of the Year category. Deborah should be very proud of her achievement, as should all who were nominated.

“Congratulations also to our Nottingham City Council colleagues for winning School Swimming Provider of the Year for a second year in a row, with special thanks to School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores – well deserved.”

Nottingham Swim School Manager, Claire Sullivan, said “We’re pleased Nottingham Swim School was nominated for Swim School of the Year, alongside many of our Nottingham Swim School teachers in the Swim Teacher of the Year category.

“As a City Council delivering both school swimming (during the daytime) and Nottingham Swim School (Monday-Friday 4-6.30 pm and weekends) we are committed to teaching as many children and young people in our City to swim and to learn this vital life skill.”

Nottingham City Council School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores, said “Thank you to the Sport and Leisure teams at Active Nottingham for providing us such a fabulous learning environment for school pupils to learn new and essential life skills. How we pull together from collaboration to delivery is a real team effort, and the Swim Teachers should be very proud of the recognition of all their hard work.”

The Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 took place in Solihull on Thursday 28 September and gave Swim England the chance to honour the very best of the swimming workforce within the UK. It’s a chance to highlight the innovations and achievements of the best educators, swimming teachers, tutors and swim schools within the sport and recognise their success.

Nottingham Swim School Logo

For a full list of winners and finalists please visit: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/swim-england-news/

For more information on Nottingham Swim School visit www.activenottingham.com/swim-school

Nottingham Swim School operates swimming lessons at six Active Nottingham leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre

National Fitness Day 2022

3 people stretching and smiling. National Fitness Day logo and #FitnessUnitesUs

To celebrate National Fitness Day we’ve put together some challenges for you to have a go at when visiting Active Nottingham.

HIIT Workout

Individual Medley Swimming Challenge

 

Let your name pick your workout

Try this for pot luck and let your name determine your workout today

Your name spells out what workouts you're doing this week

 Arm Workout

Whatever you plan to do to get active this National Fitness Day, we’ve plenty to keep you moving and motivated in our 6 Active Nottingham Leisure Centres!

Share your Fitness Day snaps with us on Facebook or Instagram!

From Group Fitness to Swim School

Meet Elidia, Group Fitness Instructor for Active Nottingham and now Swim School Teacher for Nottingham Swim School (part of Active Nottingham). We recently caught up with Elidia to find out about her fitness journey and what led her to become a Swim School Teacher.

Hi Elidia, thanks for catching up with us today. So…how did you get into the fitness industry?

I was originally training in the gym as a customer/service user and during that time frame, I worked in the nursery for Nottingham Nursery in Radford. I thought, being in the nursery industry I’ll always have a job, but sadly, it didn’t work out for me and I was made redundant.

I thought to myself, well I love gym training and doing fitness classes, why don’t I train to become a fitness instructor – that way I can still do my fitness and work in the gym. I completed all my required training and passed, turns out I never ended up working in the gym and jumped on fitness classes. I’m overwhelmed at how much I’ve progressed from working in a nursery to where I am now as a Swim Teacher!

How long have you worked in the fitness industry and what is your favourite class to teach?

About four years, which has gone so quick! I would definitely say Group Cycling is my favourite class to teach – which I do at Southglade but also do cover work.

I need to try Group Cycling (said in disbelief they’ve just said that – haha)

Yes, you do Carrie. Group cycling is good fun. Come along, it’s great for all abilities as we offer beginner classes and intermediate. All of my classes are designed to get your heart pumping, have fun and improve your skills. Group cycling is amazing for balance, stamina, speed and rhythm as you have to keep in time to the music – I will push you, but it’s for your benefit!

What other classes do you run?

Aqua Fit – which is literally for everyone of all ages and abilities. I also teach ladies-only aqua fit classes on a Sunday morning at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre (nice plug, we see what you did there). I have my vision and what music I’ll play in each class. I don’t want to keep my classes the same every week so I will play about with the routine and mix it up, so it doesn’t become same-old same-old. Keeps everyone on their toes! I’m also a stickler for time-keeping and starting on time so it’s fair to everyone in the class.

Also teach H.I.I.T, Circuits, Stretch and Tone (I like Stretch and Tone). I cover a lot of classes too.

You’ve done the different group fitness classes for a number of years now, what was the main reason for you wanting to become a Swim Teacher?

I was told many years ago, but the ladies I worked with in the nursery, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket”. I thought I’ve worked with children (in the nursery), so I thought I could marry the two elements together (as I also do Aqua Fit classes) and put all my skills together and become a Swim School Teacher so I can give back what I’ve learnt to teach children and help them progress.

Did you find it hard doing your Swim Teacher training?

It wasn’t easy, I found it intense (especially with still teaching group fitness classes) but at the same time my dad passed away so had a lot of emotions to cope with. I can’t believe that I’ve actually passed my Swim Teacher qualifications as I thought I was going to give up. But I believe my dad was watching over me, pushing me to complete and I’m glad I continued with it all as it’s been really rewarding. Ever time I found myself not wanting to continue with it, I would push myself more and write more lesson plans to keep focused. Nottingham City Council and the rest of the team in Active Nottingham has been so supportive and encouraging.

Would you recommend becoming a Swim Teacher?

Yes I would. I’m loving it, I’m loving this – I should have done it years ago!!!!

I hear you’ve now received your certificates now to show you’re fully qualified and raring to go.

Yessss! I have, I have received them. I have my first induction today and tomorrow and then I can start on the programme in September. I saw all the different people teaching Aqua Babies and thought yes I could do that, then they also explained you can progress with coaching and perhaps (one day) we can coach swimming for the Olympics. So I’ve gone from thinking I’ll be teaching Aqua Babies but wow, I could also do some coaching too! The opportunities with training to be a Nottingham Swim School teacher are incredible.

What’s your plan over the next few years now?

Hopefully, I can continue to teach swim school with the different age groups (including adults as well) but I’d love to coach and also become a mentor! But teaching aqua babies I’m looking forward to that, as that’s where you can build a child’s water confidence and from there they can progress through the different stages and get their different hats.

For those that aren’t aware, as people progress through the different swim school stages with Nottingham Swim School they will receive a new hat to correspond with the new stage that they’re in. Similar to different coloured belts in Judo, Karate etc. 

Thank you for your time. It’s been great hearing about your fitness journey. You’ve gone full circle from just working out in the gym to now Swim School Teacher/Group Fitness Instructor. 

If you’d like to find out more about Nottingham Swim School swimming lessons, visit www.activenottingham.com/swim-school/ 

 

 

 

Stretches you can do at your desk

If you’re sitting down all day in an office, you might be sacrificing your effectiveness when working out or even putting yourself at risk of injury. Continuous sitting affects certain muscles, which then tighten up over time, becoming stiff and affecting your posture and making some movements harder when working out (and in everyday life).

There is good news, you can avoid this by doing quick and easy stretches. Take a few moments out from your desk (ideally every hour if you’re not getting up and moving your body) to perform some stretches – the best bit, you can do them from your desk.

Neck Stretch

Side Stretch

2 mature women and 1 mature man are seated and performing a seated stretch, with their arms and body leaning to one side.

Hamstring Stretch

Back Stretch

Perfect if your lower back is feeling tight when you’re sitting at your desk.

Upper Back Stretch

Man sat at a desk, arms reaching out in a stretch with his arms in front of him

After practising these exercises, it’s important to try and create a quick office-desk stretch routine you can do daily. It should only take 3-5 minutes and is a great way at breaking up the day and doing something good for your body.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Muslim women in a sports hijab does exercises, planks, push ups in a gym

Is there a better time of day to work out?


Are you a morning or evening person? Some people find it easier to exercise in the morning as their energy levels are at their highest, others prefer to wait until the evening as it fits better with their daily life.The time of day we choose to workout will depend on many things – ultimately it needs to fit in with everything in our lives. It needs to fit around work, studies, family and other commitments. We also need to choose times best suited to our bodies and our natural energy levels. The best time to exercise is down to us, working out whenever we can and being consistent.There are some benefits to exercising at certain times of the day, take a look below.

Morning workouts:

Important: if exercising in the morning don’t forget to sufficiently warm up. Your muscles and joints tend to be “colder” when you have just woken up and are more prone to injury.

Afternoon/evening workouts:

Regardless of the time of day we exercise, it is still very important to ensure we warm up sufficiently.

Try to find a time to work out that suits your lifestyle – taking all aspects into consideration – but most importantly, a time that you will consistently be able to stick with in the long run.

Man doing press up with kettle bells in a gym

These girls certainly can: Nottingham celebrates women’s successes in sport

Pictured: Mary Earps (England vs Austria). Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Pictured: Mary Earps (England vs Austria). Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Nottingham City Council has shown its support for the England Lionesses with the country’s largest flag on the Council House, and sends them congratulations on their historic win against Germany yesterday.

The England team’s incredible 2-1 victory against the eight-time European Champions at a sold-out Wembley is a huge achievement – and sets an example which will inspire girls and women today and for future generations.

Along with Notts-born goalie Mary Earps who played such a vital role throughout the Lionesses’ European Championship campaign including last night’s final, Nottingham/Nottinghamshire has a score of women taking part in the 2022 Commonwealth Games representing Team England, including Olympic silver medallist, Emily Campbell, and we wish them every success during the games.

Women’s sport is very much in the public eye at the minute and Nottingham has been looking to capture that energy. Working alongside a variety of partners such as Sport England, Nottingham Forest Community Trust and British Cycling, the council provides a comprehensive offer for women to take part in physical activity, in a way that suits them.

Working on projects such as This Girl Can since 2015, Active Nottingham, part of the City Council, has inspired thousands of women in Nottingham to take part in sports and physical activity. Whether it’s swimming at local leisure centres or women’s cricket sessions in partnership with The Renewal Trust and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, these sessions open up opportunities for girls and women – and could produce the next Euros finalist or Commonwealth Games contender.

Active Nottingham recently brought home two wins at the UK Active Awards and are finalists in the upcoming Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards for the recent This Girl Can Nottingham project (2019-2022). The project will look to return at the end of 2022, celebrating women being active in a variety of different ways.

Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “What an incredible achievement for the Lionesses yesterday – not only for the historic win, but also the huge legacy this will leave for the future of women’s and girls’ sport. We’re hugely proud of them, as well as the local women who are competing on the world stage at the Commonwealth Games. We will continue to promote sporting opportunities for girls and women in Nottingham to help them to reach their potential.”

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “It’s great to see the growth of women’s sport at a national level and what Nottingham is doing to support women at a more local level. To see the Lionesses win the European Championships at a sold-out Wembley would have been unthinkable five years ago and having eight Nottingham women represent England at the Commonwealth Games is a testament to the city’s sporting prowess.

“It’s great to see the effort Active Nottingham is making across the city to ensure that the energy is transferred from the screen to local provision. I’m delighted with the work taking place, and the national awards they have won and are currently finalists in. I look forward to supporting the ongoing effort made to increase the number of women taking part in physical activity.”


Notes to editors

To find out more about This Girl Can Nottingham: visit: https://www.nottsgirlscan.co.uk/

To find out more about getting into Women’s football, visit: https://www.nottinghamshirefa.com/ways-to-play/female

APSE is dedicated to promoting excellence in the delivery of frontline services to local communities around the UK). For more information on the APSE Awards, visit: https://apse.org.uk/index.cfm/apse/news/articles/2022/announcing-the-finalists-of-the-apse-service-awards-2022/

Nottingham/Nottinghamshire-born athletes:

  1. Emily Campbell – Weightlifting: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/emily-campbell
  2. Freya Colbert – Swimming: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/freya-colbert
  3. Sabbie Heesh – Hockey: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/sabbie-heesh
  4. Anna Purchase – Track and Field (Hammer): https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/anna-purchase
  5. Molly Renshaw – Swimming: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/molly-renshaw
  6. Sophie Hahn – Athletics: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/sophie-hahn
  7. Georgia Holt – Cycling: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/georgia-holt
  8. Samantha Harrison: Athletics: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/samantha-harrison
  9. Mary Earps – England football goalkeeper: https://www.englandfootball.com/womens-senior-team/squad/mary-earps

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Active Nottingham leisure centre awarded top marks on ‘Quest’ for excellence

Active Nottingham’s Djanogly Community Leisure Centre (DCLC), part of Nottingham City Council, has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its facilities and services, recognising high quality within UK Sport and Leisure.

An industry standard developed by the UK Sports Council, Quest assessors look at a range of factors including operational management and approaches to engaging with customers through to community outcomes. Taking place over a two-day on-site assessment and a mystery shopper visit the overall process ensures a thorough review takes place and provides assurances we’re providing a quality service to residents.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m really proud of Djanogly Community Leisure Centre being awarded ‘Excellent’ in terms of its performance and management on its latest Quest Assessment. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our front line staff delivering best practice and highest industry standard for the benefit of Nottingham residents using the centre.”

Djanogly Community Leisure Centre General Manager, Tom Nelson, said: “Thank you to all the team at DCLC and the wider Sport and Leisure service for their help and support during the Quest preparation and the two-day assessment. It’s great we were awarded ‘Excellent’, but it doesn’t stop here, we will continue to review, reflect and continually improve the site and the service we offer to residents and customers. Well done everyone and thanks again!”.

For more information about Quest and the award, visit: https://www.questaward.org/ 

Working out in the heat

It might be hot out but we also want you to stay active but safely! So, here are some tips for keeping your cool when working out!

Man drinking a bottle of water and cooling down as he wipes his neck with a towel.

Sunscreen bottle on a towel with the phrase "Don't skip the sunscreen"

How to sport if someone has Heat Exhaustion

Spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion:

To help protect yourself and others is to spot the symptoms of heat stroke, which include:-

  1. A headache
  2. Dizziness or confusion
  3. Excessive sweating
  4. Very thirsty
  5. High temperature
  6. Fast breathing or pulse
  7. Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  8. Cramps

If you notice that someone has signs of heat stroke/exhaustion you should:

 

How to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout

Ensuring we are adequately hydrated when exercising is essential – it is important to not rely on thirst alone to tell us how much to drink.

Man drinking from a large bottle of water.

Benefits of drinking enough fluid:

Here are some tips to follow:

Large sports water bottle with oranges at the base of the bottle and inside the bottle.

Sports Drinks:

Plain water is best for staying hydrated. Sports drinks and diluted fruit juice can be beneficial when taking part in endurance events. They will usually contain some carbohydrates as fuel as well as electrolytes to help replace those lost during longer more intense periods of exercise. As these types of drinks are sometimes costly, you could try making your own. Recipe: Add around 200ml of fruit juice or squash (not sugar-free) to 800ml of water, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.

If the taste is an important factor in helping you drink enough, diluting fruit juices or sports drinks in water is fine – especially if it means you will be keeping yourself well-hydrated.

Although other factors can influence this, a good indicator of whether you are adequately hydrated is monitoring the colour of your urine. It should ideally be a pale yellow colour, not clear.

Staying hydrated when exercising is a very important – yet too often neglected – part of ensuring we feel well and perform our best during physical activity.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Man drinking a bottle of water and cooling down as he wipes his neck with a towel.

Staying Motivated

Have you ever started a fitness regime and then quit? If you answered yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness and wellness programmes but stop when they get bored, aren’t enjoying it or don’t see the results as quickly as they’d hoped. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.

If you ever feel your motivation slipping, review these tips to remind yourself of the ‘why’.

#BeExceptional and let us help you stay motivated. At Active Nottingham you have access to 6 gyms, 6 pools, 6 health suites and over 300 fitness classes. Find out more about our memberships here.

Tips for new starters

To ensure your new fitness journey is successful, here are some tips to help you find your feet (especially if it’s your first time visiting Active Nottingham!).

  1. Find out what services are available – download the Active Nottingham app and have a general nosy around.
  2. Try different things until you find something you enjoy 
  3. Keep track of your training
  4. Don’t worry about what others are doing:
  5. Build up gradually:

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Mindfullness during exercise

Add mindfulness to your workout routine

 

Hands up if you just want to distract yourself when working out? Did you know there are so many benefits of being mindful during exercise, such as:

Not being focussed can impact the sensation of a job well done following a workout. Your workouts become less effective and you begin to rush through your routine. Embracing mindful fitness can help change this, and you might get more out of your workouts than you think.

Benefits of mindfulness during exercise

Zoning out during a workout, such as listening to your favourite playlist and moving your body through an activity you don’t have to think about (such as running or walking) can be meditative, allowing your mind to roam free whilst your body does the work.

But becoming too distracted breaks the connection to what you are actually doing. There is a flow when we are ‘in the moment’ and that provides many benefits:

How to workout with mindfulness

End on a good note

Be sure to remember all the good things about the workout and how good it feels when you’re done. If you can, try and lie down at the end of the workout for relaxation – that is your chance to really feel the effects of your hard work!

Half Term Fun

Keep the kids busy this half term at our 6 leisure centres across Nottingham. 🙌

This half term think swimming, flumes and soft play fun! There’s something for everyone – from tots to teens*.

Swim for Fun

A swimming session for children, young people and families with toys and floats. Particularly suited to young children and families looking to get creative in the pool. All participants must book in for this session. Visit our hints and tips page on how to do this.

Swim for Fun/All with Flume

Available at Clifton Leisure Centre and Southglade Leisure Centre. A great way to work on your swimming skills whilst enjoying our great flume ride!

Our flume ride will have height restrictions. Please check with the leisure centres for the exact height restrictions. All participants must book in for this session. Visit our hints and tips page on how to do this.

Little Treasures Soft Play

A two-story play frame packed full of challenges for your child at Clifton Leisure Centre. Pirates and princesses can explore the Octopus lair and the fun hanging features of the biff snakes – a unique and challenging under-the-sea adventure.

Suitable for toddlers as well as children, with different designated areas to keep everyone on the hunt for treasure!

Booking and times:

To check times and book, click here or alternatively, you can download the Active Nottingham App where you can view, book and cancel activities up to 7 days in advance. For Little Treasures, please visit Clifton Leisure Centre or call 0115 876 1600 to book.

Queens Jubilee Bank Holiday opening hours can be viewed here.

*Activities per site may vary and are subject to availability. Pre-booking required. Please refer to Active Nottingham App or ‘Book an Activity‘ page for up to date times before setting off.

Active Nottingham named as Triple Finalists at the 2022 ukactive Awards

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, are delighted to have been named by ukactive as 2022 Award Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.

They have been shortlisted in three categories – Regional Club of the Year (Harvey Hadden Sports Village), Activation Award (recognising organisations who run events to inspire and encourage people to be more active) and Physical Activity Hero Award (Charmaine Daley with This Girl Can Nottingham).

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “I’m delighted to announce Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the ukactive Awards, in not one but three categories. This is an amazing achievement to all the team for the incredibly hard work they do, not just at our leisure centres, but within the community. I wish them the best of luck at the finals in June.”

Charmaine Daley will go head to head with other finalists in a public vote for the Physical Activity Hero Award. Charmaine has been involved in this Girl Can Nottingham since 2015 and more recently involved as the community motivator role, empowering and inspiring thousands of women to enjoy moving more and falling in love with their bodies through exercise.

Charmaine has a passion for helping those in need by dedicating her time to raising money for good causes through the power of Zumba; including the delivery of ‘Socially Distanced Street Zumba’ with This Girl Can Nottingham at the height of lockdown in Bulwell.

Voting opens on Monday 9 May and closes on 27 May, with the winner announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham on 30 June 2022.

Pictured: Charmaine Daley, Physical Activity Hero Award finalist

ukactive’s annual awards are the most prestigious within the physical activity sector; they recognise facilities, suppliers, operators, educational institutes, health practitioners and large corporations that have demonstrated exceptional standards in driving forward the physical activity agenda.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

For a full list of finalists within each category please visit: https://www.ukactive.com/news/finalists-revealed-for-ukactive-awards-2022/

Physical Activity Hero Award public voting link goes live on Monday 9 May until Friday 27 May 2022: https://www.ukactive.com/ukactive-awards-2022-stage-2-public-vote/

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Active Nottingham leisure centres awarded inclusive fitness initiative mark!

Active Nottingham’s Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre, part of Nottingham City Council, have been awarded the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) Mark for their facilities, joining Ken Martin Leisure Centre in three of eight centres in the East Midlands and the only centres in Nottingham to have this accreditation.

The IFI programme is run by the English Federation of Disability Sport, designed to offer disabled people more choice and opportunities to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) has been established for many years, supporting leisure centres to become more welcoming and accessible environments to disabled people. Facilities across the country have been awarded the IFI Mark Accreditation. It helps leisure facilities to get more disabled people physically active.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “I’m delighted that our efforts, and the on-going work of Active Nottingham has been recognised with the IFI Accreditation. I hope this encourages more disabled people and those with long term health conditions to access the centres and benefit from the facilities that are on offer.”

Clifton Leisure Centre General Manager, Kirsty Worthington, said: “As a team, we are extremely pleased to have maintained the IFI mark for another year at Clifton Leisure Centre.  It’s great to see the Centre recognised for its commitment to providing accessible services for disabled users, we certainly pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and facilities for the community and service users.”

Pictured left to right: Arron, Mandy and Xenia from Clifton Leisure Centre with their IFI Accreditation

Harvey Hadden Sports Village General Manager, Andrew Miller, said: “It’s a great achievement for the team and facility that we have been recognised and awarded the IFI Accreditation for another year. We are proud that through an external assessment process it has been recognised that we provide inclusive high-quality services and facilities to all of our visitors.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The number of centres in Nottingham and East Midlands were correct at the time of writing.

For more information about the IFI programme and the English Federation of Disability Sport visit:

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Carrie checks out Boditrax

I spotted the new Boditrax machine in the gym at Harvey Hadden before going to my Aqua Fit lesson, and thought it was the perfect time to take my scan, before my exercise session.

What is Boditrax I hear you ask?

In simple terms, it looks like a mechanical scale with hand and feet scanners as well as a touch screen. It measures 20 different metrics related to your body to tell you how healthy your body really is.

How do I use Boditrax?

It was such a simple process; in and out of the gym within 2-3 minutes, so it didn’t impact my day or workout session. As it was my first time using the machine, I needed to set up a free account (this is so you can log into the app or the website afterwards and track/view the results). So I added my details and then it told me to take my shoes and socks off and stand on the machine. You follow the pretty simple onscreen instructions and after 30-50 seconds you’re done and you can view your results on the kiosk screen or you can view them when it’s convenient for you as the results are emailed to say it’s captured the scan.

I also downloaded the free Boditrax app, this is pretty important so you can track your results.

Downloading the app

You can download the Boditrax app from the App Store or the Google Play store or via the QR code on the poster on the machine; please note, you need to set up an account via the Boditrax machine before using the app.

What would I use Boditrax for?

If like me you want to track your body weight and muscle mass you have, this is perfect for you. But it doesn’t just do that. See below what else it tracks:

How often should I use Boditrax?

Boditrax recommends using the machine no more than once a week and this is the really important bit – scan yourself prior to exercising, not after and make sure you take your shoes and socks off to get the most accurate reading possible.

Final thoughts?

I loved the information available from the quick scan and can now track my progress and will visibly see the results and know what to target my workouts to. Definitely recommend using the Boditrax machine.

Check in with next month to see how I’m doing with my goals, eek!

***Boditrax machines are available for use at Harvey Hadden Sports Village. It is also available on a roadshow at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre for 3 months, where it will then move to another Active Nottingham leisure centre. Refer to the Boditrax website page for details of when it’ll move next!***

Why do I need swimming goggles?

Swimming goggles are specially designed to allow you to see underwater and to protect the eyes from the chemicals in the water, such as chlorine. Goggles are watertight (if you’ve fitted them correctly) by making an air pocket around the eye and stopping water from getting inside and irrtating the eyes when swimming.

What are the benefits for wearing goggles you ask?

Children and goggles 

If your little one hasn’t worn goggles before, get them to try them on at home for the first time as it’s a familiar environment for them. If you can, try to get them to wear them in the bath or the shower, that’ll help them to realise goggles keep the water out of their eyes. Before you know it, they’ll be dunking their head underwater the next time you’re in the pool!

If you or your little one is learning to swim, Nottingham Swim School students are encouraged to wear swimming goggles when having their lessons (or if you’re taking part in lap or competitive swimming it’s just a good idea).

Don’t delay, pick up some goggles today!

This Girl Can – Samiah’s Story

Introducing – Samiah Haleem

Samiah Haleem is an outstanding ambassador of ‘This Girl Can’ and through the campaign, she has become a pioneering leader in increasing growth and participation in Women & Girls Cricket in The Renewal Trust area in Nottingham.

With the support of This Girl Can Nottingham and The Renewal Trust, Samiah organised a Women’s Cricket softball festival in St Ann’s and was able to attract a total of 85 attendees.

Through weeks of organising and recruiting as many women as she could, Samiah’s hard work paid off. She is now exploring how we can keep these women active.

Background

I am a British Afro-Asian (Indian-Kenyan-Pakistani with a combination of Sikh Punjabi and Turkish ancestry!) Although multi-heritage, now of Islamic faith. I was prematurely born as my mother went for a routine check whilst my father went off to play his cricket match!

My first cricket experience: My father Abdul Haleem Chaudhri and his brother Salahudin Chaudhri strived and formed a cricket club for Asian men. They were key founders/presidents of the Asian Cricket Club in the London borough of Waltham Forest in the early 1970s. Their brother Shakil Chaudhri and cousin Khalid Chaudhri later progressed to captain the team for many years playing in Essex cup leagues and internationally.

 

Passion for cricket

I used to watch hours and days of test cricket matches with my dad when I was young. With the favourite time being World Cup cricket. I understood patterns and band and pretty much became the scoring pundit much to everyone’s annoyance when it was going against us.

A shift in focus at college and university took me away from physical sports with very little free time. The thrill and love for watching T20 developed again and was enjoyed immensely through multiple pregnancies.

Dream big/city programmer activator project

I had heard Ian Dipaola the participation and growth officer on RadioDawn talk about walking cricket, disability cricket and how inclusive cricket is in Nottinghamshire County.

I had then seen an Allstars activator with the children at Trentbridge from the audience in May 2019. I was inspired by seeing an active sporty hijabi participating in cricket in a modest-looking way. As the law of attraction would have it I met Asma Ajaz-Ali two months later face to face via the Muslim community Organisation callout for volunteers.

Ironically at a time when I was experiencing aversion around my hidden disabilities/altered abilities (and not able to make chapattis due to my Asthma), I was lucky to meet all three of my local City Programmes Executives and to get training from Shilly Pancholi and Hina Mistry, who were all really accepting, and encouraging my involvement in the Allstars programme.

They gave me the validation I didn’t even realise I sought at the time. I was invited to a crikitty party at Edgbaston cricket ground, it was fun and liberating being part of the Desi women programme.

I love to skill-share and have run creative education and learning workshops for years. When I got bored of my delivery (pun intended) I became a sublime science presenter and did science parties for children. I was known as ‘Artist Aunty’. They now call me’ cricketwaliaunty’.

I naturally morphed and dived into the deep end and co-led the Allstar sessions in Nov 2019. They were split into 4 weeks of female delivery and 4 weeks of male delivery. Lots of women told me they felt reassured leaving their daughters at a female-led session. My input felt needed. My children helped with setting up and clearing the sessions and picking up the balls for me. Team effort!

I went on to start the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course and attained an ECB level 1 foundation course in coaching in January 2020. I joined a women’s softball session for my own re-development and led a session when the coach could not make it.

Then we were hit with the lockdown. I managed to join the Chai and chat monthly zoom sessions and felt connected. I was also given access to an empowerment course and Microsoft workshops. I requested to shadow the softball sessions at my children’s local cricket club Cavaliers & Carrington where the respected coaches were really welcoming.

As a result of my presence, parents felt confident leaving their girls at the sessions. I am looking forward to having more cricketing experiences with my daughters as well as my son’s IA.

I have become a self-appointed calling card to the programme and have shared the benefits with other ladies as I believe one should “Love for others what you love for yourself” sunnah of prophet Muhammad saw pbuh.

I have invited multi-faith groups from my community to have access to the Allstars and Dynamos programme. I am now a recognised community champion in Nottingham City for the Dream Big Desi Women Programme.

We’ve recently done allstars and Dynamos training for the new cohort, and supported a Dynamos session at a school with special guests – Trent Rockets players Katherine Brunt and Abbie Freeborn. The programme has allowed this Desi woman to Dream Big and attend a soft ball tournament at Lord’s! It was exhilarating! I have developed new contacts and shared big moments with the network. It’s been amazing!

In the stars

My connection with cricket is a connection with my memory of my father, he is right there with me every time I do the Abdul Haleem Chaudhri-esque hypnotic mantra ‘Look at the ball. Look at the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. Look at the ball…’

Love you Dad – hope to play cricket with you when we meet in heavenIA🤲🏼🙏🏼🏏

The Oye family of Clifton discover a new talent for Table Tennis!  

Since lockdown was announced in March 2020 the reality for many families has been a lot more time at home and a lot less opportunity to be active. For the Oye family of Clifton, with five energetic children now at home with Mum & Dad, the last few months have been difficult to stay active!   

Thankfully, they were approached by Clifton Community and Family Support Group, a fantastic organisation in Clifton supporting the local community, who were distributing a number of Table Tennis England Activity at Home kits in partnership with the Get Out Get Active Nottingham project.  Oye Family of Clifton

“Get Out Get Active Nottingham has been working with Table Tennis England’s  “Ping” project to distribute 300 Table Tennis Activity at Home kits across Nottingham City and having received theirs, the Oye family turned their kitchen table into a table tennis table and were soon challenging each other to tournaments!

Table Tennis was a breath of fresh air to the family as it was a fun, engaging activity that everyone could enjoy whether they’d tried it before or not. 
For Mum Agnes, it was a relief to have something that could entertain the kids, and get them moving more, in the safety of their own home, on the kitchen table, no less!  

It wasn’t just the kids having fun either, even Mum, who has never tried table tennis before, had a go, making it a great way to bring some more family time into the home.

Table tennis allows people of all ages and abilities to move more, and smile more.   The Partnership between Get Out Get Active Nottingham and Table Tennis England has been fantastic, providing an opportunity to engage families in physical activity in the comfort of their own homes, particularly during this challenging climate.|

We hope the story of the Oye family inspires others to pick up a bat and have a go!  

Find us on Get Out Get Active Nottingham Facebook to see more tips on how to Stay Safe, Stay Active.  

If you’d like to discover your love of Table Tennis like the Oye family you can find a table to play on by visiting the Ping Nottingham page: https://www.pingengland.co.uk/nottingham/ 

Maureen goes back to Ken Martin

Maureen Watts with staff at Ken Martin Leisure CentreWe recently spoke with Maureen Watts about her experience returning to the Leisure centres and a ‘new normal’.  

Maureen who is in her 70’s, has four children, eight grandchildren, one of which had a muted celebration of their 21st birthday in October, and seven great-grandchildren. Until 2016 she was working as a nurse, so she is fully aware of what health and fitness mean for the body and mind.  

When lockdown first began, one of her sons was collecting and delivering food for her. As restrictions continued, she decided she would cautiously venture out to the shops. Fortunately, she is within walking distance of supermarkets, so was able to avoid taking public transport.  

Like most people, she had apprehensions about returning to a new normal and what that looks like.  

Similar to many people, she was doing exercise at home. She was following a Zumba DVD, using resistance bands, and doing some body weight exercises, but she soon realised that she was missing the camaraderie of the classes and the motivation from instructors and other participants. When she heard from a friend that Ken Martin Leisure Centre was reopening, she was excited. When her letter and a text message informing her that the leisure centres were reopening arrived, she couldn’t wait to get back to the classes that she deeply missed.  

A self-confessed technophobe, her son downloaded the Active Nottingham app for her, where she now books classes in advance.  

As with her cautiousness about going to the shops, she also had some nervousness about returning to Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The first change that she noticed was that, before the class starts, people are asked to wait outside and keep 2m distance from each other. You are then called into the class where there is hand gel all over the facilities. Signage indicates to keep left at all times in the building, toilets are one at a time, come dressed ready for your session and bring your own water 

She says the staff couldn’t be any more helpful with explaining things, and remarked “They are forever cleaning and there is a protective screen behind reception.  

For the class itself, you have a boxed off area, which prevents you getting within 2m of each other, this has meant a reduction in the size of the class to 14. You are then asked to wipe down your mat after the session 

Maureen has missed her classes so much, not just for keeping fit but also the social side. She enjoyed mixing with other participants of the classes, just as much as with instructors themselves. She has a great relationship with the instructors, which include Michelle, Vivien, Chantelle, Sharon, Sarah, and Amanda. She attends on average twice a day and is regularly asked advice from other people. She likes that the instructors always adapt classes to people’s needs and give different levels of each exercise. Her favourite classes are Zumba, Body Conditioning and Aerobics. Right now, due to restrictions, no equipment is allowed to be used so classes are based around bodyweight exercises 

She used to have coffee and a catch up with other participants after classes, which she can’t wait to in the future. She still finds time to have a (socially distanced) laugh when waiting for classes to start and maybe too much of a laugh during classes.  

Once we reopen, be sure to pop down to Ken Martin Leisure Centre and our other centres to have as much Covid-secure fun as Maureen is having! 

Since we spoke with Maureen, tier 3 and then lockdown was announced. We caught up with her on the eve of the second lockdown to gather her thoughts and what she was planning to do to keep active.  

As Nottingham entered tier 3, the restrictions meant that indoor exercise classes were no longer permitted. Wanting to get one last session, she made sure she attended her Zumba class on Thursday before saying ‘see you soon’ and not ‘goodbye’. Two days later we found out that there was a national lockdown on the horizon and this sprung Maureen to action.  

As Maureen doesn’t have access to the internet, she has recently refreshed her Zumba DVD selection; buying 3 for £1. Along with this, she is a keen gardener and likes to take long walks. As a believer in “healthy mind – healthy body”, she also keeps up with a regular crossword and word search to keep her busy. 

Claire Henson Blog – Stay Safe, Stay Active, Start Small

Claire Henson

“Hello! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Let me introduce myself, my name is Claire and I am a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor, founder of The Mind Map project and The Anxious Exercise Club and, programme lead for the Tricky to Talk programme at Nottingham Forest Community Trust.

I also live with a long-term anxiety condition which I manage day-to-day. Back in 2015, I had a relapse in my long term anxiety condition, which made leaving my home very difficult. Some days, it took all my strength to walk to the car to be able to go to work, and that did not leave me very productive for the rest of the day! I knew that activity and exercise were good for me and that it would ease the symptoms of my mental ill-health. But the anxious voice in my head was a lot louder when telling me that the outside was scary and there was no point in even trying.

Towards the end of 2015, I became more and more unwell, with long-term pain, muscle stiffness and overwhelming fatigue. I was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given guidance on how to manage my condition and one of the overwhelming pieces of advice was to do more activity. I knew I had to listen to the doctors, but I also still had the anxious voice.

So I made a compromise. I walked to the post box and back. It was about 500 yards and I started doing it once a day. Then I walked to the church just next to the postbox and then onto the bench. Every week, I added a small chunk onto my walk and it didn’t feel unmanageable, even the anxious voice quietened down. I began a circuit each evening, I simply did three or four rounds of the circuit.

Claire's postbox

This simple activity allowed me to rebuild my life. It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a miracle cure. I still live with a long term anxiety condition that I manage each day. But I do experience the benefits of what activity can bring to my life and how it helps me to manage my anxiety.

The reason I am talking about this today is that I am finding myself in a very similar situation as we live in the current lockdown situation. I’ve found exercising very difficult due to fear and anxiety. So I wanted to take some time to talk about getting active whilst living with a mental health condition and whilst living in lockdown.

Today, I went for a small walk.

It took some bargaining with the anxious voice, but I felt able to get up a little earlier and take a few steps outside. It wasn’t about distance or the number of steps I completed, it was about breathing and feeling the sunshine. It was about letting my whole body know that whilst these are extremely frightening times, these few small steps can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us to get through this time.

There is lots of information out there currently about how we can get active in our homes, which is fantastic. But it can also be overwhelming, so I hope this post, and future ones, will let you know you are not alone.”