Virtual Support Service To Help Individuals Presented with Challenges Through The Pandemic to ‘Stay Connected’ Given Go Ahead To Continue

Stay Connected, an inclusive virtual service delivering critical support and physical activity sessions to individuals with long term health conditions across Essex via Zoom, has been given the green light to continue. The service, designed and managed by Sport For Confidence Occupational Therapists and sports coaches will now continue until the end of November 2020.

Thanks to funding by Essex Country Council, the unique programme connects individuals presented with challenges due to the impact of Covid-19 across the county with professional support and advise, delivered by the team of Sport For Confidence, Occupational Therapists. Since launch, the team has conducted more than 3,500 telephone interventions, covering topics relating to the challenges presented by social isolation and occupational disruption such as; how to establish a daily routine; the importance of self-care, healthy eating rest and physical activity; goal setting and alternative ways to engage with family, friends and neighbours.

In addition to the telephone support, Stay Connected has also delivered more than 1,000 physical activity sessions and engaged more than 950 adults across Essex. All sessions are designed and delivered by Sport For Confidence coaches and are tailored to accommodate the bespoke needs of the participants, many of whom would be completely isolated and inactive without this service. Activities are varied and include seated exercise, sing and stretch, multi sports, dance and football skills.

Sport For Confidence is a Community Interest Company that places occupational therapists alongside sports coaches in mainstream leisure venues to deliver inclusive physical activity sessions for those who face barriers to participation. The impact of Covid-19 has affected the daily routine of so many vulnerable adults across the county. This service has ensured vital support has been able to continue.

“Many of our participants are isolated and living with long term health conditions. For them, a return to everyday activities is not yet possible due to the threat to life that the virus poses,” explains Lyndsey Barrett, Occupational Therapist and Founder at Sport For Confidence. “As a result, Stay Connected remains a lifeline for many, providing a means of keeping active whilst isolating and enabling the maintenance of a meaningful connection with the outside world.”

Essex County Council has guaranteed funding to support Stay Connected until the end of November 2020.

Michelle Brown, head of commissioning for adults with learning disabilities and autism at Essex County Council, says: “We are delighted to support this excellent specialist programme. Stay Connected will continue to help adults with learning disabilities and/or autism and other adults who may be isolated and not able to access other support, to remain happy and healthy in their home environment.

“We truly believe physical activity and exercise should be available to everyone and this extension will continue the good work that started earlier in the year.”

For information about the programme and to view the full list of scheduled Zoom physical activity sessions visit www.sportforconfidence.com

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