Hackney mental health program nominated for London Sport Award

Core Arts’ groundbreaking work in Homerton and the wider Hackney community has been recognized by being nominated for a London Sport Award.

The London Sport Awards, in collaboration with the City of London Corporation, are the largest celebration of grassroots physical activity and sport in the city. They recognize, celebrate and shed light on the unhealthy community whose unique work helps Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.

The Core Arts program, led by Gareth Jones, has been nominated for The Community Impact Award in collaboration with GameDay.

Core Arts works with people suffering from mental health issues and encourages them to enjoy physical activity and socialize with others.

The program has been recognized for its efforts during the pandemic, where it switched to online tuition six days a week, ensuring members were able to stay active, socialize and receive support.

And Jones, 37, said: “Our role in society is really important. We are a place where people come to get support, but also to be active and be around other people on a daily basis.

“The last 18 months have been a very difficult period for everyone. There was a lot of learning across the board about how we could keep in touch with the members and keep our interactions going.

“Many people were not aware that they would be able to stay engaged through all the different lockdown periods we had. To help them understand how to use the technology, in some cases to download a particular app on their phone, meant they were connected.

“It was really important that we could keep in touch with our members. It’s hard to say what the impact would have been if we had not provided the services we had, but I think it’s safe to say that our members would have had a really hard time.

β€œThe periods of isolation that many of us all faced during the shutdown periods were really tough, but making sure we were there was the first step forward.

“It is incredible to be recognized. We are incredibly proud of how we have been able to come together and continue to support our members and the wider community. ”

London Sport supports physical activity and sport on the grassroots and the local community and uses the London Sport Awards to share inspiring stories across the city to encourage more people to get active.

Gary Wood is one of those who has benefited from the programs run by Core Arts and is now volunteering to help and support others.

After suffering from depression for 30 years, Wood credits the program for boosting his self-confidence.

The 50-year-old, who wants to find out if Core Arts is a winner at an eagerly awaited awards ceremony at the historic Guildhall on December 6, said: “Physical exercise also connects with mental health, that’s how it has helped me. I came here for the first time in 2010 and since then I have been a regular guest.I have really enjoyed it and have been volunteering since 2015.

β€œWhen I first came here, I thought I would never be able to volunteer as I did not have that much confidence, but now I have gotten a lot better.

“I get a little focus from it. It’s something that makes me feel better, so I feel able to do it. It gives me responsibility and makes my brain work better. ”

The London Sport Awards, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, focus on the unsung heroes of society who help Londoners of all backgrounds enjoy the benefits of physical activity and sport. Find out more about pricing and how London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world at http://www.londonsport.org #MakeYourMark

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