Enable2 bring much-needed exercise to East Rotherham women

17 Jan 2019

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The community in Eastwood is one of the most deprived areas in Rotherham, with massive health inequalities and nearly half of its residents from the Roma community. In March 2017, the LGA statistics for Health and Wellbeing within Rotherham stated: “Rotherham East has the lowest life expectancy rate within Rotherham for men and the second lowest for women. It has the highest proportion of non-English speakers and the second highest number of BME people.”


Enable2’s expertise is in working with multicultural communities to be able to identify the types of projects that will improve lives. So we wanted to do something to support the Eastwood community in their need for better health. We decided to partner with the Clifton Learning Partnership who organise and deliver a mixture of community programmes from a community building known as Zone 1, to fund a healthy exercise project.


Helen Littlewood, Director at Clifton Learning Partnership explains more about the initiative: “Thank you to Enable2 for funding this project to provide fitness and friendship activities for women, in a women only environment. The sessions ran for 1.5 hours with one hour of fitness and half an hour of conversation and refreshment. We ran 12 sessions in two blocks of six, with a break through the summer holidays. The sessions were run by a qualified female trainer and supported by our own dual language staff. Our dual language staff worked hard to engage and recruit women and maintain their interest as well as support them throughout the sessions. There was no expectation that women had to change into sports gear, allowing British Pakistani Muslim women to attend and those who were reluctant to engage in fitness activities in traditional sports settings.”

The informal fitness sessions were attended by women of all ethnicities but largely by Roma and British Pakistani women, and some white British women. This also meant that the sessions enabled women to meet who would not traditionally come into contact with each other. As well as addressing community cohesion, the sessions also supported individual health needs and combatted isolation. Older women from BME groups were engaged, who are typically the most difficult group to engage, particularly in activities health and fitness-related.  

The sessions engaged an average of ten women per session with really positive feedback across the board. Women said that the sessions had improved their sleep, reduced their feelings of isolation and anxiety. In addition they had made new friends and felt stronger and had more energy. The women said:

“It’s better than exercise – we have a laugh too! I have made new friends.”

“I cancel other appointments so that I can come to this.”

“It has made me more flexible.”

“It is very convenient at the centre. I wouldn’t go to a sports centre. I wouldn’t feel that it was for people like me. I feel safe here.”


Enable2 were delighted to have helped on a project that engaged exactly those who were hardest to reach and therefore could benefit the most from the activities.