Active Lancashire provides an additional £208k to support minority groups in Preston and the rest of the county

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Active Lancashire will allocate the funds to community organisations, sports and activity clubs working with underrepresented groups, negatively affected by the pandemic, including people with disabilities, long-term health problems, underprivileged children and ethnically diverse communities.

The funding came following a subsequent bid by Active Lancashire for Sport England’s Together Fund (formally Tackling Inequalities Fund), which was established in April 2020 to help the physical activity sector through the coronavirus crisis.

Prior to the new funding, Active Lancashire has already received £352,000, supporting 98 community organizations across the county, including the Preston-based Pukar Disability resource centre, Preston United Youth Development, Preston Muslim Forum, Deepdale Community Association, and other groups in the city .

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The “mother group” of Preston United Youth Development, which has already benefited from funding from Active Lancashire.

Omar Khan of Preston United Youth Development said: “The impact of COVID-19 on our community has been immense, with the highest number of people losing their lives. Responsibilities were intensified for women who saw family members arriving with Covid, children going to home school and incomes declining due to lockdown.

“The Together Fund provided online respite for our ‘mother group’. They participated in virtual walks, ski challenges and fitness sessions. After the lockdown, the fund helped them participate in swimming, yoga, trampolining, cycling, boxing and football. They were also invited to take penalties at Preston North End. The funding boosted the group’s confidence and allowed them to share their experiences and guide each other through the trauma of losing family members.”

Adrian Leather, Chief Executive of Active Lancashire, commented: “The Together Fund is making a big difference to the lives of people in Lancashire who need it. Participating in regular activities and sports sessions has so many positive benefits, it keeps people connected and supports the health and well-being of people from all walks of life. This funding ensures that this remains accessible to everyone.”

In the future, Active Lancashire also plans, in partnership with Spring Into Action, to provide training to help coaches become more inclusive for those with learning disabilities; engage leaders from ethnically diverse communities to promote healthier living; and providing grants to give children in deprived areas access to swimming lessons during school holidays.

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