Starting a new project can be daunting at any time, let alone during a global pandemic. But that’s not stopped Sonia Carty, project coordinator for Wirral’s We Are Undefeatable programme.
Thanks to funding from Sport England in October 2019 the programme, which seeks to empower those with long term health conditions to get active, was set to begin face-to-face support with residents across the borough in the New Year, but Coronavirus had other ideas…
Despite the challenges that social distancing and other restrictions have brought, the programme has been running for four months out of its 12-month schedule. But Sonia needs your help! Could you volunteer to be a We Are Undefeatable Ambassador?
What is We Are Undefeatable?
We Are Undefeatable, supported by 16 leading health and social care charities, aims to inspire and support people living with health conditions to build physical activity into their lives, in a way that their condition allows, and to celebrate every victory big or small.
Locally, the project supports Wirral residents to begin their journey of exercise/activity.
Sonia said: “We take time to find an activity that suits the individual as this is most likely to lead to behaviour and lifestyle change in the longer term. It’s really about finding what works for each person, rather than a prescribed form of activity.
“We Are Undefeatable empowers these individuals to protect their health and lifestyle proactively, while also reducing social isolation and combatting loneliness.”
Why is it important?
1 in 5 Wirral residents is living with a long-term health condition and according to research, people in this group are twice as likely to be inactive.
Sonia said: “Being active can help to manage so many long-term conditions such as depression and type-2 diabetes; it reduces the risk of developing some illnesses by up to 40% and can delay the onset of and reduce the severity of many health issues.
“I’ve had people contact me saying that lockdown has really affected their activity, and ‘the less I do, the less I want to do’ – which is so normal, so common.
“But after just a few weeks engaging with the programme, they’re more active, healthier, happier and more motivated in their daily lives. It’s more than just physical health, it can improve the whole package.”
How can you get involved?
Currently the project has engaged with dozens of residents across Wirral, delivering support via video chat, telephone and online. As We Are Undefeatable grows, support from Wirral communities and individuals volunteering as Ambassadors could enable the project to reach more individuals who could benefit from this outreach.
Sonia said: “Things are going from strength to strength and my concern now is getting a big enough volunteer team behind me to deliver the support and guidance to those individuals we’ve connected with.
“All these people are part of our community and 'Neighbourhood' so they deserve for us to do our best by them.”
The role of a We Are Undefeatable Ambassador is to provide support, empathy and inspiration. This might be through talking on the phone with those on the programme to explain how things will work during and after lockdown and COVID-19 or attending an exercise class or classes with them when the time is right and restrictions ease further.
For some it may be a long time since they’ve attended a leisure centre so an Ambassador is on hand to provide guidance and encouragement along the way. Help is accessible both mentally via confidence boosting phone calls or physically by being there in person to talk to or attend a class with.
Sonia continued: “We’ve seen residents rally around support for our NHS during the pandemic to help protect our most vulnerable. I would love to see the people of Wirral supporting We Are Undefeatable, volunteering if they have some time to spare and helping to improve confidence and activity in others who need that extra boost!”
Sonia said: “Our team are here to help, we understand that how you feel can change from day to day, and sometimes that can make moving feel like more of a challenge.
“That is perfectly okay, you can start small, ultimately, being active is about finding what works for you.
“As we are being asked to stay at home more than usual, it is more important than ever to stay active. Our team can work with you on helping you be active during this time.”
- If you live with a long term health condition and would like more support to be active, or become an ambassador, join the We Are Undefeatable programme by contacting project lead Sonia Carty by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07795 813196.
- Lines are open from 10am to 2pm, you can leave a message outside of those times for a callback.
- You can also follow the programme updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.