Joe and I recently met Becky and Lucie of YSJActive at their state-of-the-art Sports Centre on Haxby Road.
I didn’t even know the facilities existed and on entering from the road you could be forgiven for thinking that this place is purely a resource for students, but in fact it is an amazing community facility open for all.
Although run by the University, the centre’s remit is very much to bring activities and wellness to a wide variety of specific population groups around the city, many of whom are marginalised.
Take Active Life, Active Mind, for example, a free multi sport club held on Tuesdays specifically for people with dementia and their carers.
The 45 minute session includes table tennis, walking football, Boccia, new age curling and circuits and acts as much as a social get together as a sporting activity. Around noon, the group move on to the excellent cafe facility for tea, coffee and biscuits, where a great atmosphere is enjoyed and there is a chance for a good chat.
Active Life, Active Mind has the capacity to take on many, many more users. With four staff on board and carers joining in, it really is a session ready to open it’s doors.
‘Do you know anyone with dementia who would benefit from a multi sport social session? There are spaces available right now’
Becky, Manager of YSJActive told us how her job had evolved from originally managing the facilities on site to now very much being people and community focused. The University has allowed her to move in a direction she is personally passionate about – dementia support being one of them – and the job satisfaction is really evident.
Both her and Lucie enjoy their roles and love witnessing the difference they make, the happiness and boost in confidence, in all the people that use the site.
Held on the last Friday of every month for £5 you can join the guys from York City Knights to a fish and chip lunch (with all the trimmings) in a sociable and friendly atmosphere. The lunch is open to absolutely anyone, including fans and the older generation.
‘Fish & Chip Friday – A great social, helping to combat loneliness and isolation’
At this stage in our meeting I was already feeling that YSJ Active have found an incredible niche to combat the loneliness that is found all around us today. Not only that, but to ensure people from all walks of life have the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health in a supportive and fun environment. They then went on to tell us about other activities they offered and I have to admit, I was pretty blown away.
In conjunction with Refugee Action York, at the Lord Mayor’s Walk campus every Wednesday from 7pm – 8pm, a multisport session is held for refugee teenagers. A great opportunity to try a different sport each week including tennis, netball and football, and to socialise with one another.
A similar Inclusive Activity Club is held on Saturdays for under 18’s in the Foss Sports Hall. Between 10.15am and 11.45am young people with mental or physical disabilities can try out and participate in a whole host of sports including basketball, cricket and goal ball.
And along with York Mind, Healthy Body and Healthy Mind is a multisport Physical Activity in 8 – 12 week blocks which reconnects adults experiencing mental health issues with sport and physical activity. Referrals are through Converge, a partnership between York St John University and the mental health service providers in York.
And the next innovation is female only gym sessions specifically aimed at the Islamic community. The gym has already been adapted with frosted windows and private changing facilities so that the ladies can change and exercise in privacy.
I was really overjoyed hearing about how much YSJActive is doing for so many people in our city, the people that often get forgotten or can’t access the opportunity that is on offer. And I also felt frustrated that I had never heard of any of these activities available.
So the real point of this blog is to get the message out that these facilities are there for the taking and what’s more they have plenty of places available. So if you know of people that might want to participate – please get in touch
Foss T: 01904 876200
Haxby T: 01904 876340