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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Jo Smallwoodgeneral manager, Oldham Leisure Centre

We saw the opportunity to initiate new partnerships with the Oldham Foodbank to help local residents during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t serve our community in the way we would usually do, so we’ve moved resources to help where people need us most

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Smallwood and her team have adapted from running leisure services to supporting the foodbank
Smallwood and her team have adapted from running leisure services to supporting the foodbank
We’re a lifeline for the community during normal times so now, more than ever, they need our support

What’s your background?
I’ve been in leisure in all my working life, as sport and fitness is an essential part of keeping fit and healthy.

I started in 1995 on a youth trainee scheme and have progressed to becoming the General Manager of Oldham Leisure Centre.

We’ve all been forced to adapt due to COVID-19. How have you changed the way you serve the community?
The world is a very different place right now and everyone is affected. Obviously, our centres are all currently closed. But we’re a huge part of the people of Oldham’s lives and we knew, as a leisure trust, we had to continue to help local people who need us most. Initially we donated all the stock from our vending machines to the Oldham Food Bank, but as need has developed, so has the situation – Oldham Leisure Centre is now the local foodbank operations hub.

Alongside our community development and partnership manager, Kelly Tattersall, and foodbank founder, Father Tom Davis, we’ve transformed the sports hall. All deliveries from external businesses come here, our staff and volunteers make up food parcels and we distribute them to local families.

How has the situation evolved?
Initially my team and I just helped to pick up and deliver emergency food parcels, but the need was so huge it soon became apparent the foodbank needed more space and resources. Pre-coronavirus, the Oldham Foodbank supplied about 100 food parcels to families in need per week. Now it’s up to 280 a week, and there are more people going hungry in each family, because people are self-isolating together, so the parcels are much larger. Incomes have plummeted and it’s taking a huge toll.

Who else is involved?
This is a real Oldham approach to COVID-19 – a true partnership to tackle community challenges and ensure emergency essentials are delivered. Voluntary, faith, statutory and private organisations across Oldham have been working together in partnership.

What other plans do you have?
We run services for Oldham’s most vulnerable residents – from newborns to the elderly. We’re a lifeline for the community during normal times, so they need our support now, more than ever.

Our older members and exercise referral clients are especially at risk, they’re self-isolating and many are lonely. We’re their social network; for some we’re the only people they talk to all week.

We’re making regular phone calls, supplying exercise guides to keep people moving at home and just having a chat. We’ve released some online, chair-based exercise videos they can safely follow, too – the internet is awash with online exercise content but none of it is suitable for older or more vulnerable people.

Our Friday Club, which uses physical activity to reduce levels of social isolation within the community, is still taking place via Zoom. Overcoming isolation and loneliness has always been our goal, and in these troubling times it’s even more important to keep connected and to keep active.

Praise from Father Tom Davis
Father Davis founded the foodbank in 2012. He says: “OCL and the volunteers have been absolutely outstanding. Using the centres not only allows us to make sure volunteers can socially distance, but it also gives us the space to pack up what are becoming very large parcels.

When you consider OCL’s staff have gone from things like teaching swimming to making and delivering food parcels; it’s such a team effort. We’ve thrown a diverse mix of people together with a common goal – to care for the vulnerable.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The Oldham team has a powerful connection with people in the local community
The Oldham team has a powerful connection with people in the local community
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/816309_423259.jpg
Oldham Leisure Centre has become the local foodbank operations hub during the COVID19 closures. Jo Smallwood, general manager of the centre, tells us more...
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features

HCM People: Jo Smallwoodgeneral manager, Oldham Leisure Centre

We saw the opportunity to initiate new partnerships with the Oldham Foodbank to help local residents during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t serve our community in the way we would usually do, so we’ve moved resources to help where people need us most

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Smallwood and her team have adapted from running leisure services to supporting the foodbank
Smallwood and her team have adapted from running leisure services to supporting the foodbank
We’re a lifeline for the community during normal times so now, more than ever, they need our support

What’s your background?
I’ve been in leisure in all my working life, as sport and fitness is an essential part of keeping fit and healthy.

I started in 1995 on a youth trainee scheme and have progressed to becoming the General Manager of Oldham Leisure Centre.

We’ve all been forced to adapt due to COVID-19. How have you changed the way you serve the community?
The world is a very different place right now and everyone is affected. Obviously, our centres are all currently closed. But we’re a huge part of the people of Oldham’s lives and we knew, as a leisure trust, we had to continue to help local people who need us most. Initially we donated all the stock from our vending machines to the Oldham Food Bank, but as need has developed, so has the situation – Oldham Leisure Centre is now the local foodbank operations hub.

Alongside our community development and partnership manager, Kelly Tattersall, and foodbank founder, Father Tom Davis, we’ve transformed the sports hall. All deliveries from external businesses come here, our staff and volunteers make up food parcels and we distribute them to local families.

How has the situation evolved?
Initially my team and I just helped to pick up and deliver emergency food parcels, but the need was so huge it soon became apparent the foodbank needed more space and resources. Pre-coronavirus, the Oldham Foodbank supplied about 100 food parcels to families in need per week. Now it’s up to 280 a week, and there are more people going hungry in each family, because people are self-isolating together, so the parcels are much larger. Incomes have plummeted and it’s taking a huge toll.

Who else is involved?
This is a real Oldham approach to COVID-19 – a true partnership to tackle community challenges and ensure emergency essentials are delivered. Voluntary, faith, statutory and private organisations across Oldham have been working together in partnership.

What other plans do you have?
We run services for Oldham’s most vulnerable residents – from newborns to the elderly. We’re a lifeline for the community during normal times, so they need our support now, more than ever.

Our older members and exercise referral clients are especially at risk, they’re self-isolating and many are lonely. We’re their social network; for some we’re the only people they talk to all week.

We’re making regular phone calls, supplying exercise guides to keep people moving at home and just having a chat. We’ve released some online, chair-based exercise videos they can safely follow, too – the internet is awash with online exercise content but none of it is suitable for older or more vulnerable people.

Our Friday Club, which uses physical activity to reduce levels of social isolation within the community, is still taking place via Zoom. Overcoming isolation and loneliness has always been our goal, and in these troubling times it’s even more important to keep connected and to keep active.

Praise from Father Tom Davis
Father Davis founded the foodbank in 2012. He says: “OCL and the volunteers have been absolutely outstanding. Using the centres not only allows us to make sure volunteers can socially distance, but it also gives us the space to pack up what are becoming very large parcels.

When you consider OCL’s staff have gone from things like teaching swimming to making and delivering food parcels; it’s such a team effort. We’ve thrown a diverse mix of people together with a common goal – to care for the vulnerable.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The Oldham team has a powerful connection with people in the local community
The Oldham team has a powerful connection with people in the local community
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/816309_423259.jpg
Oldham Leisure Centre has become the local foodbank operations hub during the COVID19 closures. Jo Smallwood, general manager of the centre, tells us more...
Oldham Leisure Centre, Foodbank,COVID-19, foodbank
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Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
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Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
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F45's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has revealed a strong appetite from ...
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With gyms reopening as the fitness industry recovers from the impact of the pandemic, members are seeking social interaction and engaging training experiences in a small group setting.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
Parkwood Leisure is a family-owned leisure management company working with local authority partners across England ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Venueserve Fitness
Venueserve Fitness is an easy-to-use, low-cost web- and mobile online exercise platform, already being used ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
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Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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