Active Threads: Creating Inclusive Communities

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Active Calderdale envisions a community where everyone has the capability, motivation, and opportunity to lead an active lifestyle. Our mission is to work collaboratively with communities, making physical activity an integral part of daily life. To achieve this, we engage and support partners, embedding the promotion of physical activity into their initiatives. We also encourage partners in Calderdale to share their success stories, demonstrating how they are helping individuals become more active and showcasing the positive impacts on the community.

St Augustine's Centre

One such partner is St Augustine’s Centre, a community organisation that specialises in supporting people seeking sanctuary throughout Calderdale. They offer a holistic support package including an advice drop-in, access to English classes, a community kitchen (Welcome Café), a free clothing shop, and a varied activities programme including creative arts and physical activity.

During 2023, St Augustine’s supported 1542 men, women and children seeking sanctuary in Calderdale from 76 different countries, speaking 54 different languages. All these individuals were offered the opportunity to be physically active via a varied programme which includes boxing, a cycle club, football, rock climbing, squash, table tennis and a walking group.

Barriers to Exercise

One of the biggest barriers to centre members' participation in physical activity was the lack of suitable clothing. This led to St Augustine’s partnering with local Sports Centres in Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden to promote a donation drive for second-hand sports clothing. The support from the Sports Centres and the local community was invaluable and has given vulnerable people the clothing needed to participate in physical activity and the physical activity programme.

In the last calendar year, 346 adults and 97 children have participated in at least one physical activity offered by St Augustine’s. There have been 268 individual physical activity sessions with a total of 25,000 hours of physical activity carried out during 2023.

Ensuring these people have suitable sports clothing is vital to support this work and Integration Manager Adrian Bell was keen to express his gratitude for the support received and highlight the benefits of physical activity to their centre members.

The benefits for our centre members are huge! We are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our communities who have had to flee their home country for a multitude of reasons. They’ve left behind their families, friends, homes and jobs to seek sanctuary and safety. Physical activity supports people’s mental and physical health and improves their self-confidence and self-esteem. It also gives people a sense of belonging so that Calderdale feels like home, a feeling that some people have not had for years.

Adrian Bell - Integration Manager at St Augustine's

Sense of Belonging

The centre’s focus on personal development boosts confidence, fostering a sense of belonging and community engagement. This approach not only aids individuals but also encourages broader education access and upskilling. By promoting physical activity, the centre cultivates active social responsibility, evident in community members volunteering for St Augustine initiatives, such as cooking meals for the community and local street clean-ups.

The centre also tailors its offerings based on the preferences and needs of the community it serves, actively seeking input from members. Partnerships are also key, like the one with Star Boxing Club on Gibbet Street, these prevent duplication of local efforts, ensuring effective collaboration and use of resources.

Read more about St Augustine's and their work with Active Calderdale on the following blogs:

If you or your organisation has a success story to share, contact us at