Angela Catley, Community Catalysts CIC originally posted in February 2016
This is one of a series of case studies provided by Community Catalysts on the role that small, local community organisations and enterprises can play in the health and wellbeing of their local communities. Read more about how such organisations make a difference and explore the case studies for Food Positive and Whole Body Therapy.
Funky, Fitness and Fun
Micro-provider Carita Smith set up her enterprise called Funky, Fitness and Fun in Oldham in 2008. She wanted to work with people with a disability or health problem to co-produce a different type of service. Carita is also a Shared Lives carer, a personal assistant and has run a drama group on a voluntary basis for adults with a learning disability with a friend for a number of years.
The service currently runs two days each week, for six hours at a local community centre. People become members and once engaged they are invited to share with Carita the type of physical exercise that they would like to engage in over forthcoming weeks. She then commissions it on their behalf and as a result Tai chi, dancing, aerobics, cheerleading and Elvis dancing, have all been included in the weekly sessions.
Michael has attended Carita’s service from the outset and pays for it using his personal budget. Michael used to attend a traditional day service run by the Council. He did enjoy this but disliked the inconsistency of staffing and the inability of the service to always adapt what it provided to meet his needs and wishes. In contrast Michael is very positive about the service that Carita provides saying that:
“Carita is her own boss and can do it”
Carita provides opportunities for people with a disability to volunteer within the service and is keen to identify other options for people in the community. She has also developed the “Funky Fitness Fun Team” which consists of four members with a learning disability who deliver fitness sessions to the wider community and in other service settings such as sheltered housing. Members feel valued by having this great opportunity and new links are being forged with the older residents.
Carita is now helping her members to be further included into their local community by linking with existing businesses to identify opportunities for people to volunteer, universal groups like women’s groups for members to attend and schools to include members with integrated story telling.