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Fish-a-Bility: How one angling club help tackle Covid’s impact on disabled, isolated and mentally ill anglers
12 May 2021
Sue Galloway is a Licenced Level 2 Angling Coach who helped run special ‘Fish-a-Bility’ fishing lessons funded using a Sport England fund for angling projects. This is part of a new Tackling Inequalities Fund that’s making huge strides to help tackle inequalities that make under-represented groups less likely to be physically active during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Sue told us:
Northampton Nene Angling Club ran a special “Fish-a-Bility” project for people from Black and Ethnic Minority Communities, children and young people with disabilities, those in isolation and people experiencing mental health issues. This was an amazing opportunity to use Sport England funding to help 67 people from these groups have a go at fishing activities during a week of activities at fisheries in and around Northamptonshire.
I found out that 38 of the 67 were trying fishing for the first time – that’s an amazing 57% of people from the under-represented communities that we worked with, that were given the opportunity to experience the woders of angling, get outdoors and stay active – all things which had been significantly impacted by their personal experience of lockdown after Covid-19 took hold.
Conditions were perfect for the week with great weather and nearly everyone immediately catching some fish!
Even those that didn’t still enjoyed themselves, met new people, learned new skills and spent a brilliant time outdoors reconnecting with nature and keeping active.
Participants learned how to use fishing floats and rods, how to use bait, identify when the fish were biting and to safely net and return the fish they caught.
They were also shown all about different fish species, things like how to tell different fish apart and the natural habitat that these fish and waterside animals live in.
The most amazing thing for me though about the week was the results of our ‘Pre’ and ‘Post’ Activity Evaluations that everyone taking part carried out.
These were in the form of some quick questionnaires that were designed to give us a steer towards identifying any changes that the activity might have helped influence.
Pre-Activity Evaluations indicated that lockdowns during Covid-19 had left people feeling frustrated, anxious, sad, tearful, confused, worried, annoyed, restricted, hopeless, tired, angry, overwhelmed – all pretty negative conditions that reflected how Covid-19 had impacted these people’s lives, emotions and ability to stay or want to be active.
Post-Activity Evaluations however showed a smaller range of far more positive emotions and experiences over the week. We learned that the Fish-a-Bility sessions enabled by Tackling Inequalities Fund, in comparison left our participants feeling happier, relaxed, excited, good and refreshed.
I got feedback that those taking part enjoyed being outdoors and getting fresh air. It was great to see everyone having fun and enjoying themselves and I have got to say a massive thanks to the Team of coaches and angling volunteers for their support with the whole programme – it was a really welcome escape from the usual routine lockdown has brought!
Level 2 Angling Trust Licenced Angling Coach
Sue Galloway is a Level 2 Angling Trust Licenced Angling Coach who supports Northampton Nene Angling Club in getting more people fishing, more often
Northampton Nene Angling Club’s Fish-a-Bility lessons helped people tackle inactivity experienced due to Covid-19 lockdowns
Sport England – Uniting the Movement
This project has been made possible by an award from Sport England‘s Tackling Inequalities Fund. This part of the Fund was administered for angling by the Angling Trust, with the support of Sport England.
About the Tackling Inequalities Fund In late March, 2019 Sport England discovered that certain under-represented groups of people were being disproportionately affected by Covid-19. This was significantly impacting these people’s ability to be physically active. In response, a new ‘Tackling Inequalities Fund‘ was established to help reduce the negative impact on activity levels in these under-represented groups. The fund has a specific focus on: lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, disabled people and those with long-term health conditions. The fund uses £20m of National Lottery money to enable community groups to continue to exist and engage with these communities and help keep them active during and after lockdowns. Tackling Inequalities Fund is itself part of Sport England’s £210 million support package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.