It’s not just schools and businesses that have migrated online during the current pandemic. Sports clubs across Wales have been learning to adapt – including SportFit Wales and DanceFit Wales, who are keeping their classes going remotely.
The lights are still on and the dancing continues for DanceFit Wales, thanks to emergency funding.
The company provides bilingual dance and fitness sessions for young people in Wales as well as other sporting activities organised outside of school hours.
But with the current lockdown, using their regular base at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern in Cardiff had proved impossible – forcing DanceFit Wales to migrate online.
The virtual sessions have proved to be hugely popular with Tik Tok challenges, daily workouts, parent and child challenges and quiz events – all aimed to provide fitness, fun and social interaction during lockdown – but funding had proved problematic.
The online sessions are being provided for free, whilst the schools remain closed, meaning income has dried up but some bills still had to be paid.
DanceFit accessed funding of a few hundred pounds from the Welsh government’s Emergency Relief Fund, to pay insurance premiums and utility bills . . . and so the beat goes on.
DanceFit company director Holly Corsi said: “It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but it has been really important to us as it has meant some of the basics can be paid.
💃 @DanceFit_Wales is just one of the many clubs across Wales who have benefited from emergency relief funding.
🗣️ “The funding has meant we have kept things ticking over, even though it’s been a bit different.”
📝 Full story below👇https://t.co/oKcL0EtSvM
— sportwales (@sportwales) June 9, 2020
“We wanted to keep the classes going and having produced them during Mental Health Awareness Week, we realised how important it was to keep them going for our members and their families.”
DanceFit has grown in recent times and now offer other sports activities such as gymnastics, netball and rugby sessions through the banner of SportFit.
Those classes are based at the Maes Y Coed community centre in Cardiff, but with all sporting locations and facilities still to re-open in Wales, the movement to online has provided children with a valuable link to their classmates via platforms such as Zoom.
In fact, the virtual sessions have produced some positive extra benefits as children from groups who don’t normally meet up, have started to get to know each other.
“It’s been lovely to see people waving and interacting online – kids who might be in different schools, but they have been interacting this way online,” says Holly.
“Unless we do a big show or presentation, they normally don’t see each other. So, in a sense we’ve been able to get kids from different parts of Cardiff in one room together, which has been great.
“One of the things in our mission statement is to try and provide a personal experience for everyone. We want to treat people as individuals, rather than just a number in our membership.”
We’re excited to announce we have partnered with @DanceFit_Wales to deliver online multi-sports sessions!
Join us for great games and activities😁.
Sessions are £4 per session or are included in the DanceFit £30 monthly subscription. pic.twitter.com/P72JwAWQb6
— SportFit Wales (@SportFit_Wales) May 31, 2020
Keeping their members together and engaged should mean DanceFit and SportFit are well placed to resume their services once the lockdown eases further and schools and community centres start to be available again.
Plans are already being considered into how the locations can be adapted and re-fitted to comply with social distancing.
“The funding has meant we have kept things ticking over, even though it’s been different,” adds Holly.
“It’s meant we have kept all our communications up to date and have been still providing a service, so that people will know when we can pick things up again. That was crucial.”