Armchair exercise gets charity members active again

Users of one of Liverpool’s oldest charities have been kept active thanks to help from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

SMF Live exercise Video

Bradbury Fields Services for Blind and Partially Sighted people – formerly known as the Liverpool Voluntary Society for the Blind (LVSB) – was established in 1857 and was awarded the Freedom of the City by Liverpool City Council in 2017 in recognition of its unstinting service over 160 years.

During the pandemic the charity was awarded £76,000 by the Community Match Challenge (CMC) Fund – a match-funding partnership between the Steve Morgan Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Because of Covid-19, Bradbury Fields set up chat rooms for members, provided technology training and loaned equipment to help visually impaired people with daily tasks and provided a check-in and chat service to their most vulnerable service users.

An initial £38,000 grant helped fund some of those projects while a further £38,000 supported the charity’s health and wellbeing services for two years.

Bradbury Fields’ Active Vision clubs started up again last week and the charity’s hospitality and business development manager Gillian Dottie said there were smiles all round.

“I cannot tell you how happy our service users were to be back in our buildings,” she said.  “Thank you so much for your support in making this possible.”

The Active Vision sessions included a morning quiz, armchair exercise sessions and lunch.

It took the Steve Morgan Foundation just 59 days to give away £20m as part of the Community Match Challenge Fund.

The match-funding partnership saw philanthropist Steve Morgan match-fund £10m from the DCMS to support charities struggling with the impact of the pandemic.

The focus was on supporting charities and not-for-profit organisations that were providing essential support to vulnerable people during the pandemic and helping them stay in business.

The awards ranged from £12,000 to £3m and supported 130 charities and benefited nearly 800,000 people in the process.

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