Zofia Jackiewicz

Finalist’s blog #1 – Fit for Mums and Family

Well this is the first time I have attempted to write a blog, so please be kind as I make an attempt to gain your attention and let you know what we have been doing, in preparation to test out our idea.

Since my colleague Sally and myself attended the first induction day about the Essex Prize Challenge we have been busy working out exactly how we go about putting our idea into action.  For those of you who don’t know what our idea is, it’s to set up an exercise class for women who have recently had a baby, the unique element is they can bring their baby with them, and if they also have a toddler they can bring them too.  We recognise that having a baby can be a very isolating experience; women often feel low and lack the confidence to go to an exercise class. We have local peer supporters than can get alongside new mums and support them to get to classes.  This helps them to make friends, have exercise and generally feel fitter and happier.

Our starting point was asking mums who are currently attending our popular Fit For Mums –to-be sessions why they would like to carry on exercising after they have had their baby, the overwhelming response was that they have really enjoyed getting to know other mums-to-be and love staying for a coffee and chat after the session.  Some have made good friendships and would like to have this time for themselves after their baby has been born. Getting back into shape is important to them and seeing their friends is the highlight of the week, they leave the sessions feeling happier, fitter and that they have done something for themselves.

So we have a captive audience, who really want to carry on with their class, but what about mums who haven’t been to an exercise class before?  We need to be accessible to them, so we decided to seek professional advice about the design of our publicity material.  Thinking about how to make the classes attractive to mums, who maybe haven’t been to an exercise class before.

Promotional material ready we are advertising our eight week taster course to start in mid-October, we already have four mums signed up which is very exciting.   The taster course will tell us what went well, and what we could do better, we will find this out by speaking with the mums doing the sessions, we really want their voices to be heard and adapt the sessions to meet their needs where ever possible.

Taking a baby/toddler with you to exercise will of course have its challenges, they may cry or need to be changed, not want to engage with the exercises or just need a cuddle, we need the experiences and ideas from the mums attending to help us make this a safe and welcoming space for everyone. Looking forward to it beginning.