MERLIN CLUB YOUTH & COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Lorraine Bhatti – 07891 890438
Sessions: 11.00am - 2.30pm
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Dance and Fitness Group
We offer holiday programmes that are open access and proving very popular with college students unable to attend during term-time e.g. Summer, Christmas, Easter and Bank holidays.
Members can attend one, two or all of our sessions.
A typical session includes:
Get together—chat and free refreshments as members
arrive (usually 10.30-11.00)
- Warm Up
- Lunch— members bring healthy packed lunches
- Weigh In—feedback
- Bag work?
- One to one peer coaching
- Group coaching—member led
- Warm Down
- Group Evaluation of session
The group love to perform and show off their skills – they have undertaken several public performances and they are now practicing a new dance and fitness routine ready for their next one.
The group are also very actively involved in fundraising activities and have recently raised a staggering £720.00 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
This group was originally formed in April 2013 as a result of cuts to, and in some cases the total loss of budgets available to people with special needs and disabilities. Our members found they could no longer afford the increasing cost of other similar provisions and were concerned that they would be left with nothing to do.
After a discussion with them it was decided that we would ‘give it a go’ with me facilitating and see how things developed. We have learned together—who is teaching who is debatable and the programme offered has now developed to include fitness training and healthy eating.
This truly is a ‘whole group’ experience with coaches and members working together to choose music, work out dance and fitness routines and identify areas to develop or change. All dances are choreographed by the whole group working together – this ensures that all members, regardless of ability, can take an active role and fully participate in everything we offer.
Shortly after starting the group, Dave Randle – Head Coach at the Merlin Centre where we meet asked if they would like him to show them some non contact boxing skills, this proved to be a big hit and quickly became an integral and much loved part of each session.
The main aim of this group has always been to have FUN and along the way get fit, socialize with friends, meet new people and learn new skills.
One of our members, Joanne Duckworth, has now taken on the role of Assistant Peer Coach. Every dance routine has a peer Lead Dancer and fitness routines are peer led.
Weight is an ongoing and serious health issue with many of our members and, to date, the group’s average weight loss, including those that need to gain weight, is 360lbs!! Three of our members have now lost in excess of 50lbs each with others catching them up.
All weight loss/gain is strictly controlled and closely monitored and members are encouraged to make small, healthy changes to their daily diet and routines.
We have seen significant progress in all our members—improved co-ordination, communication, problem solving and negotiation skills. They are more confident, have improved self- esteem, are much fitter, sensibly losing weight and are stronger mentally, emotionally and physically.
They are working with new people and coping with change. A real added and unexpected bonus has been improved literacy and numeracy skills through the keeping of food diaries.