The view from: Newydd HA
Over the last two weeks, we’ve been speaking with numerous housing associations about their response to the Covid-19 crisis. We wanted to share some of their experiences, so will be starting a blog series called, The view from. The fourth in the series comes from Lisa Voyle, Senior Project Officer, Newydd Housing Association, who are based in Cardiff.
HAPI (Healthy, Aspiring, Prosperous and Inclusive) is a National Lottery Community-funded project that is hosted by Newydd Housing Association. The initiative aims to improve residents’ health and wellbeing through a number of interventions around food and nutrition, physical activity, emotional wellbeing, employment, education and training and volunteering.
In the past, we’ve run a number of activities, like couch to 5K, Pilates, Glee, mindfulness, stress management, cooking on a budget and a variety of employment-related training opportunities. Traditionally, we’ve delivered these in the communities of Cynon and Taf Ely valleys within the Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.
With Covid-19, however, we put the initiatives on stop. At least we did for a week. And then we decided to try and deliver them through Facebook Live. If our participants couldn’t come to us, then we’d go to them through Facebook.
We contacted our regular providers and asked them whether they would be able to use Facebook Live. Most of them were intrigued and said yes, so we developed a schedule within 24 hours and started promoting it to our residents.
The schedule included a variety of activities that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible, making it as inclusive as we could. Our first Facebook Live happened on 24 March with Sing Along with Steve. Since then, the programme has gained momentum: activities now include singing, cooking, dancing, Pilates and family fitness, six days a week. We’re now trying to find other activities that we can stream or video, including gardening, holistic therapies, jazzy junk, mindfulness and drumming workshops. We’re hoping to have this content available over the Easter weekend and beyond – fingers crossed!
Since going live, we’ve increased the number of people following our Facebook page by over 400 users and have had over 9,000 engagements through reactions and comments to our posts. Most remarkably, our videos have been viewed over 13,500 times. When we checked the stats, we realised that while the majority of those engaging have lived locally and across the UK, we’ve also had views from India and Ireland.
We’re really enjoying delivering our HAPI activities in this way. Although nothing can beat face to face contact, this is a great way of us keeping in touch with our participants and gaining new ones while we’re all going through a challenging time. Delivering our activities digitally will definitely be something that we’ll be continuing once this crisis is over.