News & Events

Getting active by reimagining health

February 24, 2021

Getting the chance to exercise with your mum is not necessarily what every young child wants but for Lilly*, it is the best news ever.

She is one of the children living at Emerge’s refuge and although she goes to school and plays in the schoolyard every day, she has not really had the opportunity to have fun exercising with her mum for a long time.

Before her mum escaped her violent partner, Lilly was too scared to run, launch, or play outside. Her dad shouted at her or told her off. Lilly spent much of her time after school in her bedroom hiding from her dad.

Now, through a grant from VicHealth, Emerge is putting together a program of healthy exercise and fun for children and their mothers to enjoy after school each week.

The $14,800 Reimagining Health grant comes as new data reveals how the second coronavirus wave indirectly affected the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

A survey of 2,000 Victorians shows many struggled to connect socially and to be physically active. On a positive note, many wanted to be more involved with their community once the pandemic eased. The data showed that during the second wave:

  • 1 in 3 Victorians were worried about their loss of social connection, with 2 in 5 finding it hard or very hard to stay connected to friends and family
  • 3 in 4 who attended fitness classes stopped attending, while 3 in 5 who attended arts groups also stopped going along
  • 1 in 2 school-aged kids were less active
  • However, more than 1 in 2 wanted to get involved in a community group or club once restrictions eased, and;
  • 1 in 5 ate more veggies, for most it was because they were cooking more.

Emerge’s Executive Officer, Paula Westhead, said that the grant would help the organisation employ a physical education specialist and engage with more volunteers to support the initiative.

“Build Back Better – the slogan which is being used to describe how Victoria is going to emerge from the pandemic – absolutely describes how we hope this grant working,” Paula said.

“Through exercise, families are going to build back better by getting to know each other, trust and support each other, and have a lot of fun.”



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