Blog by Eddie, Silverfit CEO.
I have only just realised how much time has passed since I wrote the last blog for Silverfit in November. As I started to reflect on the dire situation for so many isolating yesterday, Carolyn, our long-standing Nordic walk instructor in Hyde Park texted me the sad news of the death of Rachel Broster. Rachel and her husband Phill Harris helped us set up the first Silverfit sessions in Hyde Park. We were great friends though Serpentine Running Club and I knew at first hand the difference her enthusiasm and volunteering as ‘Serpies’, for well over 20 years, had made to that club.
The Hyde Park SF group with Rachel on the right (bright blue jacket)
I was delighted when Rachel became one of our Nordic Walking Leaders, taking a group that on walks through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and, of course, finishing off and piloting our innovative social sandwich model with coffee and cake at the tennis club. Rachel was always happy to help organise, often leading the warmup and cool down exercises, and she and Phill helped marshal at many of our Silverfit Sunset Aquathlons, getting runners safely across the Rotten Row cycle path. Mark Pittaway, our former Chair wrote `About 3 years ago Rachel was diagnosed with an ovarian cancer and given a prognosis of about 6 months, which in her inimitable style she did not accept. Alas it has finally caught up with her. She will be very sadly missed by all of us’. I know too from the very active and supportive Hyde Park Whattsapp group how much they will all miss her. `Warmth, cheerfulness, life force, fun, inspiring’ were just some of the words they used. It really was such a privilege to know Rachel and I’m sure you will join me in sending condolences to Phill.
So, as we continue with the lockdown, we are looking to plans to re-start as soon as possible. Will it be Rule of 6? When will indoor sessions be possible? How will our cash flow be looking as we re-start? So so many unknowns but time to reflect and prepare for the future.
There are now over 160 @home videos to view from your hone, and those landline audio sessions for those unable to access the videos. And if you are not already accessing the Whattsapp group for your nearest venue, then let Susanne know on [email protected] and she will put you in touch with that group organiser. As we have seen in Hyde Park, their whattsapp group has proved to be so supportive.
Excitingly we are about to launch our first Silverfit Zoom sesson with Brigit, our Pilates instructor from Burgess Park and Brockwell Park.
We will be building into the hour-long sesson our own Silverfit social sandwich, with the opportunity for a brief virtual Zoom meet up, then the Pilates session and afterwards a real opportunity to chat with Brigit and each other. Get that cup of tea and maybe a biscuit ready.
Numbers will be limited so the sign-up details will be on the website, and in Susanne’s email next week.
Bradley and I have been working hard on funding applications in preparation for re-starts, as usual with a mixed outcome. But we are grateful to Southwark Charities, USTSC and Sport England for their grants. Others are still being considered and Independent Age have agreed to switch some of their funding to Crystal Palace. Stefania is working on plans to start new session at Kingston and Get Living/Delancey are very keen to help us get a new session going in the East Village (the old athletes’ village in the adjacent Olympic Park.
These are tough times indeed, but hopefully the vaccine will be making that vital difference, and the expansion of that rollout to the Over 65’s is great news. I can only echo government advice to all those eligible ‘step forward and take up your appointment. The vaccine is the route to freedom ‘ and restarts of Silverfit session.