Restoring the joy of movement was the key to Social Action for Health’s Good Moves project which took on a new lease of life in lockdown and has been shortlisted for a prestigious London Sport Award.

Spearheaded by project manager, Nimo Mohamed, Good Moves is a social and holistic eight-week course which considers all aspects of good health and wellbeing for adults in Tower Hamlets, particularly older people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Good Moves’ culturally-sensitive exercise courses, delivered in a multitude of different languages, were forced online like most things when Covid-19 hit. Undeterred they continued to be a vital pillar of the community and are one of three final nominations shortlisted for the Health and Wellbeing Award, in association with Gympass.

The winners of the London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, will be revealed at London’s Guildhall on December 6.

“We were so happy and excited to be nominated because during the lockdown a lot of organisations have shut down and closed and there was not much activity going on,” said Mohamed, 48, from Bethnal Green.

“For us to be recognised for the hard work we’ve put in to bring back Good Moves remotely; we are really happy to have come this far.

“The community that we work with, people who are vulnerable as they have a long-term condition and many have language barriers, it took us four months to get people back into the community.

“We had to redesign our project, consult with local people and train our teachers. Zoom was a new platform to use but now most of our sessions are running remotely and people are comfortable using it.”

Over the last five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, has grown to become the biggest celebration of grassroots physical activity and sport in the city.  

And this year’s showpiece event will once again recognise, celebrate and shine a light on the stories of the incredible individuals, groups, and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital, helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.

The physical activity put on by Good Moves predominantly consists of 30 minutes of low-impact exercise, including chair-based movements, and is accessible to all, bringing health benefits to vulnerable senior citizens who had been cut off by coronavirus restrictions.

Established in 2000, the programme had its toughest challenge yet but responded in fine style with participants really appreciating the extra effort it took to get things moving virtually.

Facilitator Alea Ismail, 53, said: “They [the participants] have really appreciated the exercise and simple physical moves and found it really benefits their general wellbeing.

“As soon as participants got used to Zoom and realised you could actually have a workout through Zoom it became much easier to teach them and everyone enjoyed it.

“It was new for me but I also got a workout myself so it was still helping me! It was really comforting and pleasing that we could still tap into people.

“The shortlist is great recognition of the hard work we’ve put in over the years and particularly in lockdown because it is much needed in a borough like Tower Hamlets where there is a high rate of deprivation.”

The London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, shines a spotlight on the unsung community heroes helping Londoners of all backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and sport.

Find out more about the Awards and how London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world at #MakeYourMark