5. BEING ACTIVE Residents describe being energised and invigorated by the activities, the Every One Every Day team and other residents. They describe their everyday life taking on a new structure which includes this practical participation, their families’ lives being reshaped around the activity.
If there's nothing happening in life, say like with us, we moved here and we don't know anything, it's like waiting for something to happen. But when we know there's an event we can attend, we look forward to it! Proper planning and will start happening with this… commitments start happening thanks to that… it seems like we're at a little event but what's actually happening is that everything is coming into line, it stops you being lazy and postponing things because you have the entire day to do it. We have to finish this now so that we can go to Every One Every Day; these sorts of things help. (AP31)
This is a welcome change for many residents who previously struggled to find low or no cost things to do near where they live--for themselves and for their children. Inactivity can lead to boredom, lethargy, isolation and often depression, making it more and more difficult to motivate oneself. Residents recount how Every One Every Day made it easy to be more active by offering a range of interesting things to do and removing the barriers such as cost, distance and having to find childcare.
I basically know a lot of people now in the community. It is a lot of people that I’ve met. One of the reasons is that I’m here often, I’m here nearly every day. I’ve met a lot of people, a lot. We do school runs. Even if we’re late. Because we met here. It bought us together. Every One Every Day is the one that bought us together. Unity, like I always say this is the place that brings unity and confidence. You
Participants enjoy the activities and come out of them with tangible products ranging from artwork to food to take home. Enjoying the activities and being pleased with what they’ve made motivates participants to do more and grow in confidence.
need that little light boost. (JA9)
Through their participation residents are making friends. They describe how they begin to make plans with their new friends to participate in Every One Every Day activities and also do other things together. Making commitments to friends is a further motivation to keep getting out and about.
[My life] definitely changed last summer when I found out about this...I was also going through a difficult time with my course--it was quite hard, and [Every One Every Day] gave me a new perspective and I was looking forward to all the activities. I had my calendar and my boys would ask ‘what we are doing today?’ Because Summer holidays are long as well. Sometimes you have a holiday to go to, sometimes you don't. If you live in a flat, you don't have a garden, you don't have a lot to do. You'll end up inside watching TV. So this gave us something to come out to do. Almost every day! … It’s part of our life now. (AP47)
Being active and participating in activities at the shops and elsewhere usually involves walking (including to and from the bus) and sometimes cycling. There is encouragement from staff and other residents to adopt active and sustainable forms of transport. Many also participate in the physical activities offered through Every One Every Day such as walks, gardening, sports and games. Exercise increases fitness and energises; feeling more energetic encourages more exercise and consequently more fitness.
Do you feel like your life has changed a bit now… is it any different? Yeah, I mean, I’m socialising so much more, and me and my my daughter, I’ve got her involved in so many other things, even myself I run two groups for children and I think that’s all come from just seeing like all the other stuff that’s going on in the community, ideas come to you and you get confidence I suppose… ok, I’ve got this idea but other people are doing other stuff so I can do mine as well. I think my life has completely changed because I’m just so busy now and I don’t have a day where I do nothing, whereas before I was about finding things to do, so yeah, it’s completely changed. (AP52)
Many residents speak of how all these activities give them something to look forward to. They provide good reasons to get out of bed and more energy to do so. Participants start to develop a new routine, they mark dates on their Every One Every Day calendars. They organise a more active life, and this becomes more normal. Residents bring their children who many felt were spending too much time online or watching tv at home, and the whole family develops a more active lifestyle, As residents continue to participate, they meet more people, get more ideas, hear about other things going on in the neighbourhood, and perhaps start something on their own. All of these things increase their activity.
I think [Every One Every Day] gives you a reason to get up. It’s having a reason to get up as well, I’ve stopped working now, I stopped a few weeks ago. I did go back to work but I couldn’t do it [due to health issues], so I’ve stopped so now for the first time in years I’ve got my whole week to myself and it’s nice to think ‘on Thursday I’ve got this, on Wednesday I’ve got that.’ You’re not sitting there thinking ‘I’m doing nothing, I’ve got nothing to do.’ You think ‘no Thursday I’m up bright and early, I need to set the alarm or Tuesday I’m here.’ It gives you that reason to get up and go out. (BG2)
I've been motivated to lead a bit more of a healthier, more active lifestyle as well, because I did go through a dip personally. So yeah I think, having this and seeing what everyone's doing, it's really boosted my self-confidence and made me want to get back on the horse and do what I used to do but even to a greater extent. (AP53)