AA Global steps up with funding to help Fitmums and Friends relaunch support group

04th Oct

A scheme that was launched nearly 10 years ago to help women with postnatal depression is to embark on a post-Covid campaign to help a wider range of people after securing funding from a business in Hull.

In the Pink, which was set up in 2012 by Fitmums and Friends, is being sponsored by AA Global Language Services to cover the cost of employing a part-time co-ordinator who will build a network of volunteers.

AA Global, which provides translation and interpreting services in the public and private sectors, will also help to increase awareness of the initiative through its work in multicultural communities.

In the Pink broadened its services to help people with issues around bereavement, breast cancer and other illnesses and other causes of depression, anxiety and low confidence.

Covid restrictions put the work on hold because volunteers were no longer able to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients, but now Fitmums and Friends chief officer and founder Sam Barlow has recruited a co-ordinator who will train the volunteers to resume the sessions.

Clients can attend up to three sessions free of charge and then have the option of progressing to join Fitmums and Friends, which now operates 11 groups across the Yorkshire and Humber region with more than 700 people taking part in running and other exercise to promote wellbeing.

Membership is only £36 a year and the group also operates the Mike Barlow Memorial Fund – named after Sam’s late husband – to help people who find cost a barrier.

Sam said: “Being active stimulates a person’s mental health and can make them feel better, but we understand how difficult it can be to take those first steps especially when you think everybody will be thinner and fitter than you – In the Pink aims to help becoming active so much easier.

“We recruit volunteers from within the Fitmums and Friends membership and train them up to deliver the In the Pink programme. First they meet individuals in a café to take away any pressure around getting their trainers on! They explain how Fitmums and Friends works and the individual can decide if it feels right for them.”

Kirk Akdemir, CEO of AA Global, said: “We have helped Fitmums and Friends with one or two things in the past and when he heard about In the Pink we could see it was a very much-needed service, especially with everything that has gone on during the Covid period.

“Our support will cover the costs of co-ordinating the volunteers for a whole year, and we will also be looking at other ways to contribute to this amazing scheme.

“We will consult closely with Sam and her team to find out what they need but we can certainly help to reach some of the area’s multicultural communities and we have a good network of NHS contacts which may help with referrals from GPs. We feel honoured to be doing our bit.”

Sam added: “We are so grateful to all at AA Global for helping us to relaunch In the Pink. We know from the feedback we received from some of the early clients that it really makes a difference and can motivate people to achieve things they never dreamed they were capable of.

“The support from AA Global is also significant because we don’t have many contacts in the world of business and we hope this will enable us to raise awareness among other companies of the work we are doing to help people and communities.”

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