"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
Welcome to Spark Community, a non-profit, unincorporated association... crikey that sounds boring doesn't it?! And what does that even mean?!
What is Spark Community?
An organisation run by the community for the community... a hub of passionate humans who want to share the awesomeness of health, fitness and physical activity with others... a way of making physical activity fun and accessible to everyone, rather than a privilege for some! Our organisation is like a co-operative, when you become a member, you become a decision maker; YOU choose how we can help our communities receive better access to physical and mental health and YOU make that a reality.
a) To be a community hub which promotes non-weight biased, body neutral and evidence-based approaches to nutrition and fitness for better mental and physical health outcomes for the individual.
b) To support individuals and community groups who want to establish or develop mental and /or physical health services in their area.
c) To change the way individuals and groups present and receive fitness and physical health information moving to an evidence-based approach and away from ‘diet-culture’ and socially perpetuated myths; with the view that those with (or on the precipice of) disordered eating and eating disorders will be better protected by this approach.
d) To engage, promote, encourage and support health and fitness services and approaches which offer a safe space for all regardless of gender, age, social demographic, education, sexual orientation, race, disability, body type, shape or size.
e) To engage those who feel sidelined from fitness and physical activity.
Spark Community Members
When you become a member of Spark Community, you become an active part of our mission: to make physical activity available and fully accessible to everyone in your community.
We know the amazing physical and mental benefits of physical activity and healthy lifestyles and we want to share that with the world. But we also recognise that this can be a privilege for many and that there are many reasons and barriers that still need breaking down; Spark Community members work to do this.
We also know that diet culture has infiltrated modern notions of health, fitness and wellbeing which is not only creating another barrier for many to access evidence-based information and support, but the idea that physical activity is only useful for losing weight is building another barrier for many, rather than breaking it down; Spark Community members promote a non-weight-biased approach to being happy, healthy, strong and fit.
We recognise physical activity, health and wellbeing as a multi-faceted approach. There is no 'one-size-fits-all', quick fix approach. Rather, we know that when fitness becomes a part of your lifestyle, it becomes something which adds to your overall physical and mental health. We also know that 'fitness' can mean so much. That it can be individual, social, formal, informal, an addition to your day, or part of your day, a commute, a friendly meet-up, or a competitive occasion... it has so many faces and there is something for everyone; Spark Community members want to help you find what this looks like for you.
Find out more in our frequently asked questions.
How do I become a member?
- You will be a member of Spark Fitness, Prestwich.
Right now, in our inaugural year, we're keeping it small. So... to become a Spark Community Member, you will need to be a member of Spark Fitness or close family who has been recommended by a member. A member of Spark Fitness, is anyone who was a paying member on 25/7/2019, regardless as to whether their membership has since lapsed. Alternatively, you may be an individual or business who has worked with Spark Fitness.
- Pay What You Can
Our Spark Community membership operates on a Pay What You Can sliding scale of £10-100 annual membership. As a non-profit organisation, 100% of the membership fees go towards projects which support our aims. As a member, you will vote, make decisions, and have the opportunity (should you wish to) to work on the projects or to use your skills in supporting the day-to-day running of the organisation.
Your membership will be valid for a full year from the date your membership fee is paid.
- Member Rewards
Of course, the real reward is in being a part of a community that is making a difference but we also want to thank you for caring! So, as a Spark Community member contributing £50 or more in your annual subscription, you will receive 10% off all Spark Fitness services. We are working on adding more community rewards for all members throughout the year and will be updating with these as we're able to.
What kind of things will Spark Community do?
Great question! And in some ways, this is hard to answer because we've purposefully kept things as open as possible. We want to take a radical approach to developing health, fitness and physical activity in our communities so there's not really a limit of what we could do. The only proviso we have is that any projects we undertake must fit with the ethos of our aims.
Got an idea? Pitch it to us! Seen some funding you'd like to apply for? Ask us for help! As an unincorporated association, we're able to access funds that individuals aren't able to but we also have a lot of experitise amongst our directors of writing and winning funding bids.
- Perhaps you want to set up a group but don't know where to start? Aimi and Maggie, two of the Co-directors, are the former founding members and directors of Prestwich Plodders (previously known as F92 Plodders); we can help!
- More recently, we have been involved in the planning stages and on-going support of a local new running group for all abilities, Run Together Whitefield. We have been offering financial support, plus moral support and volunteering to help with the abundance of runners turning up in the early weeks.
This successful and free Run Together group now gets over 130 runners turning up each week.
Sue Tickle, one of the run leaders who established the group says: 'sharing their knowledge on funding, learned lessons from F92 Plodders and offering this moral support has been vital to getting this very bysy new group and and running so quickly. Spark also sponsored one of the 'Run and Talk' weeks run by the club which focussed on men's menal health, providing all the raffle prizes which was a large selecion of books on mental health stories, well received by the runners. Spark still keeps in close contact with group, offering support and guidance where required.
- In November 2019, Michelle, Hannah and Maggie ran a successful pilot of our new course 'The F Word', helping former dieters navigate their way to understanding why diets had failed them. Over 8 weeks, we worked with a group of ten women exploring how diets create disordered eating, make us feel like failures and ruin our health, before exploring how we can begin rebuilding our relationship with food, develop healthy habits which are right for us personally and don't revolve around food, and how a focus on 'health gain' rather than 'weight loss' is what has the potential to truly transform our lives. In 2020, our aim is to make this information and support available to more people!
- We're currently working on our very first project of 2020 which is helping a local lady set up a small doggie meet & walk in Prestwich... we're helping her apply for funding to access required certifications and insurance, initial set-up and marketing; perhaps you have a similar idea?
If we've convinced you that being a member of Spark Community could very well change your life, or the life of others, all you need to do is the following:
- Click here and complete the member application form;
- Use the bank account details at the end of the form to donate your subscription. Remember, you can choose to donate any amount between £10-£100 for a year's membership*;
- Wait for your welcome email to arrive in your inbox (this isn't automated so will take a human amount of time!);
- Within a week, you'll also be invited by email to join our Slack group which is messenging service that doesn't require you to be on Facebook. We'll communicate with you via email but we can communicate with each other as members via Slack;
- Await your invite to our first face-to-face meeting which will take place in March. Don't worry, if you're unable to attend we'll make sure we keep you fully updated and use Slack to ensure you're able to take part in any discussions or votes.
* If you've donated £50 or more, as a thank you, a 10% discount will be applied to your next membership payment onwards.
Got a question?
Check out our FAQs here
Want to pitch us an idea? Need to know more? Drop us an email at [email protected]
Spark Community Directors: Maggie Elliott, Hannah Brownhill, Aimi Barton, Michelle Castle, Helen Crossley x