Creative Active Lives
1868. Rachel Conlisk
Rachel Conlisk, from Birmingham, set up ‘Creative Active Lives’, running activity workshops such as pottery, jewellery-making, photography and circus skills for older people, disadvantaged young people and children with additional needs to improve wellbeing and personal development, and reduce isolation.
Rachel was inspired to set up the social enterprise in 2019 after travelling the UK delivering hula-hooping and dance workshops in care homes and seeing the benefits this brought to older people, particularly those with dementia, Parkinson’s and limited mobility. The organisation has since built up a network of dedicated instructors who lead interactive, engaging, and fun activities that are designed for seated and mobile people of all ages and mixed abilities. Rachel is continually looking to innovate and create news ways to engage groups and provide rewarding beneficial experiences, which has included recently starting a free drop-in digital skills social café to support anyone who needs access to the internet, support with getting online and on social media, understanding how to stay safe online, and help with applying for jobs and creating CVs.
In a personal letter to Rachel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to hear of how you are bringing the joy of dance to older people through ‘Creative Active Lives’. From hula-hooping to juggling, dancing to boxercise, you have found fun ways to keep people active and healthy.
“Your classes are also an innovative way of tackling the loneliness often felt by those with long-term health conditions. You give people confidence to take part and feel a sense of belonging.
“I am also delighted to learn of your newest venture, a digital skills café which is helping young people from less advantaged backgrounds to find employment opportunities and develop new skills.”
“To be recognised as a Point of Light is a huge honour, and was such a lovely surprise. Moments like this keep me going and help me not to give up when things get tough! It has been an incredibly challenging period for my business, like so many others, in the last two years, but we have bounced back this year thanks to the individuals and organisations who have chosen ‘Creative Active Lives CIC’ to work with, and thanks to them, this year we have been able to scale up our community work and develop new projects that meet the needs that the communities we work with have identified. We are all stronger as a community when we support each other.”