Cumbria Crack

Charity launches keep fit videos for lockdown

FOLLOW MY LEADER: Fitness instructor Julie Hetherington from Carlisle Youth Zone with Carlisle Mencap members in one of the short Keep Fit videos

A SERIES of short videos aimed at keeping people with learning disabilities fit and healthy in mind and body during the COVID-19 crisis have been produced by Carlisle Mencap.

Backed by a grant of £6,000 from Sport England via Active Cumbria, and made in conjunction with Manchester-based filmmaker John Slemensek of Studio Bokehgo, the series of 16 short videos show a variety of simple exercises and healthy pursuits, from bench presses to gentle walks in the countryside, squats to stretch exercises.

The videos can be used singularly or easily linked together for people to come up with their own tailored fitness programme in the comfort of their own home.

A special online launch of the keep fit videos was held at Carlisle Mencap’s Grace Little Centre this week. The centre is the home of the charity’s award-winning Independence Studio whose members star in the videos in groups of two along with fitness instructors Julie Hetherington of Carlisle Youth Zone and Stephen Phillips of Ability Counts Adaptive Training.

Speaking at the launch, Richard Johnston, senior manager operations at Active Cumbria, said: “These videos are so appropriate and really cater for the needs of vulnerable people and those with learning disabilities. There are a lot of sport videos available on the internet but many of them are quite complicated and technical or involve expensive equipment. These don’t. They are easy to follow and so well done to everyone involved in making them.”

Dan Campbell, who runs the Independence Studio as well as the charity’s Sunday Active group and sports programme, said: “All these activities can be done with no equipment. The videos are short and sweet but can be linked together. They are suitable for wheelchairs too and they have subtitles so are easy to follow. And John has done a great job with the production of them.”

Carlisle Mencap’s CEO Sheila Gregory added: “We are very grateful to Sport England through Active Cumbria for supporting this. Julie and Stephen as professional instructors did a great job and thanks too to filmmaker John and all the Independence Studio members for making a really good job of these videos which will be of such benefit to so many people in lockdown.”

The Royal Mencap Society’s Claire Tritton said they would make the videos available across the country. Over the next few days you will be able to see the videos at and at the Active at Home section on Active Cumbria’s website at