This week’s #madeinsandwell Monday spotlight is on Creative Active Lives: creating positive social impact for local communities

Creative Active Lives CIC is a non-profit organisation in Sandwell that delivers tailored, inclusive activity sessions to people with physical or learning disabilities, hearing or visual impairments, dementia, autism, language barriers, refugees, and disadvantaged children and young people.

The organisation provides large scale festival and event entertainment and programming, corporate activity sessions, care home and school sessions, and even birthday parties. Its focus is on providing activity sessions for people who have barriers to accessing physical and creative activities, working with partner organisations to deliver the sessions.

Creative Active Lives was founded by Rachel Conlisk, who also runs Oldbury-based social enterprise Spinsonic Circus Academy. Rachel and Spinsonic were featured in one of our #madeinsandwell stories back in March 2018. Rachel was travelling across the UK to give hula hoop workshops and performances, as well as manufacturing bespoke hula hoops for children and adults.

Since then Spinsonic has delivered hula hooping and circus workshops for Sandwell Adult Social Care, Birmingham Disability Sport, Birmingham MIND, MENCAP, the Alzheimer’s Society, Ageing Better in Birmingham, Beacon centre for the blind and run hundreds of private workshops with ages ranging from four to 84!

Rachel is also on the Birmingham Disability Sport Forum and the board of Active Black Country. She is dedicated to making physical activity inclusive, accessible, creative and fun. She believes that physical and creative activity is vital to improving mental health, fitness, emotional wellbeing and reducing social isolation.

Rachel’s latest venture Creative Active Lives has recently been awarded the prestigious Grow It award from UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs. The award provides £15,000 of funding and tailored business support that will significantly help Creative Active Lives to widen the positive social impact for communities who experience barriers to accessing physical or creative activities to improve their health and wellbeing.

UnLtd works with partners from both the public and private sectors to deliver social impact by harnessing the potential of social entrepreneurs to solve society’s biggest challenges.

The award manager for Unltd Adam Hall said: “Rachel is a truly outstanding social entrepreneur who demonstrates deep empathy for the people she enables to live more creative and active lives.

“It’s been a real pleasure seeing her social business go from strength to strength over the past two years and I am excited to see how this UnLtd Award enables her to create an even deeper impact.”

With the help of the funding, Creative Active Lives will provide activity sessions, including circus skills, sensory bubbleology, T’ai Chi, dance workshops, Zumba and Zumba Gold, hula hooping, clay play, canvas painting, beading, arts, crafts and Boxercise. All the activities are adaptable for seated and non-seated individuals of all ages.

Rachel said of the award: “The business support and funding from Unltd will enable us to develop our services and expand our reach in the community creating social activity sessions for our local communities.”

Creative Active Lives already works with the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley MBC, Sandwell MBC, Birmingham Hippodrome, the Alzheimer’s Society, Deaf BID Services, KIDS Charity, Kisimul Schools and Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children, amongst others, to provide entertainment and activities.

Rachel said: “We pride ourselves on our network of expert delivery partners who are passionate about working with our priority communities, and number amongst them professional artists, a Guinness World Record Holder, Britain’s Got Talent star and international circus performers. We are based in Oldbury but we cover the whole of the UK to provide exciting, engaging activities and entertainment.

“We love to bring people together to try new experiences, discover new skills and talents, and discover common interests, but most of all to have fun! Our mission is to spread joy, change lives, and empower diverse communities.”

Congratulations to Creative Active Lives and keep up the amazing work!

#madeinsandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #madeinsandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.