20/07/2022 Aerial silks, laughter yoga and trapeze on offer with Sunderland Culture

An older woman enjoying swinging in an aerial silk hammock
New innovative ways to get people moving

By Sunderland Culture

The social prescribing team in Sunderland is always looking to push the boundaries of what they offer in relation to sport and physical activity

Sunderland’s Thriving Communities partnership is always looking at ways to push the boundaries when it comes to movement and sport. We all know the physical and mental health benefits and have seen first-hand the improvements that physical activity can have on individual and community health.

Sunderland Social Prescribing Manager, Vicki Kennedy, says:

“We want to continually challenge the norms around ageing and disability and have been testing creative innovative physical activities for everyone. We’ve programmed silent discos for children with special educational needs and disabilities, dance for those at risk of trips and falls and last year even tried trapeze, laughter yoga and aerial workshops for older people! To see the pure joy on the faces of the participants is incredible. A very special moment was seeing Marion, 95, swinging freely from an aerial silk hammock and laughing while suspended in the air for the very first time.”

It isn’t all thrill-seeking activity though, Groundwork - one of the Sunderland Social Prescribing partners uses nature and the outdoors for mindful walks, teaching practical horticulture and landscape skills, getting people interested and involved in preserving their local park and green space heritage. Sometimes we can overlook the simple health benefits of walking, taking in nature and being in fresh air – something I think we’ve all missed over the last year.

As a partnership, we are looking forward to providing more creative opportunities for people to engage in sports and physical activity as we move forward on our Thriving Communities journey. We hope to make a positive impact to people’s lives through physical activity, nature and creativity.

About Sunderland Culture

Sunderland Culture was set up in 2016 to bring together the cultural programmes of Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust into a single, independent, resilient delivery model and realise the ambition of a city brimming with creative potential. Sunderland Culture works in the National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, The Fire Station and delivers programmes of cultural engagement and events across the whole city. It works across the city to ensure the power of great art, culture and creativity is harnessed for the benefit of Sunderland, its residents and visitors. Sunderland Culture’s mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture.

In spring 2017, Sunderland Culture was successful in its bid to be one of 16 pilot areas for the Great Place scheme, jointly funded over three years by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund. The  funding is made possible by National Lottery players and seeks to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of communities. On April 1 2018, Sunderland Culture joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.


Vicki Kennedy is Social Prescribing Manager at Sunderland Culture.

Two young women smile as they help an older man swing from a trapeze


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