Community spirit shines

Hastings family helping neighbours of all ages stay active

A family synonymous with Scottish sporting success are fostering a community spirit in their street in Edinburgh and helping neighbours of all ages stay active.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March, rugby legend Scott Hastings, his wife Jenny and their daughter Kerry-Anne, a Scottish international hockey player, decided they were going to help their neighbours get some exercise and stay connected during lockdown.

The family started a socially distanced aerobics class in their street in the Warriston area of Edinburgh. The classes were so well attended, by residents young and old, that they continued throughout the pandemic and are still taking place six months later.

The idea for the class came about when one of the neighbours asked Jenny about a stretch, Jenny showed her in the street drawing the attention of another neighbour and they then talked about getting together to do some stretches and dancing in the street.

Scott, who won 65 caps for Scotland, said: “That was early into lockdown, we tried it and more and more people have joined in, we’ve had more than 30 people at times.

“We had a stretch of 100 consecutive days, we did the aerobics Monday to Saturday with a Sunday being a chat with a cup of tea and some cake and now we’ve moved to three days per week.

“It’s been great for the mental health of the community, we have all age groups attending and it has been great for their fitness and health.

"As soon as it starts everyone is smiling and having fun, all your worries lift and it just puts you in a better mood. It’s really brought the community together.”

Jenny added: “There’s no words to express how much enjoyment I get out of it, it’s great for my mental and physical health too. To be able to do it with my family and all our neighbours, it just lifts your spirits.”

Bob Rickard (pictured right), an 88-year-old neighbour of the Hastings family, has felt an incredible benefit from staying active in the aerobics class. A knee problem he had for months has now eased after regularly taking part.

He said: “Just getting together and getting out of the house, I have something to look forward to.

"I had problems with my knee for some months, it is now more or less cured because of the exercises.

“We’ve been meeting people we wouldn’t normally have seen, people in the street and further afield as well. It’s a mark on the calendar and something I look forward to.”

Chief Executive for sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “This has clearly been an extremely difficult time for people across Scotland.

"The Hastings family and their neighbours have shown how beneficial it is for us all to stay connected and active during these times, it is heartening to see the community spirit they have created.”

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