Funding was provided in 2021 to the Chinese Arts and Culture Centre in Telford, from Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund, to develop face -to-face and virtual Tai Chi and Qigong classes. Both activities are known to help reduce stress, increase relaxation, develop physical capabilities such as balance and strength and improve overall health. They also improve breathing functionality and are therefore particularly well suited to those with respiratory conditions. 

The Tai Chi and Qigong classes were held at the Chinese Arts and Culture Centre at Stafford Park in Telford, with live streaming for participants joining online.  The hybrid approach enabled people apprehensive to meet face to face or unable to travel to participate. 

 All classes included a seated version reducing barriers for people with a disability or long-term health conditions to be active. 

In September 2023, we went back to see class leader, Faye Yip, to find out how the classes have developed since the initial funding. Faye explained:

  • the classes have continued and gone from strength to strength.
  • She now offers 4 classes a week
  • up to 60 people attend some of the evening hybrid classes.
  • The classes are attracting people from across a wide age range, mainly 30 years plus, with some participants aged over 70. 

We spoke to Faye, as well as instructors and participants during our visit and asked how people are benefitting from taking part in the classes.  A wide range of physical and mental health benefits were communicated as well as the many social aspects benefits too, such as:

“The mind body link builds confidence and relieves anxiety and stress."

“Feeling relaxed but energized”

“Having enjoyment from taking part and the social side of being in a group."

We asked Faye how the Tackling Inequalities Funding has benefited her organisation.

  • the equipment purchased is proving invaluable
  • it opened up other opportunities to develop her Tai Chi and Qigong offers leading her to establish the ‘Faye Tai Chi Friends’ community group specifically focusing on Tai Chi and Qigong activity.

Faye was also eligible to apply for further grants such as Sport England's Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Fund.

Faye Tai Chi Friends have received free support from Energize STW as part of our Futureproofing programme including one-to-one mentoring with a specialist consultant and access to free online and face-to-face training opportunities. Faye has found the support from her mentor to be of great value with strides made in supporting sustainability as well as their longer-term vision.

Energize look forward to continuing to work with and support both the Chinese Arts and Culture Centre and Faye Tai Chi Friends and we’re excited to see what the future holds as Tai Chi and Qigong continue to gather interest across Telford and Wrekin and wider afield.