As we stride through some of the barriers of the pandemic, getting active and out into the community hasn’t just been challenging recently but to some people getting out of their homes and even accessing their favourite hobbies can stifle them from getting active and experiencing a good quality of life, let alone living the five ways to wellbeing mantra to move, give, be mindful, connect and keep learning which they may aspire to but motivation can dwindle when constant barriers prevent them from accessing basic amenities let alone moving more… leaving well being on the backfoot.
Barriers may include disabilities (visible and hidden), age, cultural background, transport issues, self-esteem, lack of finance, and unconventional family life to name but a few.
That’s where community hubs can be transformational, and whilst any cold DIY set-up community hall is far better than none, as it’s the people who make the difference, after all, I am someone who enjoys a bit of calm luxury, undercover heating, with little time and a range of needs and desires in any spare time I have.
That’s where I have realised that forward-thinking shopping centres which are actually embedded into the unchanging essential roots of community spirit ironically embedded in history are shining the light on how everyone can thrive with the changing face of retail, creativity, independent business, sports, activities for all ages whilst combining necessary amenities such as shops, pharmacies, social spaces and places to eat, drink and share a cuppa!
TheRidings Shopping Centre in Wakefield is leading the way in transforming our view of such hubs, not to mention the intrinsic point that it is extremely accessible for everyone… helping join up some of the dots so that regardless of background everyone can fulfill the five ways to wellbeing which is important for optimal health (plus the often neglected need for leisure, entertainment, variety, and the arts!).
It has a number of entrances which are accessible via bus, foot, car, taxi or minibus. As well as everything from an award-winning Age UK Cuppa club and coffee shops to The Den Play Centre for Tots, F.A.B Breastfeeding charity and Antiques & Collectibles shops.
There are places to play table tennis, eat, sit down and also navigate around.
That’s not to mention the latest cultural offering from of creative groups, The Art House and ArtWalk exhibitions, music and independent shops.
From Morrisons to Marks and Spencers, from Pound Land and car boot sales to find a designer bargain in a charity shop or T.K.Maxx.