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Chigwell neighbours getting to know each other in street workouts

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 June 2020

Elyse Blemmings leads twice weekly workouts for her neighbours in Chigwell. Picture: Christopher Johnson

Elyse Blemmings leads twice weekly workouts for her neighbours in Chigwell. Picture: Christopher Johnson

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Twice a week neighbours in Chigwell step outside their homes with children in hand.

'I do it because not only does it make me feel great, it makes them feel great, and it keeps us connected.' Picture: Christopher Johnson'I do it because not only does it make me feel great, it makes them feel great, and it keeps us connected.' Picture: Christopher Johnson

They wave to each other from across the street, clapping and singing “don’t stop movin’ can you feel the music”.

Together they follow the guidance of Elyse Blemmings, who has taken her workout sessions outside.

Elyse, 31, better known as The Mancunian Motivator, moved from Manchester six months ago to support a bereaved friend.

During lockdown an elderly neighbour noticed Elyse leading free workouts for beginners from her patio in Chigwell Park and asked if she would do sessions for the whole neighbourhood.

Elyse has been leading the residents in weekly sessions ranging from aerobic exercises to core workouts since the third week of lockdown.

“I come out and I do it because not only does it make me feel great, it makes them feel great, and it keeps us connected,” she said.

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Communities around the world have experienced a newfound collective spirit during the coronavirus pandemic.

From opera singers serenading their neighbours from their balconies in Italy to more than 400,000 Britons signing up to volunteer for the NHS in March.

People are finding creative ways to come together and support each other in a time where we are all encouraged to keep our distance.

Elyse’s workout sessions have brought a normally reclusive community out in the open together. Mark Johnson, 58, has seen a change in his neighbourhood since the coronavirus outbreak.

“Before this happened, I would never speak to my neighbours and they wouldn’t speak to me.

“If you ever tried to greet them most would just ignore you.

“Now as I walk down my street, people make eye contact, they smile, they wave at you.

“In a period where everything is so negative, where people are afraid to get close to someone outside their household, people are finding solace in each other, which is such a beautiful thing.”

Elyse says she hopes we will learn some new approaches to life. “This pause provides people with a great opportunity to make time to try new things, to learn something different, and that’s what my sessions are about – bringing people together who are hungry to learn and to grow.”


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