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ClubWorks Feature - Dao Lu

We touched base with Director of Dao Lu Aileen Hamdan, to see how ClubWorks has broadened their reach, especially within the female demographic


ClubWorks is a programme managed by London Sport and funded by the Mayor of London. It is designed to help support clubs and organisations develop in the capital, getting 1,000,000 Londoners more active by 2020.

In celebration of Women’s Sport Week last year, we took a closer look at the initiatives Dao Lu is putting in place to promote Women in Sport. Thanks to the Ultimate Wellbeing programme funded by the Lottery Fund, Dao Lu has been able to set up a women’s Tai Chi Corner in Lloyd Park to encourage more women to get physically active. This was not the first time Dao Lu showed a great interest in helping women get more active. In March 2017, Sportivate sponsored an event, Tai Chi Breeze for Youth, aimed at women and girls. This was a free event for females aged between 11-25 with the goal of getting more BAME women involved in physical activity.

Dao Lu, set up by the local community in the borough of Waltham Forest, focuses on the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi. Their mission is to promote Tai Chi’s health benefits around local communities and beyond, primarily focusing on increasing female participation, for an overall healthier mind, body and lifestyle.

We touched base with Director Aileen Hamdan, to ask how the ClubWorksprogramme has helped increase female participation and what she thinks the future holds for Dao Lu and Tai Chi.

When did you begin working with the ClubWorks programme?
We joined the ClubWorks programme in back in October 2015. We needed external help to reassure our strategic directions, upskill our team and increase participation numbers. The ClubWorks programme was great opportunity to successfully achieve all three of these goals.

How has working with ClubWorks helped you and your organisation?
Our knowledge on the types of governance and different funding streams has increased. From what we have learnt, we decided to expand our workforce and we recruited two more lead instructors to deliver more sessions for people with dementia and disabled people. An expansion in our class offer has increased our participation numbers and will fundamentally lead to a more sustainable programme which is very positive for the future of Dao Lu.

What support services have you accessed through the ClubWorks programme?
We have been fortunate enough to access many workshops that we have been able to use to our advantage. Thanks to ClubWorks, we have been selected as one of six clubs to be part of a pilot with Women in Sport where we have been offered even more support. The pilot is based around using Women in Sport’s insight to make our sessions more accessible for women and girls, a topic of extreme significance, with it being Women’s Sport Week.

Our support officer has been practical, responsive and constructive, which has ultimately helped us with our Sportivate application. Thanks to our Relationship Officer Kieran Connolly, who revised our application, we were awarded funding and learned how to complete the process ourselves. We have just completed the delivery of the latest block of training to a faith group of women and girls.

What have been your biggest achievements in the time that you’ve been on the ClubWorks programme?
We have had five memorable achievements since joining ClubWorks, a few of which have been products of one another:

  1. We have seen a large increase in funding, with the support on the funding proposal, we successfully applied for Sportivate funding which has increased our reach significantly with girls and young women.
  2. As a result, we were awarded ‘The Outstanding Contribution to Health and Wellbeing’ award in our community on International Women’s Day 2017 hosted by Waltham Forest.
  3. Joining forces with ClubWorks has allowed us to put forward more extensive partnership work with local groups, allowing us to put on a very successful Tai Chi musical.
  4. We have expanded our offers and activities. Utilising our leadership skills to collaborate with 15+ local groups. The end result was Dao Lu being able to deliver a Wellbeing Day 2017 on Saturday 18 March.
  5. Finally, being included in the pilot programme with Women in Sport, this has helped us to understand how to engage more women at Dao Lu.

What does the future hold for your club?
Due to the continued support of ClubWorks we believe the future is bright for Dao Lu. As a consequence of our increased knowledge and skills, we are confident of the direction we are travelling in and determined to do our small part of helping London achieve its goal of #MostActiveCity in the world.


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