Wellness is something Lee-Anne Simpson spends a lot of time thinking about.
The Caledon East resident has a background in fitness that spans decades yet firmly believes “It’s about wellness, not simply fitness.”
While her personal passion has always been about inspiring people of all ages to transform their health and develop healthy lifestyle practices she finds herself lately thinking a lot about connection. Lee-Anne’s father passed away about 2 years ago after becoming ill while on a vacation in the Dominican Republic. She admits that “For a long time I was in a very dark place.”
The process of healing from that tragedy eventually involved a craving for human connection. “I reached out to friends for support and I soon realized that most of us feel we need more human contact. People are relying on social media for their connection, but it’s distant. There’s still a disconnect” she believes.
Lee-Anne called upon a hand-selected set of friends and acquaintances for an initial focus group. Sixteen people engaged and out of that came a smaller group of people with a purpose, who began to spend time on developing a new idea. Something that would get people off of social media and into a world that would allow them to meet with others and engage in wellness, even if they were restricted in terms of mobility or ability to commute.
Then the pandemic struck. All of a sudden the idea coalesced. “The current pandemic, while difficult for all of us, has got to be particularly hard on seniors; really on anyone who feels alone and isolated” Lee-Anne notes. Suddenly the Parlour Project grew wings.
What exactly is the Project? “Right now it is focused on health and wellness” she says excitedly. “But there is definitely a future vision about community connection, and interfacing, and being offline.” Like-minded people volunteer their time and add their area of expertise to an on-line meeting place dedicated to health and wellness. “Currently I have volunteers from Caledon, Innisfil, Barrie, Niagara, it’s amazing” Lee-Anne adds.
The schedule of activities presently includes core fitness, chair yoga, mediations, stretches, zumba, even organizing-your-home webinars. Every class is free. There is no selling. Participants use Zoom to watch and join in. Whether your camera is on you during the classes is a personal choice.
So far the Parlour Project has attracted over 600 people joining in from all over – Germany, Mexico, Montreal, Florida – and is growing by the week. The schedule is expanding each week with new programming and is posted on their Facebook page (The Parlour Project) and on Instagram (@ParlourProject). “Zoom has a free version of their app and it’s really all you need” enthuses Lee-Anne. If you need help getting set-up just reach out to Lee-Anne at email@example.com