UCLan director named Covid city hero
Feixia Yu receives Mayor of Preston Coronavirus Pandemic City Hero Award
A director at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has received a special award from the Mayor of Preston for helping people with their physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown.
Feixia Yu, the Director of UCLan’s Confucius Institute, has been awarded the Mayor’s Coronavirus Pandemic City Hero Award after offering nearly 300 free online tai chi and qigong classes since April 2020.
She said: “I am very honoured and grateful for the recognition, not just for the work I have put in, but also for the physical and mental benefits to the participants.”
When the national lockdown was announced, Feixia decided to offer people in Preston a free daily 30-minute session of tai chi to help people cope with the restrictions and to bring people together, albeit electronically.
"I am very honoured and grateful for the recognition, not just for the work I have put in, but also for the physical and mental benefits to the participants"— Feixia Yu, the Director of UCLan’s Confucius Institute
Using her local connections, the first 4.30pm session saw 12 people attend but word soon spread. By June, she had hundreds of regular attendees from across the UK and abroad, including France, Canada and Switzerland.
She said: “I had previously resisted doing any classes online, but the lockdown forced us all to embrace video technology. Word spread locally as I’m a member of the Preston People’s Choir and I’ve been involved in many cultural projects in the city.
“I wanted to provide a connection to people living alone and offer them something they could focus on for a short period of time every day. By the time I’d reached 100 consecutive days, hundreds of people were attending one or two classes a week but most days there’d be 50 at each session.”
When the restrictions eased, Feixia moved from daily to twice weekly sessions.
She said: “It is lovely to see people taking up the opportunity to practice with me in their own space.
"I am very grateful to all the participants. Their feedback has been amazing, their company keeps me going when I feel lazy"— Feixia Yu
“I think my free online classes make participants feel empowered that they are taking control of their own health, it’s free, there’s no travelling time or cost or worry about car parking, and it happens in the comfort of their own space.
“I am very grateful to all the participants. Their feedback has been amazing, their company keeps me going when I feel lazy, and they keep me on my toes so I have to practice every day and constantly upgrade my own training.”
The Mayor of Preston Covid-19 awards were created to recognise the outstanding support individuals and companies gave to the city of Preston during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/21. She received her certificate from Councillor Javed Iqbal, Mayor of Preston, recently.
Feixia, who is the founder of YuTaichi, is continuing her free twice weekly online classes on Wednesdays and Fridays between 5.30pm until 6.00pm throughout 2022.
To find out more, email YuTaichi.