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Community approach to support people to be more physically active

Author: Duncan Merren Published: 11th July 2018 13:04

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Community approach to support people to be more physically active

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are excited to announce a new three-year joint project with Suffolk Sport. Active Wellbeing is a bespoke approach to help those who are physically inactive into more activity.

General levels of physical activity among older adults are low, leaving a high proportion insufficiently active to benefit their health. Typically, activity levels decline to even lower levels as people progress through old age and are often lower still amongst those living alone.

As well as being positive for social inclusion, being regularly physically active can help to reduce the risk of dementia by up to 30%, hip fractures by up to 68% and depression by up to 30% as well as prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases.

Active Wellbeing will work closely with the identified GP surgeries and Patient Participation Group members to develop partnerships with wider community organisations such as the Women's Institute, Parish Councils, local churches, OneLife Suffolk and many more.

Active Wellbeing will initially work with Fressingfield & Stradbroke Medical Centre in Mid Suffolk and with The Long Melford & Lavenham Practice in Babergh, celebrating and linking to the great work already taking place within those communities. They will also support the development of new activities where they are needed to help older people to become and stay, active. A Physical Activity Advisor, with the help of health professionals and the community, will identify and work with those people most in need of support by delivering clinics in the community. In the years ahead, Active Wellbeing will identify new areas within the districts to work with.

The Physical Activity Advisors have a wealth of experience supporting people who have genuine concerns or barriers to becoming more active such as cost; transport; management of chronic pain; no one to go with, etc., and will use this knowledge to guide people appropriately into activity. There will be a range of options available from free lifestyle activities such as walking and gardening, to group classes such as Tai Chi and Pilates.

Ben Jackson, Senior Development Officer, Health and Wellbeing at Suffolk Sport commented about the new project "We are delighted to be working with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils on the Active Wellbeing Project. Suffolk Sport is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people across Suffolk, inspiring everyone to be more active. Working with GP surgeries in rural areas, we can support staff and patients and create more active communities."

Active Wellbeing will be officially launched with a welcome event in each locality. On the 16th July between 10:00 - 11:30, Nick Pringle, Physical Activity Advisor for Babergh, will be at The Long Melford Library while Annie Groves, Physical Activity Advisor for Mid Suffolk will be in Fressingfield Methodist Church between 11:00 - 13:30 on the 17th July.

Councillor Margaret Maybury, Babergh Cabinet Member for Communities said: "This is a great partnership that supports our goal to encourage people who live and work in Babergh and Mid Suffolk to lead more active and socially inclusive lives. I encourage all residents within the Lavenham and Long Melford areas to become involved in this new community-based opportunity. I look forward to hearing from our residents how this programme has helped their daily lives."

Councillor Julie Flatman, Mid Suffolk Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing said: Our Councils' vision is to support, encourage and inspire our communities to be more active. Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference as rising obesity levels put more adults at risk of ill health. We encourage our residents that can to get involved with the Active Wellbeing programme and increase their activity.









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