Close to 3,000 local people in Salford and North Cambridgeshire have reaped the rewards of a £151,305 grant programme that has successfully promoted community cohesion and encouraged healthier and more active lifestyles in their local area.
The Community Activity Grant Programme, funded by Sport England and Clarion Housing Group, ran for 16-months across the two regions, where groups were encouraged to apply for grants of up to £10,000 to fund projects that promote regular activity that support a sustained lifestyle change. 19 projects across the two regions were funded.
Before getting involved with the programme, 29% of beneficiaries hadn’t done any regular activity in the last six months and 58% had done less than two 30-minute activity sessions per month.
Final results show that 93% of those who took part felt more positive about physical activity. 91% said the programme had inspired them to take part in two 30 minute sessions per month and 89% said that they felt motivated to keep up physical activity for at least six months once the programme finished.
96% agreed that project activities had been enjoyable and 86% stated the project had made them feel a greater sense of community in their local area.
The programme has provided positive outcomes for local communities, included improvements to health and wellbeing and increased community cohesion with individual programmes encouraging local people who wouldn’t normally engage to come together and take part in sessions.
Paul, who was involved in the 'Heritage Walking for Health' project led by Age UK in Salford has lost over five-stone since taking part in the programme. The project aimed to provide twice-monthly opportunities for older people to join walking groups and increase physical activity levels, therefore reducing social isolation and improving mental health and wellbeing.
I have always enjoyed walking and have found in recent years I was waking less and struggling to keep up with people. In order to be a credible leader for the project, I knew I had to address and improve my own health.
Since losing over five stone in weight, the improvements to my physical appearance helps to improve my personal wellbeing – it’s good to be able to impress people with what I have achieved. I feel empowered and satisfied with my achievements – and so much healthier.
In North Cambridgeshire, the 'Accessible Community Gardening Programme', led by Headway Cambridgeshire, ran weekly facilitated outdoor gardening activity sessions over a nine-month period and primarily benefitted people with a brain injury. The programme provided a safe and accessible outdoor space for people to improve physical activity, overall wellbeing and reduce social isolation.
James, who took part in the sessions, said:
If I go to the gym it doesn’t do anything for me as I can’t see any difference afterwards. With the gardening group, I can see that I have accomplished something. If you’d seen me before joining the group, I was a wreck. The group has given me the experience of socialising; I’m more confident ant have motivation to do more. I’m 100% happier since being involved – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Applications were considered from all not-for-profit, public sector and community groups and clubs for projects that aimed to encourage those who are least active in local areas, such as the elderly, disabled and those living with long-term health conditions, to apply the most.
Alongside running the grant scheme, Groundwork also provided the roles of two community enablers in order to support organisations on their grantee journey, by providing help with everything from filling in the application to project completion, in order to help grantees to make the most out of their funding.
Graham Duxbury, national CEO of Groundwork said:
It’s been really inspiring to see the positive results that have come from the programme. It’s important to recognise the projects have not only helped to improve individual health and wellbeing, but has encouraged and promoted the importance of community cohesion, and how by coming together, local people can help each other to achieve great things.
Ian Parr, Head of Investment Management at Sport England said:
The partnership with Groundwork has helped Sport England invest in communities and groups who would otherwise not approach us for funding. Not only have the projects helped many people become more physically active and improved their physical health, it’s fantastic to see so many people say how the funding has improved their mental well-being and how they feel about their local community. We would like to thank all the partners involved and hope those benefitting continue to enjoy the rewards of leading an active lifestyle.
Notes to Editors
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Find out more about the Community Grant Activity Programme.