Be Active Project - The story so far …
In the first two years the Be Active Project in Swindon has seen 1220 participants and trhoughput of people involved are 14,004. With 473 people having said they have a mental health condition and 313 preferred not to say. These numbers, we are well on course to not only achieve the Sport England expectations, and anticipate they will be overachieved.
A snapshot of what’s been happening since November…
Working in partnership with Swindon Shin Splints RC, we have hosted a beginners running group for the last 7 weeks, with the intention of getting participants from little running activity through to completing a 5KM distance. Numbers of participants have been fantastic, on an average week where weather has mostly been poor, we have seen anywhere between 40-60 regular runners.
To compliment these strong numbers further, the volunteer support has been spectacular, witnessing a regular cohort of volunteers up to 20 strong, running alongside the new runners, encouraging them to keep going when the going gets tough and offering real running advice, as many of these volunteers were beginners not too long ago themselves.
The intention with this group is to feed through to the Shin Splints RC group that meets every Wednesday and Saturday, where the group offers a variety of routes and speeds.
“Thanks for keeping us going guys. It's great to have the support of a lovely friendly team.”
“My first 5k run, felt amazing. Thank you shin splints”
“Such a brilliant run this morning, thank you for staying with me until the end, great encouragement kept me going...so supportive lol.”
“Thanks to all the mentors today-what a fantastic welcome. It’s very much appreciated by us beginners. See you next week.”
We’ve been delivering training …..
Most recently, we have been delivering the Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity to the CIC Innov8 Sportz in Marlborough. We are very much looking forward to speaking at the Swindon Sports Forum next month, with the intention of offering this training further to local sports clubs, where mental health is becoming a key area for clubs to improve their knowledge on in order to feel confident having conversations and offer support if needed.
Numbers continue to be strong …..
Participation numbers continue to be strong, and we are proud to welcome people from all walks of the Swindon community. It is a truly inclusive project that enables those with physical and learning disabilities, poor mental health and any ethnic background to participate.
We currently offer ladies only swimming, mixed swimming, yoga, football, running, walking, boxing and gym sessions.
Our partnership working has strengthened further, as we work with community groups, sports clubs, colleges and local authority in order to expand the offer further to harder to reach individuals.
Making a difference to individuals…..
Whilst the Be Active project remains a participation project that has worked with many people, the impact the activities have had on individual people experiencing poorer mental health have been life-changing. The people who have requested more one to one support have thrived in their chosen activities because of taking part in the Be Active Project.
“Thank you so much to everyone at Swindon MIND for putting this yoga on. Sophie is a wonderful teacher and I've now joined her regular classes and have vowed to try and do at least one session every week from here on in. I wouldn't have done that without this taster course. The Yoga has helped me physically and mentally during what is turning out to be a stressful time in my life. I was doing Sophie's breathing calming exercises at 3am this morning! So, thanks again to those who have arranged and funded this. A brilliant initiative that I hope helps many others too.” (Julie M, 2018)
5 Ways to Wellbeing …..
The Be Active project enables people to connect with others in these well attended sessions, engaging in conversations and feeling a part of the group. It lets people be active through the exercises of their choice, thus benefiting not only their mental health but physical health also.
Particularly with activities such as boxing, participants have been taking notice of the routines and drills and have commented on how the activities have acted as a positive distraction from worries and concerns of the day.
We have witnessed several people also give back their time to the project, volunteering to set up the sessions, assist the coaches or simply be there to support and have a conversation with those experiencing poor mental health at that time. Sport traditionally has been such an underrated means to alleviating poor mental health, and it is so evident in this project that through the five ways to wellbeing, people are making genuine recoveries.