A group of 25 people from Dementia Friendly Alton, smiling at he camera at Lepe Beach, New Forest.

Over 4800 people take part in ‘Life Changing’ Physical Activity

Date: 10 January 2024   Author: Energise Me

“…I have met new friends, learned new skills and I get out of my house a lot more now and that has made me a lot more physically active.” Local people have been telling us how they’ve benefitted through Investing in Communities projects….

In April 2022 we launched the second phase of Investing in Communities funding, part of the Sport England Together Fund.

The word ‘unprecedented’ was perhaps over-used when describing the COVID 19 Pandemic, but we know that what felt like two years indoors, did have unprecedented impact on people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. We also know that people from lower socio-economic groups, culturally diverse communities, people with disabilities and those living with a long-term health condition were disproportionately impacted. Their ability to be physically active was greatly reduced.

These communities deserve to reap the benefits of being physically active, lowering the risk of depression, improving physical health, and enabling social connection.

Investing in Communities was key to us helping tackle the inequalities faced by these communities, as they recovered from the pandemic. We awarded over £200,000 in funding, connecting with communities right across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

From high octane cycling and boxing to more gentle options like yoga and Pilates, there was real variety of activities across 35 different projects. Participants could even give cheerleading, horse-riding and sailing a go.

The organisations we funded required support to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, so they could continue to support their communities. Some were new partners for us, expanding to provide physical activity after seeing a great decline in their service user’s physical ability and stamina following a long period of inactivity. Many also saw a decline in their users’ mental health, with some working with local social prescribers to use physical activity to improve health conditions.

In total, over 4,800 people from priority communities took part in programmes between April 2022 and September 2023 and we are thrilled that 96%[1] of people are planning to continue to take part in a form of activity.

And it wasn’t just their physical health the programme helped; participants were surprised by the other benefits they experienced too. 63% said the activities helped them to manage their overall mental wellbeing, and 70% built new friendships and social connections. Several people told us the experience had been life changing. But don’t just take our word for it…

Here’s what some of our participants had to say….

An audio described version of this video is also available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Get Involved

Funding is a crucial element to getting some of these projects started, but we’re always looking for new and creative ways to make them sustainable. Some participants have now switched to a volunteer role to help a project continue, for others they’re taking their learnings to expand projects into new spaces.

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to partner with us to help your local community through offering grant funding, providing training or perhaps donating space or equipment please contact grants@energiseme.org.

[1] Investing in Communities evaluation survey – 336 participant responses.

Our Partners

Helping us tackle inactivity to boost health and happiness

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get energising ideas direct to your inbox