Launch of project set to see more local people participate in exercise

Published Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Active for Health launch
Back row, left to right: Rebecca Atchinson - Public Health Principal, Project Lead; Penny Commons - NHS Falls Service; Cllr Maggi Clark - Mayor of Rotherham; Julie Cook - Therapy Practitioner, Integrated falls and fracture service; Ben Williams - Sport England; Gaynor Standish - NHS Falls Service; Lindsey Reece - Sheffield Hallam University, Senior Research Fellow; Amy Roden - Active for Health Project Co-ordinator, Public Health. Front row, left to right: Kate Martin - Highly Specialised Respiratory Physiotherapist, Breathing Space; Jade Barker - Rehabilitation Support Worker, Breathing Space; Lucy Fearons - Falls Therapy Practitioner.

Rotherham Council has officially launched their 'Active for Health' research project.

The project aims to give patients living with long term health conditions the confidence and support to take part in a professionally tailored long-term exercise plan.

The programme is the first of its kind in South Yorkshire and was set up following a successful bid to Sport England’s 'Get Healthy Get Active' Fund for £500,000 of National Lottery funding.

'Active for Health' provides specialist physical activity programmes for patients with any of the following conditions:

  • Cardiac or heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cancer 
  • Lower back pain
  • Falls or fractures

Patients on the scheme benefit from a specifically designed programme of exercise to aid their recovery, help maintain an active lifestyle and improve their long-term health, with emphasis on how physical exercise positively impacts on their condition and overall well-being. 

The programme began late last year with positive effects already being seen by the first set of participants. The official launch event aims to raise further awareness amongst healthcare professionals, patients and their families.

Advisory Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Cllr David Roche said, "This partnership approach is an excellent step forward in enabling residents with long term conditions to have the support and confidence to lead more active lifestyles. We are keen help people lead fulfilling healthy lives and to add years to life as well as life to years.

"The project is now live and specialist exercise sessions are taking place across the borough at various locations. Over 100 referrals from Healthcare professionals have been received already.  We are excited to further develop the project and increase the profile of the role that physical activity plays in rehabilitation and recovery."

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Community Sport at Sport England said, "Thanks to £500,000 of National Lottery funding, Active for Health is helping people with long-term health conditions take their first steps towards getting active. Focusing on improving health and well being, people in Rotherham are learning how to manage their conditions whilst having fun and meeting new people through the activities. Getting involved is easy, and I would urge all those who feel this might be right for them, to get in contact with Rotherham Council to find out more."

Ongoing motivation and patient support will be provided by the Health Trainers team, particularly working with patients who need a little more help to attend sessions and make behavioural changes, in addition, the programme will also be supported by volunteers known as 'community buddies', who will have an understanding of these conditions through personal experience or caring responsibilities, and provide emotional support and practical assistance to patients on a one-to-one basis during group sessions. Recruitment for buddies is ongoing, and anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is urged to contact the council.

Read more about Active for Health

Call 01709 363355 to volunteerimage