Eco pupils and Trust make Ewood Park green

Blackburn Rovers Community Trust (BRCT) welcomed hundreds of eager pupils from across the North West who want to make a sustainable difference to their lives and those of future generations. 
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FIT FANS with Bolton Wanderers opened Gemma’s eyes to health and wellbeing

Prior to attending her first FIT FANS session, Gemma was apprehensive and reluctant to get involved in the programme as she had some misconceptions surrounding the programmes morals and outcomes.

She believed that like other weight loss initiatives, weekly weigh-ins would be made in front of the group, with participants feeling as though they would have to explain themselves in an uncomfortable environment.

However, Gemma exclaims: “I was so very wrong.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change, and weight loss are sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, and reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in reduction in blood pressure, and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

Gemma saw her weight increase after her wedding, but she desired to feel better about herself.  FIT FANS has allowed her to do just that, all with the support of other women just like her.

She said:

“Once we had started and I had met the other ladies, I started to relax and think that I wasn’t the only person feeling the same way and started to feel like we were all in this together.”

The sustainable approach of FIT FANS is unlike any other where participants partake in a blended session of classroom and physical activities.

Gemma explains:

“I learned so much in our classroom part of the sessions, some things were an eye-opener – how much cheese is classed as a portion for example (shocking), other things I knew but weren’t putting into practice. It gave me a real boost to think about what I am putting into my body, about portion sizes, and about how much I move.”

With a boost of willpower and knowledge, Gemma was able to re-evaluate her diet and start to implement some of what the course had taught her. This was beneficial for Gemma’s weight loss but also for her general health and wellbeing.

She said:

“The physical exercise parts were the bits I loved the most. I really enjoy the feeling afterward and how much stronger and fitter I am becoming week after week.”

The 12-week FIT FANS programme with Bolton Wanderers has provided Gemma with the foundations to continuously implement a healthy diet and regular exercise in her day-to-day life.

PNCET and Guild Lodge partnership has given ex-service user John a new future to embark on with the Trust

John Richardson has progressed from a user of Preston North End’s Community and Education Trust’s partnership with Guild Lodge to giving back to the community and creating a better future for himself.

John was a patient at Guild Lodge, a mental health unit in Goosnargh, Preston when Tom Drake, the Trust’s CEO, visited to deliver weekly sessions to the service users. This meeting was the start of a whole new future for John having been in Guild Lodge for three and a half years.

The partnership between Guild Lodge and PNECET meant Tom quickly noticed John’s nature of engagement and willingness towards other participants. Consequently, John was offered the opportunity to volunteer within the Trust. Having been discharged from Guild Lodge, John began his evolving journey with Preston as he started as a volunteer and now a casual member of staff where he has gained paid employment working across the Community Engagement and Health and Wellbeing programmes.

John has also actively been involved in the Trust’s holiday activities and food programme, soccer schools as well as delivering PL Kicks sessions to younger generations of the community and has also engaged with men’s mental health group, Andy’s Man Club.

He explained:  “When I was at Guild Lodge, Tom Drake [PNECET CEO] came down and introduced himself and gave me some training. He later offered me a job. Now I’m a member of staff and I’m going back into Guild Lodge to help what Tom started.

“It’s helped me mature. It’s something I enjoy, which is a bonus. I’m doing it for myself, getting more confident, and helping children back on to the straight and narrow.”

John’s desire to serve the community that helped him has gained significant recognition as he was awarded Preston’s Community Gateway Association ‘Unsung Hero’ award.

He said: “I’ve been giving back to the community, that’s what I wanted to do. I’ve been helping other people get out of trouble, giving talks to young people and getting them off the wrong path and getting them onto the right path. I’m just enjoying my job.”

Ipswich Town Community Trust provides the light at the end of the tunnel for Chris with Kickstart placement

Chris Moore has recently joined Ipswich Town Community Trust as a Health and Well-being Activator to give back to the same community that helped him after an ongoing battle with his mental health.

For much of the last 10-15 years, Chris has been fighting severe depression and anxiety but even more recently active psychosis. Consequently, he found day-to-day living difficult without even considering the huge impact a new job could have.

Despite this, with the help of his family, close friends, and mental health services in Suffolk, Chris is now at a stage where he can manage the symptoms and voices he incurs every day.

He heard about the opportunity with Ipswich Town and “felt this was a perfect way to give back to the community and services in Suffolk.” Although, mental health is a problem he faces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Chris is determined to “prove to others that a mental health diagnosis is not the end, that young people with mental health issues can make it through, and that there is help there for everyone.”

As Chris takes a big step in his journey, one that wouldn’t have seemed possible before, he praises the Community Trust’s understanding of his circumstances. He said: “My new role allows me the freedom to get involved with what I’m passionate about helping the community. As well as being hugely supportive of my mental health conditions and workplace adjustments to make me more comfortable.

“I want to just say thank you to my support network of my Friends, Family, My Support worker & mental health care team, and last but not least, my new colleagues within the ITFC Community Trust team. Because if it wasn’t for all of you, I would not be in the place I am today, and I couldn’t help the community that helped me”.

Chris’ passion and desire to ensure he can help as many people as he can is evident in such detailed ideas and plans through his new role.He has already using his experience to help students at the local Suffolk One sixth form college in their future prospect.

He highlights: “I’m aiming to set up a scheme in the new year that combines the use of sport and exercise to battle the symptoms of mental health issues, whilst at the same time teaching members of the community about health and well-being factors relating to their own and others mental health conditions.

As well as this I’m also in the intermediate stage of setting up day trips to the stadium for game days and sport sessions, at the moment I’m involved in talks with management at Ipswich Hospital to get some of the dementia patients and staff day trips to games and sports sessions.”

Although Chris has experienced some very dark moments in his ongoing journey with his mental health, Ipswich Town Community Trust has provided him with the light at the end of the tunnel to give back and support his community.

 

 

“The Extra Time hubs have given me my husband back. That’s all I could ask for”

Roy Huckfield found his purpose in life through work.  However, as Roy returned to Shropshire to retire after 16 years of working abroad, it became a difficult period for him to deal with especially having lost connection with many of his old friends. Having represented Team Great Britain at the Olympic Games, Roy was accustomed from an early age to dedicating his time to learning and nurturing skills in order to reaching his goals. Consequently after retiring, Roy lacked a purpose that had seen him excel previously and he became lost without a sense of belonging.

Unfortunately, Roy found these difficulties all too real and lost sight of himself. However, with the support of his family and through his strength of character, Roy was slowly able to contemplate a recovery after receiving a flyer advertising Shrewsbury Town’s Extra Time Hub. The hubs are an initiative to help combat social isolation and aid a happier, healthier retirement and Catherine Huckfield, Roy’s wife believes the hubs have been ‘the making’ of her husband.

Roy attended the group and was welcomed with open arms. As the weeks passed, Roy’s confidence grew, and his personality began to shine through and reflect on other participants.  When a new technology club was created, Roy past role in IT was once again valuable and he was now confident enough to take a lead role, passing on his tech knowledge and know-how through demonstrations and lessons. Within a small number of weeks, Roy was known as ‘The Head of Tech Club’ and grew into the role. The  sense of purpose Roy lost was now back with a vengeance.

Roy explained: “It makes me feel absolutely wonderful to be able to help somebody… it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me because it got me out and meeting people and doing things and feeling confident again to try and do things again it brought me back to life.”

The Extra Time Hub has had such an impact on Roy’s demeanor, especially his increased confidence, Roy has been able to further aid his community through his IT expertise as he works for Shropshire Council providing 1 to 1 support.

Catherine concludes,

“The Extra Time hubs have given me my husband back. That’s all I could ask for”

How FIT BORO helped Ged overcome his anxiety and lose 13kg

Ged Canny is a 60-year-old Service Manager from Middlesbrough who, in 2019, had a knee replacement operation due to an old sporting injury that had never been addressed. The ensuing operation and recuperation including a significant time off work took its toll on both Ged`s mental health and confidence.

Having previously been an active individual, Ged made the tough decision to not take part in physical activity after his operation to avoid any further complications. This meant stopping his hobbies such as cycling, squash, and running. However, returning to work would be a distraction for Ged to focus his mind elsewhere and be involved in social situations but the world would be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that would force Ged to work from home.

Whilst working from home he got used to working long hours and eating at all different hours of the day with his usual routine very much out of sync. Although, self-admittedly Ged’s diet prior to this period was not the most nutritious. This coupled with the lack of face-to-face contact with others and decreased activity found his self-confidence and overall mental health deteriorating. Consequently, Ged’s physical health suffered too with his weight increasing to 104kg and his waist size to 48 inches.

As normality started to creep back in and lockdown restrictions were being eased, Ged was adamant that he needed to do something about his health and wellbeing. He came up with an idea to organise walking football amongst his friends who had had similar experiences during the enforced lockdowns in order to combine fitness with reconnecting with people face-to-face.

Through his participation, Ged was made aware by friends of the FIT BORO programme. He signed up for the programme along with a couple of friends and another 25 like-minded participants. Each week he took part in a combination of exercise sessions and nutritional workshops delivered by coaches from the MFC Foundation. Despite the anxiety of his previous knee injury, Ged`s confidence grew over the course of the programme and he pushed himself to improve, achieve and excel in his goals.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss are sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

Over the period of the course, Ged regularly set himself goals in order to achieve what he wanted; one example being replacing his favourite food, crisps, with healthier options. Although Ged initially struggled through fear of repercussions of his injury, he quickly proved a popular member of the group, helping to encourage and motivate others.

Andrew Dixon, a friend of Ged`s said “Ged has done so well on the programme and has really motivated me to stick with the course. It is so much easier doing the workouts with like-minded people, we all look forward to catching up with one another every week. With Ged`s increased fitness levels the only problem now is our Walking football sessions are becoming faster and faster”.

Although FIT FANS helped Ged lose 13kg to become healthier and more active, it also had secondary effects on reducing his blood pressure.

Ged said: “I would recommend the FIT BORO programme to anyone as it has been an amazing experience for me and helped to improve my life both physically and mentally. I have found exercising with like-minded individuals really motivating as we are all doing it for the same reasons. I really look forward to seeing everyone every Monday night!”.

Paul South, the Health Coordinator at MFC Foundation, said “It has been wonderful to see how well Ged has done on the course. Despite reservations due to previous injuries Ged has grown in confidence and really achieved significant changes both physically and mentally. As well as increasing in confidence Ged has also inspired others to do the same, ensuring a team-like mentality on the course whereby people look forward to attending each week”.

FIT FANS returned to Deepdale in 2021 with great success

FIT FANS returned to Deepdale in 2021 with 59 men and women completing the 12-week programme at Preston North End throughout the last year.

The programme enables participants to partake in physical activity whilst also educating them on lifestyle habits that can be changed in small, manageable steps to create a sustainable lifestyle. Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country. It is a free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

One of the male participants, Vijay Parekh lost just under 10kg in weight and 6cm on his waist measurements, these changes also resulted in a reduction of his BMI. Vijay started his fitness journey prior to enrolling on FIT FANS with Preston North End’s Community and Education Trust but he credits the programme for his ability to lose weight whilst gaining increased knowledge on factors such as calorie intake, portion sizes and step counts.

He said: “It’s just been brilliant. Seeing the differences between the beginning and now, I’m really happy with it.

“Physically I’ve seen a lot of difference, mentally as well because losing weight has helped out. Mentally I feel better. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in the sessions, which has been brilliant, just to help keep losing weight.”

Carole Baldwin was part of the cohort in summer 2021 but because of the positive effects it has had on her life, she has remained involved in the programme as a volunteer to support others starting out their FIT FANS journey.

She lost 10.2kg over the 12-week period and 13.7cm on her waist, figures and results that have changed her life.

She explained: “I’ve absolutely loved it right from day one. My blood pressure is down a lot, I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained confidence, I’m happier than I have been for years and years. I’ve now been given the knowledge and the skills to carry on with this for the rest of my life, and I will, I’ve no intentions of going back to the old Carol, never again, I’m staying like this forever.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

To find out more about FIT FANS click here

Lincoln City Foundation are removing the stigma of mental health with Unmasked!

In March last year, Lincoln City Foundation pledged to support male mental health by launching Team Talk. Team Talk supports men across Lincolnshire with peer-to-peer support sessions on a Monday evening, delivered by Andy’s Man Club, and football sessions allowing men to find their release through physical activity.

Since the launch in 2021, Lincoln City has supported 119 men with their mental health and counting.

This March, Lincoln City is preparing to launch a brand-new session in their Team Talk programme, to reach and support even more people. Partnering with Unmasked Mental Health, they will be delivering a peer-to-peer support hub every Thursday evening from 7 – 9 pm at the LNER Stadium, starting on 10th March. The Unmasked Mental Health hub welcomes both men and women aged 16+.

Unmasked Mental Health Support Groups are for anyone who is experiencing emotional distress. People are free to talk about their mental health – or not: the support group gives space to make that choice. The groups are informal and relaxed. They are ‘peer support groups (meaning people get support from each other), not therapy groups, although, for some, they may have a therapeutic benefit. All groups are led by a facilitator or co-facilitators whose role is to encourage the group to develop and flourish in a safe, non-judgmental and inclusive way.

Doug Dennison, Founder of Unmasked Mental Health says,

Lincoln City Foundation and Unmasked Mental Health are committed to making a difference to mental health in Lincolnshire.

We are proud to be able to partner with another professional and like-minded organisation to provide the support desperately needed to women and men across our county and the people of Lincoln.”

Lincoln City Foundation remains committed to making a difference to mental health in Lincolnshire. They are proud to be able to partner with another professional organisation to provide quality care to the people of Lincoln who need it. Adding an additional hub will support men who may not be able to make the Monday session or those that want additional weekly support. They are also pleased that the Unmasked Mental Health sessions enable women to access support, making the offering fully inclusive.

Alice Carter, Head of Healthier Communities from Lincoln City Foundation said,

Supporting individuals to improve their mental wellbeing is a key part of our mission at the Foundation and we are proud to collaborate with Unmasked Mental Health to provide a safe space for men and women to access peer support. This complements our existing Team Talk programme, and strengthens our commitment to breaking down barriers which prevent people from asking for help.”

To find out more about the Team Talk Programme click here.

Passionate about mental health support?

Sign up to support the Team Talk project with one of Lincoln City’s fundraising events. Run the Lincoln City Half Marathon or take A Walk in the Park for Male Mental Health and help Lincoln City to make a difference in Lincolnshire.

 

FIT FANS will help you achieve your goals in 2022!

As we transition into the New Year, you may have set the stereotypical get fitter resolution but lack the knowledge and tools to make a sustainable change. You might be looking at purchasing a gym membership or that magic latest diet fad but before you do be sure to check out your local football club and their FIT FANS initiative; it’s FREE, inclusive and fun!

The programme enables people to learn and put into practice small, consistent changes to improve their health.

Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country. It is a free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

However, the benefits extend much further than just weight loss, with many participants commenting on the positive effects it has had on their mental health and social activity.

Nic attended FIT FANS with Northampton Town Community Trust credits the programme for indirectly helping those close to the participants too. He said, “It has not only changed my life but changed my kids lives too.”

The programme brings a diverse group of individuals together to form an environment that mirrors that of a family.  A FIT ROVERS participant echoes:  “Taking part in FIT ROVERS was the best thing I’ve ever done. The sessions and workouts are brilliant, but the camaraderie and banter is even better. I lost over a stone and a half but even more importantly, I feel like I’ve learned to enjoy myself again and that people like me, which has made me like myself again.”

Lifelong Villa fan, Kate attended her beloved clubs FIT FANS programme which gave her the motivation to change even after the end of the 12-week programme:

“The 12 week programme was fun, informative, and motivating. The classes have set us both on our way to a whole new healthier and fitter lifestyle. Michelle, Dru and Josh supported us all the way and delivered the health and fitness messages in a way that made us feel like we could succeed.

This motivation has stayed with us even though the course has ended. We have since signed up to more fitness classes, are watching what we eat and are losing more weight.”

In 2020, the programme won the Leaders in Sports Community Award which showcases the most innovative organisations and people driving the sports industry forward.

1000’s of people have made massive improvements to their health and lifestyle and there’s no reason that can’t be YOU. So before you spend a fortune on gym membership or weight loss plans, try your local football club, it’s FREE, proven to work and you might find having fun and making new friends too.

FIT ROBINS allowed City fan Sam to improve his health and wellbeing after contracting COVID-19 twice

Bristol City Robins Foundation has helped Robins fan Sam improve his health and wellbeing in time for the Christmas festivities. 

After contracting Coronavirus twice, Sam’s fitness had been on the decline and he would struggle to climb a set of stairs without coming over breathless.

Sam explained: “I was sick of how I was feeling and was ready to make a change. After reading about the FIT ROBINS program, it seemed to offer a good balance of education and fitness. Unlike other diet programs I have tried in the past, this felt like it would provide me with the tools to make permanent changes rather than temporary ones.”

FIT FANS offers both an educational and physical outlook on a more healthy lifestyle. This balance has enabled Sam to continuously make small changes to his lifestyle that has amounted to huge results.  He now plans in advance to ensure he eats healthier and make better choices with food, finding time to exercise even if that is just a case of parking further away to get in those extra steps.

With the exercise that Sam has been completing, he has seen vast improvements in his physical fitness whilst losing weight along his journey.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

He said:  “The program also enabled me to make changes that meant I did not need to follow any strict diets or restrict what I could have. Not at any point have I felt deprived on my journey, and I feel confident these changes are something that is sustainable and becomes a part of my everyday life.”

The variation of each session has seen Sam partake in a range of exercise that keeps him engaged from playing football, circuits or even just a walk around the local area. However, a secondary benefit for Sam was the camaraderie that FIT ROBINS provided in  getting to know the other participants and supporting each other on their own journeys.

Sam praised the coaches at the Foundation, he said:  “The coaches offered support throughout the program and although encouraged they never put any pressure on anyone. It was reassuring to know that I could go at my own pace, and they would be there to offer help and advice if required.”

FIT ROBINS Lead Coach Lee Gillett commented on how FIT FANS can be the foundation for change that reaches all generations of families, he said: “It’s really tough for families at this time of year, if we can make a small difference and keep our children active and well feed with freshly cooked, healthy meals we can make a real difference to those young people.”