Cotman Housing Association, part of the Places for People Group, has become one of the first registered providers of social housing to receive National Lottery funding from Sport England's Active Ageing fund.
Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy Towards An Active Nation, and launched the Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s. The fund has awarded Cotman £259,256 to help increase activity in the communities it operates in.
The Still On The Go project will get 500 older people moving more over the next three years. It will challenge people's attitudes towards exercise by promoting physical activity with achievable targets.
Cotman will make exercise more accessible and support the people in its communities to understand the benefits it can have to their overall wellbeing, such as reducing social isolation.
Working with fellow Group company Places for People Leisure, a regular activity programme will be delivered at Cotman's housing schemes in the Norfolk and Suffolk areas. Personal trainers from Riverside Leisure Centre in Norwich will deliver weekly classes such as Zumba and swimming while also offering tailored one-to-one support and health guidance.
Jane Warnes, Managing Director of Cotman Housing Association
"As a provider of sheltered housing and older peoples' outreach services, we will use our expertise to engage with older people experiencing social isolation and whose wellbeing has been affected by virtue of recent life-changing events.
"Research by Active Ageing shows that the older people get, the more likely they are to do less than half an hour of exercise per week. Still On The Go aims to tackle this issue and make sure that over 55s are meeting or exceeding the 30 minute target. We want to apply our knowledge of the customer group and use current experiences to shape the delivery of the project.
"Older people living in our schemes and residents from the surrounding neighbourhoods are already benefiting from weekly tailored personal fitness sessions and virtual exercise classes. These virtual classes have been running for more than five years with some 20 older people attending them weekly and this has been part of the inspiration behind rolling the project out more widely."
June and Peter Simpson of Ashby Court, Norwich have been Cotman customers for five years. They've recently struggled to maintain their active lifestyles after suffering health setbacks but have been easing themselves back in by taking part in weekly activities organised by Cotman.
June said: "The instructor makes us feel comfortable and makes it fun. He understands what we can and can't do and doesn't push us.
"He helps us to see the benefits in our daily lives. I find it relaxing and have a laugh and chat with the other group too. I like the fellowship of doing it as a group."
Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England
"Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We're delighted to be supporting Cotman Housing Association with National Lottery funding to help get older adults lead happier and heathier lives. We'll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country."
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