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Building on the success of the Big Sister Project to create more healthy communities.

Men Playing Footbal

We are committed to creating and supporting healthy Communities it’s part of what we do and what makes us Places for People. This is why we are so excited to launch our Active Communities programme to help more people live healthier lifestyles.

Creating healthy Communities is part of our overall strategy which was influenced by the extensive research we carried out in partnership with Cambridge University - focusing on how health inequalities arise because of the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age in – which provides answers to how place-based intervention reduces health inequalities when delivered at a local level.

Most recently through a collaboration of partners – Places Foundation, Places Leisure, Women in Sport, and Hey Girls, we have assisted in the delivery of the Big Sister Project which through 70 community partners and 68 schools has inspired over 3,250 teenage girls to get active through sport and exercise at their local leisure centre. The Big Sister project is an example of how successful these place-based interventions can be. There are currently 11 Places Leisure Centres delivering this project throughout this year and beyond.

Continuing the progress made from the Big Sister Project, and other successful projects including Still On The Go and Make Your Move, the Active Communities programme will focus on delivering and promoting work in local Communities in Sheffield, Amber Valley, Norwich and Milton Keynes to bolster community engagement and investment initiatives.

The team will work on the ground, with the aim of delivering real social impact where it matters to support Customers and Communities to be more active, healthier and improve their wellbeing. The programme will foster local relationships and provide social, exercise and wellbeing activity opportunities by supporting at least 75 community organisations by March 2024. These organisations will be supported through a range of partnerships including with our leisure provider, Places Leisure, and with funding from Places Foundation – an independent charity that is supported by the Places for People Group.

The first grant applications have already been received for projects across the country including a community craft group in Amber Valley, a girls’ health and fitness event in Sheffield, a games room in a retirement living scheme in Hampshire, a youth boxing project in Milton Keynes, and refugee football sessions in Norwich.   

Places for People’s Director of Places Impact Marcus Hulme explained: “We are delighted to launch our Active Communities Programme – helping to protect the health and wellbeing of people living in our Communities in these initial target areas.

“Our team are already active on the ground implementing eight new projects which we aim to increase week-on-week. The team will continue to foster new partnerships and engage with those who share our passion for removing the obstacles that hinder peoples’ desire to live a healthy life.”

Active Communities has been shaped by real-world data gathered from Places for People Customers through a national wellbeing survey*. The survey revealed that only 20% of respondents were mostly or completely satisfied with their health, significantly lower than the UK average of 45%. Additionally, 59% of participating households had at least one person with a disability or limiting condition. These statistics have guided the decision-making process in developing the Active Communities program.

Marcus continued: “This data showed a clear demand from people within Places for People’s Communities in Sheffield, Amber Valley, Norwich and Milton Keynes, as they aspire to get more active.

“I am proud that we have been able to respond with this new programme, investing in our people who can work on the ground and deliver new opportunities that help more people access funded classes that improve their health and wellbeing.”

Find out more about our community projects here.

*National Wellbeing Survey results from the 2022 Places for People survey of their Customers.