A pioneering project by Oxfordshire Mind, in Partnership with the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, aims to help local people on a low income become more active and healthier has won National Lottery funding from Sport England.
Oxfordshire Mind has been awarded £81,000 funding as part of Sport England’s strategy to improve people’s health and mental wellbeing through sport and activity.
Sport England is funding a wide range of projects around the country, using varying approaches to help people to feel healthier, happier, more confident and able to cope with life’s pressures, or more connected to their families and communities.
Sport England research[i] shows that a third of people in lower paid and routine jobs, are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week. And inactivity in people in lower paid, routine jobs is twice that of people on a high income in senior and managerial roles.
This is a three year project aiming to get inactive people from lower socio-economic groups and deprived areas of Oxfordshire, with severe and enduring mental health conditions, active. This will be done through weekly walking groups. The walks will leave from existing mental health settings and involve a minimum of 30 minutes active walking. Bite-sized information and advice relating to mental wellbeing improvements will be disseminated during the weekly walks.
During the weekly walks Oxfordshire Mind will be identifying potential peer walk leaders, who will eventually take over the walk leader role. The ‘Walking for Wellbeing’ project isn’t a replication or expansion of existing walking opportunities, but rather a bridging service between inactivity and ability to join one of the established walking groups.
Sport England Executive Director, Mike Diaper, said: “Oxfordshire Mind has a strong track record of working with their local community and we’re very excited by how their project will make a positive difference to people’s lives.
“We know that people on a low income can face many practical and emotional challenges that make it difficult for them to be as active as they would like to be. So we’re working with community-focused organisations across the country to find ways to help people fit physical activity and sport into their lives in ways that work for them.
“The lessons we learn from this local project will really help to shape our work with similar groups across the country.”
Oxfordshire Mind is one of 34 projects to receive a share of more than £3.36 million in this latest round of Sport England funding specifically aimed helping people on a low income get active.
[i] Source: Sport England Active Lives Survey May 17/18.
Inactivity rate for lower income groups, such as shops assistants, waitress, long-term unemployed or never worked is 32.7%
Inactivity rate for higher income groups, such as chief executives and doctors, is 16.4%