Equally Well

fit as a fiddle Older People - Faith and Community Strand

Age UK was awarded £15.1 million under the Big Lottery Fund Wellbeing Programme to deliver the fit as a fiddle portfolio across 9 English regions from 2007 to 2012 supporting people over 55 to achieve outcomes focused on three main strands:

Improving and developing levels of physical activity

Healthy eating

Mental wellbeing

Sporting Equals was commissioned by Age UK in August 2009 as one of five national partners for the Age UK fit as a fiddle cascade training programme to deliver the faith and community strand.

The aim of the fit as a fiddle faith and community strand project was to devise and develop a tailor-made training package for black and minority ethnic (BME) and faith communities to enable opportunities for physical activity and wellbeing through supported interventions.  The project worked with local partner organisations to deliver a bespoke training programme for volunteers and a package of activities aimed at those aged over 55.

The project was delivered nationally in 2011 across the 9 English regions in partnership with 39 third sector organisations.  The project's delivery method also included a programme of one-off 'road show' events which allowed a high number of beneficiaries to participate in taster sessions, obtain information and in some cases, access statutory health services such as blood pressure checks.

Through the fit as a fiddle faith and community project Sporting Equals engaged with 5,532 older people from disadvantaged communities and trained 289 volunteers.  Sporting Equals achieved a wide geographical spread and partnered with a wide range of faith and community organisations.  The cascade approach meant that the projects engaged as partners have been able to reach some of the most isolated groups who would be unlikely to engage with mainstream provisions.

The partner projects frequently reported that the training and experience gained by the volunteers has also had a positive impact on their organisations, providing them with a pool of culturally sensitive, skilled volunteers able to take delivery forward in a time of restricted funding opportunities.  The added value from the project has resulted in some volunteers acting more generally as champions for promoting healthy living in their local communities.

Projects also reported beneficial impacts on older people who had participated in activities, including improved self-esteem, self-confidence, physical health and mental wellbeing.  A number of older people (and volunteers) reported changes in diet and a greater understanding of healthy eating, and some reported immediate benefits from tehri physical activity sessions.

Sporting Equals's role in light of reaching out across 9 regions helped with consistency of messaging.  Its key links and knowledge into the disadvantaged communities along with its experience of faith and cultural sensitivities has all made this project a success and well placed for delivering similar interventions in the future.

To access the end of project evaluation report or the executive summary please click on the links below.

Fit as a Fiddle Evaluation Report

Fit as a Fiddle Executive Summary

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