Sport for Confidence to support carers getting active

Essex based social enterprise, Sport For Confidence, has been commissioned by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to deliver a number of workshops for local carers in a bid to help them, and the individuals they support, have better access to opportunities to be more physically active.

Physical inactivity represents one of the most prevalent threats to the health and wellbeing of the nation. A report conducted by Active Essex last year found that 67 per cent of adults in Southend-on-Sea are obese. In addition, Carers UK reveals that many carers, an estimated 625,000 nationwide, suffer mental and physical ill health as a direct result of the stress and physical demands placed on them by their work.

Lyndsey Barrett, Senior Occupational Therapist and Founder at Sport for Confidence, says: “Carers have been identified as a group who are particularly prone to inactivity and often feel socially isolated. Interestingly, a 2017 report titled: Supporting me to be more active’, by the Active Alliance, formerly The English Federation of Disability Sport, revealed that the activity level of a carer has a direct influence of the activity of the individuals in their care.

“From the evidence presented, we have concluded that the positive impact of investment in carer education will also extend to those people with a disability cared for by individuals attending the workshop. This could have a profoundly positive affect on activity levels across the area.”

10 workshops will be run in various locations, including: Southchurch, Thorpe Bay, Blenheim Park and West Shoebury to give access to as many carers as possible. Delivered by Occupational Therapists from Sport For Confidence, workshops will be relaxed and interactive, encouraging discussion groups to hear from the carers themselves the barriers they face when trying to access sport and physical activity. From these discussions, the group will be asked to suggest what needs to happen to support them be more physically active.

Cllr Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing, says: “Physical activity in Southend is a key priority for the council and commissioning Sport For Confidence will help us provide carers with the opportunity to access physical activities, which will benefit themselves and those they care for.

“It is essential we continue to promote physical activity throughout the borough and we are delighted to be working with a local social enterprise to provide this much needed opportunity.”

Chief Nurse, for NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Tricia D’Orsi says: “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Being a carer can be stressful, being active can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing stress.”

Barrett concludes: “This project is about finding practical, workable, solutions which will lead to permanent behaviour change amongst participants. As part of the process, we will produce posters which highlight key learning from the workshops and suggestions moving forward. These posters will the shared with carers across the borough, extending the value of the workshops way beyond just those able to attend”

For more information about the workshops or to register interest please contact Lucy Goldup, Occupational Therapist at Sport For Confidence at lucy@sportforconfidence.com

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