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Fit Villages launches a new programme designed to engage more men in physical activity.

Posted: Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:00

Fit Villages launches a new programme designed to engage more men in physical activity.

The Fit Villages project, run by Suffolk Sport, has enjoyed huge success since its inception; increasing activity levels in rural locations for people aged 50+ across Suffolk. The project, in its 6th year is supported by Sport England and Suffolk County Council, and has provided many opportunities to Suffolk's rural communities to get active.

With nearly 40%1 of Suffolk's population living in rural areas the project has been instrumental in helping the rural community to lead more active lives and supports the mission to make Suffolk England's Most Active County. The project has been extremely successful at increasing physical activity levels amongst women and has also reduced levels of social isolation, establishing vital community activities in village halls or community settings. A recent countywide survey and focus groups with The Men's Shed Project has shown that there is an increasing demand for activities designed for older men to participate in. Fit Villages is responding to this, having found that self-led activities such as Table Tennis, Badminton and Bowls would be popular as well as Archery and Mature Bootcamps led by an instructor.

Fit Villages has set up the first of these projects in Polstead, a small village in Babergh, with a Table Tennis group. Participants can drop in and play with friends or people attending.
The group has been so successful that they have raised funds to purchase a second table. Some of the participants have said;
"I haven't played anything for years but I heard about the Table Tennis from a friend in the village so thought I would come along. It's a lot of fun we all really enjoy it."

"I've had a new hip so I cannot do much activity but table tennis is great fun and I can just about manage it."

"It's really taken off and has become a very popular activity in the village. We have secured further funding to purchase a second table which is great news, thanks to Fit Villages for their support."

Fit Villages has been highly successful at helping to resolve inequality in activity levels for women across Suffolk, however inactivity levels increase with age across both genders3 . We are therefore delighted to announce the launch of new activities to engage more men across the county and are looking for villages to sign up over the next year. We will also be continuing to support our usual mixed sessions alongside this new initiative.

Fit Villages helps Suffolk's smallest rural communities to set up their own activity programmes with support to get started. We consult with the village to find activities residents will enjoy and arrange them in village halls or community settings.

If you are interested in setting up an activity in your village please contact Hollie on 01394 444289 or email hollie.wood@suffolksport.com.

Key Suffolk facts:
• Suffolk has double the national average of people living in rural areas 2
• Rural populations have older populations than their urban counterparts 2
• The latest Hidden Needs reports that 39.7% of Suffolk's population is rural 1
• 27 % of population living in rural areas are aged 45-64 2
• 22.2% are aged 65+ 2
• Suffolk population typically 49.4% Male, 50.6% Female 2


1 Source – Hidden Needs Report 2016
2 Source - Source Suffolk Diversity Profile 2012 www.suffolk.gov.uk
3 Source – Active Lives Survey 2015 – 2016

Tags: Community, Fit Villages

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