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Getting people on low incomes active

From ‘dad dancing’ exercise to sports sessions for rough sleepers, we’re investing in a number of new projects

15th February 2018

We’re investing in 26 pioneering projects to help people on low incomes become more active and healthier.

The diverse range of projects have been awarded funding of up to £10,000 each.

One of them is Ribble Valley Gymnastics Academy’s ‘Dad Dancing’ fitness programmes, which is geared towards men who may be put off by traditional exercise, but still want to get active during the day.

The Booth Centre Sports Programme in Manchester has been awarded funding to offer free sports sessions to rough sleepers, the homeless or those who have experienced homelessness.

And Newham Community Renewal Programme will use its funding to put on fitness sessions for women from ethnic minorities who don’t currently exercise and are either not working or in low paid jobs.


We know that a third of people on low incomes are inactive, which means they do less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. They can find it hard to build physical activity into their lives, or cost may be a barrier.

That’s why we opened our Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage fund last year to help address these barriers to getting active.

The community projects we're funding will use different approaches to help people feel healthier, happier, more confident and able to cope with life’s pressures.


MenActive is another of the projects we’re funding.

Based in Fleetwood, Lancashire, MenActive is a 12-week health and fitness programme designed for men that want to lose weight, increase fitness or improve their lifestyles.

Harry, 70, lives in Fleetwood with his wife Stella.

He’d led an active life until he retired five years ago. He started playing football, and while he became fitter, it didn't help with his weight problem, and over the last few years he says he put on weight.

Last year he began a 12-week session with MenActive that focused on food and diet advice followed by time at the gym.

“I hadn't been in a gym since school, and at the start I found it quite hard,” says Harry. “But I began to enjoy it. So much so, I have now joined my local YMCA for a session on another day.”

I hadn't been in a gym since school, and at the start I found it quite hard. But I began to enjoy it. So much so, I have now joined my local YMCA for a session on another day.

At the end of the 12 weeks, Harry had lost one stone in weight and 1.5 inches from his waist. But equally important was “the mental help it has given me”.

“When you retire, you still have an active mind, and it needs to be stimulated on a regular basis and believe me, walking football and a session at the gym does this,” says Harry.

All the organisations being funded have a strong track record of working with their local community and making a positive difference to people’s lives. They will all focus on groups facing economic disadvantage, such as lone parents, ethnic minorities and refugees. 

The lessons we learn from them will help to shape our work across the country.

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