A pioneering project by Gloucester City Homes (GCH) to help local people on a low income become more active and healthier has won backing from Sport England.

The housing association’s Independent Living service has been awarded 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 on low incomes are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week. And inactivity in people on a low income is twice that of people on a high income.

GCH’s Independent Living Team will be setting up a program of events to provide free indoor sports to residents across its sheltered schemes and for members of the public in the surrounding areas. This will include indoor boules, kurling and boccia.

Kim Hewitt, Independent Living Co-ordinator at GCH comments “This is a fantastic opportunity and we are pleased to be able to deliver a service to encourage health and wellbeing as well as social inclusion. We are currently in the process of setting up a program and we hope to start the events in April.”

Sport England Executive Director, Mike Diaper, said: “Gloucester City Homes has a strong track record of working with their local community and we’re very excited by how their project could make such a positive difference to people’s lives.

“We know that people on a low income can face many pressures 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 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.”

[i] Source: Sport England Active Lives Survey Nov 15/16.

Inactivity rate for lower income groups, such as shops assistants, waitress, long-term unemployed or never worked is 33.5%

Inactivity rate for higher income groups, such as chief executives and doctors, is 16.7%.

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