ActivSuffolk provides local Sport and Falls Prevention sessions out in the rural areas of Suffolk, to ensure that people aged 60 years and over can access activities that keep them active, connected, happy, independent and reduce loneliness and social isolation.
ActivSuffolk was commissioned by Public Health in Suffolk / Suffolk County Council in 2015 – 16 to develop new activity hubs in urban and rural areas of Suffolk. The main aim of the project was to improve the health and well-being of people aged 60 years and over by increasing their levels of physical activity and increasing their social interaction to reduce loneliness and social isolation.
Over the 12 month period ActivHubs were established in:
and supported the development of the new Pavilion Hub in Ipswich. Each hub was set up in the heart of the community, in a venue accessible and familiar to the local population, using the proven and successful ActivLives/ActivIpswich model, which has been developed over the last 10 years. Each hub are very different and have their own unique character.
To develop each hub we worked very closely with the local community to encourage, motivate and support people to get involved and ‘have a go’. We engage and receive support from local community leaders, service providers, support groups, local community groups, churches, health workers, local Councillors, GP surgeries, steering groups and partners. We endeavour not to duplicate services; instead we deliver a unique experience.
Each ActivHub meets weekly for a 2 hour session of adapted sport or seated / standing OTAGO exercise, which is accessible to all and during each weekly session, time is always made available for tea and coffee and the opportunity to socialise.
The Sports Sessions are led initially by a qualified member of staff who has experience in working with the older people and has a background in health and fitness. Members are encouraged to take on roles within the group, with the aim that members will eventually run their own session and become part of a network, supported by ActivLives. ActivLives staff will call in on a regular basis and groups will be invited to attend Kurling / Boccia Competitions, Community Games and Pentathlons.
The seated / standing OTAGO sessions are facilitated by a qualified instructor in Chairbased / OTAGO (strength and balance) and have a fitness background. At some of the sessions the Instructor is supported by a volunteer.
ActivSuffolk is currently working in partnership with Most Active County / Public Health’s Physical Activity and Mental Health Project to pilot a new programme initially in Stowmarket, to support people who are inactive to become more active and help them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our new Kardio Kickstart Programme will help to build confidence and self-esteem, maintain good physical and mental health, in an effort to reduce stress and prevent the onset of depression and anxiety.
There will be 4 programmes, run over 14 weeks with assessments week 1, week 6 and week 14 (end of the programme) and the progressive activity part of the programme will cover 12 weeks. The first programme started in July 17, with the remaining three being run between September 17 to March 18.
News from ActivSuffolk
On Thursday 11th January, Julie Stokes, ActivLives CEO, presented members with their own New Age Kurling Kits, funded by SCC Councillor Matthew Hicks and Suffolk Community Foundation Suffolk Rural Fund. The two kits include Kurling Stones, pushers and target mats.
In July we started a 14 week activity programme called Kardio Kickstart, which will continue through until October – this programme so popular that we’re going to start another programme in September!
How ActivSuffolk supports local communities
ActivSuffolk reduces social isolation & loneliness by:
enabling people to come together to socialise and develop their own social and support networks in the community. The groups have taken it upon themselves to arrange lunches and activities outside of the hubs. This has helped to build social capital, strengthen social cohesion and community connections and reduce the risk of loneliness, depression and anxiety.
Members from Lakenheath, Eye and Felixstowe have attended ActivIpswich Community Games, which enabled them to meet other members from the ActivIpswich sessions.
ActivSuffolk improves physical and mental well-being by:
motivating people to build physical activity into their daily lives to improve their life expectancy and resilience to long-term health conditions and mental and emotional well-being; enabling people to access inclusive physical activity in the form of adapted sports such as New Age Kurling, New Age Bowling, Boccia and OTAGO ( strength and balance falls prevention exercise); signposting people to other useful organisations and services, i.e. Physiotherapy, One Life Suffolk, Age UK Suffolk, CAB’s and Social Adult Services.
ActivSuffolk – a sustainable model:
ActivLives is working across the organisation to ensure that all our services are sustainable now and in the future. Group members have taken ownership of the hubs by volunteering with the running, organising and promotion. Many have gained new skills and have gained confidence. Local Councillors have seen the value of our work and have been very supportive by contributing funding for adapted sports equipment.
ActivSuffolk creates Communities & Cohesion:
working in partnership with individuals, community groups and churches, other local organisations, Councillors, GP surgeries, local business and leisure providers, ActivSuffolk brings people together to access or develop new services / projects. Each Hub becomes a small community within its self and members take on roles to help run the session e.g. helping to set up the venue, registration, organising the refreshments etc.
ActivSuffolk promotes Self-Care by:
helping raise awareness about the need and benefits of being physically active in later life and supporting people to access a wide range of activities and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.
Getting in touch
If you would like more information about ActivSuffolk Hubs and how to join, please contact the main office on 01473 345350.
Meet the team
ActivSuffolk Development Coordinator
After working in the corporate world in England and then Australia I decided opt out and follow my heart.
I retrained and have now been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. My work has always involved working with specialist populations, far removed from the world of leotards and lycra!
I am passionate about encouraging older adults to participate in physical activity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. We are never too old to take up a new activity!
Outside of work, I love the great outdoors……often to be found walking around the countryside or hopping on a train or plane to explore further afield.
Following forty years in the IT Industry I decided to change careers and become a personal trainer 5 years ago.
In April 2012 I gained my personal training certification to Level 3 Register of Exercise Professionals.
I have been fortune to be in demand as a personal trainer ever since and delivered over 3,750 hours of personal training, goal setting and achievements with an endless number of referenceable clients.
I started working with ActivLives 12 months ago and realize just what an important job they do in helping people become more involved in their local community while improving their fitness and smiling while they do it! Working with ActivLives and our clients is incredibly rewarding and offers new challenges both to me and our clients every day.