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pct
partnerships
REFRESHER COURSE
KATE CRACKNELL TAKES
oing nothing was not an interlinked strands: free leisure and an
option, according to ‘engaging and enabling’ element, aimed at
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT Claire Ramwell, head of building awareness and offering support.
healthy living and sport The free leisure element of re:fresh
THE SUCCESS OF
at Blackburn with is delivered within the borough’s
RE:FRESH, BLACKBURN
Darwen Borough Council. leisure centres, as well as within
“It was three years ago that the local community venues, and encompasses
WITH DARWEN’S FREE
strategic partnership identifi ed what we a wide range of activities. “We have
called the Three Killer Facts: three of seven local authority leisure centres
FITNESS INITIATIVE
the most shocking of our poor public open at the moment, all of which are
health statistics,” she says. “One was that offering free access to activities such as
people in the borough die eight years swimming, group exercise classes and
earlier than in other parts of the country” gym workouts,” says Ramwell. “There
– Blackburn with Darwen is ranked will also be an eighth centre coming on-
340th and 346th for male and female life stream soon: a £12m replacement for
expectancy, respectively, out of a total our largest centre, which closed three
of 352 local authorities. “We also had years ago, which will open in January.
high levels of people drinking alcohol to “In addition to that, we have the
a level that would harm their health, and activities being delivered within our 11
we had the third lowest [physical activity] community centres, as well as by our
participation rates in the country.” outreach health and fi tness development
The local residents were, however, teams. We have more than 50 sessions
blissfully unaware of these dire going on in church halls, for example.
statistics, with a huge gap between their We have healthy weight classes taking
perception and reality. “When we spoke place in local schools. We have guided
to people, they would all say: ‘We’re walks, cycling, even chair-based exercise
quite happy with our health’,” says and allotment gardening. There’s a
Ramwell. “We knew we needed to be huge range of options covering the full
bold, do something big, think differently.” spectrum from getting people interested
in healthy eating, through very light, low-
BREAKING THE MOULD level physical activity, all the way up to
The response was a groundbreaking group cycling and Step classes.
initiative developed and funded by “Meanwhile, enabling and engaging
Blackburn with Darwen PCT and the starts with awareness, and we’ve had a
borough council. Designed to increase high profi le marketing campaign around
levels of physical activity in the borough, re:fresh, with local advertising and PR.
£6m was allocated to fund the initiative “There’s also a support mechanism
across three years – £1m each from the built into the programme, as our
council and the PCT for each year. research suggested this was key. In
Known as re:fresh, the initiative was Glasgow’s free swimming initiative, for
launched in July 2008. It consists of two example, participation dropped off after
an initial massive spike – but in the one
area of the city where they’d had an
Success In year one of re:fresh, a massive 17,745
outreach worker, participation levels
beeZ local authority leisure cards were issued
were sustained.
“The national Health Trainer
ACTIVE ADULT BEEZ CARD MEMBERS Programme was the obvious route for
2008/09 2009/2010
us to take: it has the commitment of the
Department of Health, plus we had an
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
(apr-jun) (jul-sep) (oct-dec) (jan-mar) (apr-jun) (jul-sep)
established network in the borough that
we could build on and strengthen.
total adult members 48,800 54,240 56,764 61,483 69,695 75,178
“We now have fi ve paid health trainers
active adult members 3,146 7,195 10,298 14,376 13,236 19,297
as part of re:fresh – one for each of
% active adult members 6% 13% 18% 23% 19% 26%
the fi ve neighbourhoods within the
Total number of active adult members since 1 April 2009, compared with the same period last year. borough – supported by 30-plus trained
All figures are cumulative from 1 April. volunteers. Health trainers work with
38 Read Health Club Management online november/december 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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