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Operators could extend their reach by going out and delivering low-cost programmes in the community


JULIAN BERRIMAN Premier Training • Research and development manager


“I


would agree that health clubs are not attracting the groups at the lower


end of the socioeconomic scale. However, since April 2013 – when local authorities were charged with public health provision – there’s more funding available to target this population than ever before, and more onus on local authorities to find preventative measures to combat the rising tide of chronic illness in our communities. To attract those most in need, provision needs to be more


accessible and appealing: currently there’s a lack of community emphasis. Clubs need to start interacting with the communities they sit within and taking activities to where people already go. To this end, Premier Training has designed a certificate:


Promoting Community Health and Wellbeing. The certificate focuses on how to support behaviour change and long-term adherence to healthier living, and how to empower individuals to set their own goals. It covers four main areas of health: becoming more physically active, smoking cessation, healthy eating and alcohol awareness. Negative engagement in these behaviours is placing a huge financial burden on the wider economy and must be addressed at all levels of our society – but perhaps most urgently among the least well-off.


” March 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


KEVIN YATES Leisure Connection • Head of leisure


whether it paints a full picture. As a public access provider, it’s our job to target hard to reach groups including children, older people, disabled people and those on low incomes, whose participation often won’t be reflected in our membership numbers. For example, at one of our leisure centres we have 3,000 direct debit members, but a total of 11,000 users on the database and 750,000 visits a year. I believe Leisure Connection is becoming increasingly


“I


innovative at targeting and reaching key socioeconomic groups. For example, the wellness activity bus in North Kesteven in the East Midlands – which takes activities to people in deprived areas – has 5,600 users and is just one example of how our teams are taking activities outside the four walls of our centres, to engage with hard to reach groups within their own environments. Often this is delivered free of charge, or at a discounted rate, to ensure participation. The launch of health and wellbeing boards have made


local authorities increasingly proactive in engaging the lower socioeconomic groups, but it’s important that, as providers, we can demonstrate outcomes in order to avoid cuts.


” Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 33


have the utmost respect for this research, but I do have to question


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