Two representatives from Sporting Chance provided Members with an overview of the work of Sporting Chance, a new project aimed at providing activities exclusively for men aged 50 and over living in the Middlesbrough area.
The project, which was a partnership between Community Service Volunteers, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme, Tees Valley and Active Middlesbrough Sports Development Team was launched on 27 January 2014 and was funded for an initial 3 years through the Big Lottery Fund.
The aim of the project was to improve inequalities in men's health in Middlesbrough, create volunteering opportunities and encourage engagement with isolated and hard to reach men aged 50 and over to become involved in community activities. It was highlighted that two or three of the men involved in the project had already expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer.
The project increased socialisation through the use of reminiscence, sporting activities, physical exercise and trips. Taster sessions had been held in local community venues such as the Grove Hill, North Ormesby and the Manor Community Hubs and Acklam Green. A total of 48 men had attended the taster week. The types of activities included chair based exercises, boxercise, table tennis, badminton, short tennis, curling and indoor 10 pin bowling.
The current weekly sessions were held on Tuesdays between 10am - 11am in North Ormesby Community Hub, Wednesdays between 10am - 11am in Trinity Methodist Church and Thursdays between 10am - 11am in the Manor Community Hub. The participants of the taster sessions were also encouraged to suggest other activities and as a consequence Sporting Chance were looking at setting up walking groups, swimming sessions and fishing groups.
Each person that participated in an activity was encouraged to socialise with other participants and work at their own pace as some of the participants included people recovering from strokes and people who hadn't participated in any physical exercise for a number of years. It was highlighted that Sporting Chance were not trying to replicate any activities that were already in existence; they wanted to provide for any gaps in provision particularly for men aged 50 and over. At the moment all the activities provided by Sporting Chance were free.
The reminiscence sessions had been held in the North Ormesby Day Centre and these had involved looking at every-day objects from the past and encouraging the participants to remember when and how they were used. Sporting Chance had also linked in to Barker and Stonehouse and they were going to provide some old artefacts such as old cricket bats, horse saddles, tennis racquets as part of the reminiscence sessions.
One of the representatives from Sporting Chance was GP referral qualified and as a consequence referrals were received via GPs through the Active Middlesbrough Health Through Activity Programme, self-referrals or through signposting from partner organisations such as Erimus Housing Engagement Team, MFC Foundation, NHS Mental Health Team, Mind, the Libraries and Learning Service and Older Persons Supported Living Venues. Sporting Chance were working on an initiative with the MFC Foundation which provided advice on exercise, health and nutrition and a free ticket to a Boro game and to date 25 men aged 50 and over had signed up for the initiative.
In response to a query whether any evening sessions were held, Members were advised that evening gym sessions at the UCA had been organised and it was hoped that more activities would be held on an evening in the future. Sporting Chance was also looking at the possibility of including the Lakeside as a venue and they were liaising with local libraries to see what kind of intitatives could be arranged. Discussions had also been held with Durham Football Association with regards to attending the amateur football exhibition on show.
In response to a query whether there had been any participation from men from diverse and faith communities, Members were advised that the activities were open to all men. A presentation was due to be delivered to the Diversity Forum and the group had provided information to Anglican and Methodist churches, the Chinese community centre and mosques. The group had also attended the Carers Forum and provided information with regard to the range of activities on offer.
RECOMMENDED that the information be received and noted.