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Cherwell: You Move

Category: Wellbeing
Published: 27 February 2023

Cherwell District Council: You Move and Move Together

The project

You Move is a family initiative that follows on from the council’s highly successful FAST (Families Active Sporting Together) programme, a family programme initially funded through Sport England, which has seen a huge impact for the 3,500 families registered (a 30% increase in adults and children physical activity levels) and is changing how physical activity for families is delivered. A total of 7,500 individuals have also signed up.  The learning has been transferred to You Move on a larger scale, across Oxfordshire.

The project developed by breaking down barriers such as cost and availability to make it easier for families to access and enjoy physical activity together.  It focuses on providing opportunities for families who access free school meals (84% of families registered are eligible for free school meals).  Families are either referred through a pathway of professionals (schools, GPs, children’s services) or self-refer onto a purpose-built portal which tracks participation. A team of activators deliver free multi-sport activities for parents and children in schools and community settings, with resources and training to continue activities at home.  Activators provide tailored activities that suit the needs of families and adults and ongoing support through resources and motivational interviewing.

Families are sent a membership card that enables them to access a range of heavily subsidised activities such as 50% discounted swimming, gym activities, climbing, boxing, cricket. There are also free, targeted and adapted sessions to take into account cultural needs for example, swimming in partnership with local mosques.

Move Together is an evidence-based pathway providing behavioural support, specifically targeting people who have long term conditions and need help and support to be more active. It offers a person-centred approach by listening to people’s barriers to being active and providing motivation, signposting and support to get them moving more. 48% of people on the programme have two or more long-term conditions, with 33% saying that they have issue with pain, mobility, or anxiety.

Both You Move and Move Together are programmes that are focusing on specific needs, such as families eligible for free school meals and long-term conditions, with a focus on inequalities – a real innovative approach putting residents needs first.  The have developed a bespoke referral pathway that enables behavioural support, signposting, tracking and monitoring of participants.

The innovative approach has been held up as a template for future projects with partners such as Sport England, Public Health and local authorities taking the learning from developing the referral pathway, subsidised offers, motivational support and approach to offering physical activity opportunities for families and residents with long term conditions and linking more closely to health outcomes and improving quality of life.

The benefits

Move Together currently has 1,900 people with long term conditions engaged and active.  It is delivering tangible outcomes and results in improving quality of life, for example, 26% of participants seeing an improvement in their mobility. Results from data evaluation demonstrate the impact. Real life stories and feedback from participants show how the programme has really changed their life:

  • 69% of participants have increased the number of minutes in a week they are active.
  • 28% of participants have improved levels of pain and discomfort since being on programme
  • 23% have seen and improvement in Anxiety and Depression since being on Move Together
  • 26% have reported an improvement in their ability to perform daily tasks
  • 24% of families on You Move are from the most deprived areas.

The project is targeted and has a real focus on improving inequalities.

The success of the programmes is due to the excellent and wide-ranging partnership across the local system including Active Oxfordshire, Public Health, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sport England.  This provides not only funding providers but also links the programmes into preventative health framework, improving health outcomes through moving more and offering a tailored approach.

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