Active Sussex funding win for new physical activity groups

June 2022

West Sussex Mind has secured £7,263 of funding from Active Sussex to bring new physical activities to Littlehampton

We have been awarded £7,263 of funding by Active Sussex from Sport England's Together Fund, which will enable us to develop three new physical activity groups for our service users in Littlehampton as part of our social activities programme.

The grant means that we can recruit a peer coach to help us set up and run the weekly groups, encourage service users to get involved and support them to attend. We also envisage that the peer coach will help to recruit volunteers and activity buddies to continue the activities after the first nine months of funding has ended.

The funding from Active Sussex, which aims to increase participation in sports and physical activity across the county, will enable us to create three groups:

  • a table tennis group, based at our newly renovated support hub in Littlehampton
  • a walking football group, based at the Wave Leisure Centre
  • and a walking group (with the possibility to develop into a running group), which will start from our Maltravers Road site and walk/run to various locations in Littlehampton.

We decided on these activities after consulting with people getting support with us in Littlehampton about what physical activities they would find most useful for their well-being.

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups and there is evidence that exercise slows age-related cognitive decline and promotes improved well-being. However, it can be a challenge to encourage people to try new physical activities and this is where the role of peer coach/activator will be really important.

"We are delighted to be awarded the funding from Active Sussex to recruit a peer coach, who can help our service users take that crucial first step and bring about behavioural change"

Abbie, our social activities manager

“We know that it can be difficult for people to take that first step into becoming more active,” said Abbie Wraige, social activities manager at West Sussex Mind. “So we are delighted that we have been awarded the funding to recruit a peer coach to help people take that crucial first step. Part of the peer coach role will be to encourage those who have said they'd like to get more active to do so, support them to attend their first sessions, and continue to check in with them and support them to keep going. We know that physical activity can be so good for mental and physical health, but it can be tough to keep it up."

"The Sport England Together Fund allows partners in Sussex to target those most in need of extra resources to help communities to be more active," said Ross Joannides, strategic relationship manager at Active Sussex. "Local partners like West Sussex Mind are able to reach those people who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to be active in a way that is appropriate for them, so we are delighted to support their Littlehampton project."

The physical activity component of our social activities programme was disrupted during the pandemic with mainly walking groups continuing when restrictions permitted. Over the last year, we have been keen to introduce more physical activity groups again and currently have around 26 active groups each month, including running groups in Worthing and Shoreham (0-5k), badminton and table tennis in Midhurst and walking groups across several locations.

All those who take part in these activities are doing so to support their mental well-being as part of their recovery journey. We now look forward to bringing similar benefits to people getting support with us in Littlehampton.