Holistic Health

Critical health issues including obesity, dementia, mental health, cancer and heart disease have been brought to the forefront of national attention as the UK emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The current situation:

Over the past few months, SportWorks have been working on an exciting new community health project which we are calling “Holistic Health’. This is a brand new project for us and one which we think will have a significant role in supporting the nation to recover from the pandemic by enhancing both mental and physical health.

Research is clear that changes in lifestyle positively address the majority of health factors, yet the challenge remains how to engage such a diverse and sedentary population, who expect the NHS to be responsible for their health. People from the BAME community, living with a disability, or over the age of 60 and within low socio-economic households have significantly poorer health than the rest of the population.

Why are we developing the Holistic Health project?

The pandemic has not only highlighted the importance of health/wellbeing, but also how much of a disparity there is in health standards across different population groups. Despite significant amounts of Government funding, people from less well-off backgrounds, individuals with a disability and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are still more likely to experience worse health than others in society. The Sport Works team passionately believe that a different, more proactive approach is needed to help address this issue. This is where Holistic Health came from and what we are trying to achieve.

Why run a pilot study?

Over the past few months the SportWorks team have spoken to several organisations ranging from the Department of Health, Sport England, Clinical Commissioning Groups, National Governing Bodies of sport and Local Authorities. Feedback regarding Holistic Health has been amazingly positive. However, for this project to be taken seriously at both a regional and national level, we need to provide evidence that Holistic Health makes a difference and leads to positive outcomes. A pilot study will help us to obtain data and better communicate if/how Holistic Health can support the public health agenda. If the model proves successful, the pilot study will help us make a case to Government and Local Authorities to invest in its future.

Why us?!

The pilot will consist of 10 well established North East based organisations who are already working with people from the local community to improve health/wellbeing. The SportWorks team has reviewed our existing contacts/partners and identified those organisations we feel could support Holistic Health and would benefit from its success. To make sure the pilot is successful, we wanted to work with organisations we know, trust and who share the same values as ourselves.

What does the pilot consist of and what are the criteria for being involved?

The pilot will last 12 weeks in duration, 10 of which will consist of weekly session delivery of between 3-5 hours. To ensure the pilot reaches and engages sufficient numbers, we will endevour to work with a minimum of 200 participants each week for the duration of the programme. SportWorks staff will work with the staff/volunteers from our partner organisations to jointly develop a programme which features the following:

Physical activity/exercise

Nutrition/healthy eating

Mental health

We anticipate that our team will need to spend approximately 1 hour per week with the club/group to manage the programme, meaning that at least one member of the external organisation will need to be available to help coordinate the programme logistics.

Who are SportWorks?

About SportWorks

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Case Studies

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Mission, Vision & Values

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Our Vision:

Every community within the UK places health, wellbeing and happiness at its centre. Health promotion becomes proactive rather than reactive. Communities themselves take ownership of ill health and develop their own innovative solutions which directly address local challenges. The NHS’s great expertise is used only to treat acute disease and emergency trauma. Health support includes a wide range of holistic services – all designed around the whole person, rather than the specific illness.

“It’s definitely the day I look forward to most,” he says. “I just wish it was more often.”
Bill goes on to explain that his health “isn’t too good”. Heart problems have left him on the waiting list for two new valves, and he’s in the early stages of Parkinson’s. Due to the need to isolate, he’s endured two lonely lockdown years, but at least for a precious few hours on Thursdays, he’s walking back to happiness.

“It’s made the world of difference – I’ve seen a massive improvement,” he declares over a coffee in the warmth of the rugby club bar, the flames of an artificial fire flickering by his side.
“The biggest thing is confidence to get moving again, and then to come in here and have a bit of crack is wonderful. Everyone makes you feel so welcome – I’m glad I decided to give it a go.”

“As soon as I heard about the SportWorks trial, I applied to be part of it because I think it’s a really interesting project. What really appealed was combining the physical exercise with the social side and the chats about mental health and nutrition,” says Jim.
“When the walking rugby group started, we had people struggling with all kinds of medical conditions, who were moving quite slowly and falling over a lot. “But by encouraging them to work in small groups, passing the ball, and walking, they’ve improved their movement, kicking, and hand-eye co- ordination. “On top of all that, the social interaction has definitely improved their mental health. People comment all the time about how it’s made them happier, and how much they look forward to coming every week.”

Holistic Health benefits

Our objective is to work in partnership with core partners to develop a sustainable model which can be scaled nationally yet reflects localised needs.

If you would like to know more about being a core partner and being involved in Holistic Health - click here!

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For more information about our Holistic Health programme get in touch.

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