Positive feedback from physical activity programme in Fife

Craig Salmond, health and wellbeing adviser, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.
Craig Salmond, health and wellbeing adviser, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.

A physical activity programme designed to support people experiencing mental health issues in Fife has received positive feedback from participants and referring agencies following an external review.

Mind and Be Active (MABA), a programme launched last year by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, the region’s leading provider of sports and leisure services, in partnership with Active Fife and NHS Fife Health Promotion, has completed its 12-month pilot period and has been independently evaluated by Axiom Consultancy (Scotland) Ltd.

Niall Taylor, Active Scotland Division – Strategy Improvement, from the Scottish Government, joined representatives from NHS Fife, Fife Heath and Social Care Partnership, University of Strathclyde and Axiom at an event hosted by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust and Spirit of 2012, to share the evaluation findings.

The Axiom report identified that MABA encouraged people who were not previously active to become active and feel fitter, and, initial feedback suggested that many were continuing their physical activity after their involvement with MABA had ended. Benefits included improvements in mood and confidence, as well as weight loss.

The evaluation reviewed data on 164 clients who had been referred to MABA and feedback was gathered from a sample of referring organisations and programme participants to explore their experiences.

MABA has been delivered by the trust’s health and physical activity team and offered two programmes – a specially-designed physical activity class for dementia sufferers delivered at Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre, and, a referral-based one-to-one mentoring programme for those suffering from mild mental health issues.

The programme has been successful in reducing participants’ social isolation due to their mental ill health, giving them reason to get out of the house and meet other people. In addition, MABA has attracted people with mental health conditions from disadvantaged communities, engaging with people who are often considered to be hard to a reach population group.

Jacquie Stringer, health and physical activity manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “The opportunity to deliver Mind and Be Active has been a great addition to the physical activity classes we already deliver to those suffering from a range of long-term conditions and are based on the amount of physical activity someone can do rather than the condition they may have.

“We welcome the evaluation’s findings and the opportunity to share feedback from participants and referring agencies has been very valuable. Research shows that the benefit of physical activity has a profound positive affect on overall health and wellbeing and the trust is committed to making a difference to the communities of Fife by getting more people engaged in physical activity.”

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust was awarded a grant from the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund – a Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games initiative delivered by Spirit of 2012 on behalf of Scottish Government – to develop and deliver a physical activity programme to help those suffering from dementia and mental health issues.

Alex Johnston, programme manager, Spirit of 2012, said: “The evaluation findings reflect a successful year for Mind and Be Active. The programme has had a positive impact in reaching the inactive and supporting them to be active. Spirit is delighted with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s achievements through Mind and Be Active. We’ve enjoyed working with them as part of the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund and look forward to working with them over the next year to support other organisations to learn and follow their great example.”

For further information on Mind and Be Active, visit www.fifeleisure.org.uk for further details.