Members of a community group are reporting better mental health as a result of physical activity after accessing Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT) venues.
The People Focused Group (PFG) is benefiting from access to the Trust’s leisure centre venues across Doncaster, with many members going to the gym for the very first time.
Based in Intake, PFG is a DPULO (Disabled Persons User-Led Organisation) offering peer support for people with mental health difficulties and/or health issues, with facilities including a Wellness Centre and food bank.
Now thanks to gym passes from DCLT, the group is helping to further improve the mental and physical health of its members.
Kelly Hicks, a social worker employed by PFG, said: “We are currently testing out peer-supported access to DCLT’s leisure centre network by giving members free access. Many people are trying the gym for the first time because they have the support of a peer to help them overcome their fears.
“Mainstream facilities can sometimes seem beyond the reach of people who have been isolated or experience anxiety attacks. But thanks to the DCLT scheme, people are really happy to finally be accessing their community venues and everyone involved has reported greater mental wellness through increased physical activity.
“One lady is in her 60s and has started swimming and attending fitness classes for the first time.”
Two members are also training with the Trust to become lifeguards, while PFG is planning to work with DCLT to introduce community swimming sessions.
“The Trust has been amazing in so many ways,” said Kelly. “For example, an activity weekend at Hatfield Outdoor Activity Centre enabled 20 people to experience a short peer-supported break and get fit together. The feedback was great, with members again saying it had really helped their mental health.
“PFG has worked closely with DCLT for some time and we have a fabulous relationship - even down to staff dressing as elves for us at our Christmas Winter Wonderland!”
Jon Whiteley, Head of Community Development at DCLT, said: “PFG’s aim is to promote wellness through greater community involvement and investment in Doncaster’s citizens – a goal we share at the Trust.
“We’re thrilled to hear so many of the group’s members are benefiting from increased physical activity levels and the positive effect it’s having on their overall health.”