Eastbourne Exercise Referral Programme

Eastbourne Exercise Referral Programme - School of Sport | Active Hearts Community Group

What three words would you use to describe your project?

physical activity, healthy lifestyle, community

The aim is for academic staff, students, health practitioners and individuals from the community to work together to improve the health and well-being of the local population by providing opportunities for increased physical activity.

This fits with national and local policy to increase the commissioning of physical activity interventions in primary care (Let’s Get Moving physical activity care pathway, Department of Health Physical Activity Policy 2009; Eastbourne Physical Activity Strategy 2012). The priority is to improve access to services for the least active. In Eastbourne there is a higher than average proportion of individuals over 60 years old, the majority of whom are not sufficiently active for health benefits. This project will focus on those whose health and well-being could be improved by increasing their physical activity, but who need support from their health practitioner and exercise specialists to achieve this.

We will set up a pilot exercise referral 1 programme operating from the University of Brighton Sports Centre in Eastbourne. This programme will provide access to safe and effective exercise amongst the most sedentary groups and/or people with underlying medical conditions, and equip these individuals with the knowledge and skills to become more physically active for life.

We hope to develop this pilot into a sustainable exercise referral programme open to a wide variety of individuals in Eastbourne and surrounding areas. This will be shaped by engaging in exchange of views with community participants, the referring health practitioners and their patient forum groups, with support from The East Sussex Exercise Referral Special Interest Group as well as from a quantitative evaluation of data collected during the pilot. There is currently no established scheme in Eastbourne that meets the current guidelines for Exercise Referral (Department of Health National Quality Assurance Framework for Exercise Referral, 2001 and the Joint Consultative Forum’s new Professional and Operational Standards for Exercise Referral (in press).

Funding from On Our Doorsteps will allow us to focus on building these important relationships to provide a stable platform from which to develop a long-term sustainable programme. The seed fund will also fund academic staff time to ensure that appropriate data is collected during the pilot to allow proper evaluation. Student volunteers will work on the programme alongside qualified exercise specialists, providing the opportunity for vocational and professional development and social engagement.

What you hope your project will achieve:

Development of a sustainable Exercise Referral Programme to:-

support individuals in the community to be physically active for life
offer students vocational and employability skills
develop staff research projects

We hope to “roll out” our exercise referral programme model to several medical practices in Eastbourne and the surrounding area. Provision of a long-term exercise referral scheme, serving an estimated 50 participants each year, will promote professional development for students and staff and enable the introduction of a new Level 6 problem-based learning module. Data from the pilot will contribute to the development of models of evaluation of exercise referral schemes that can be used in longitudinal studies that are likely to attract funding bids. This in turn will enable expansion and long-term development of the project and facilitate further research projects.

Who your project will work with (and where):

Health practitioners, community groups and student volunteers in Eastbourne

How your project links to the idea of neighbourliness:

Sharing of University facilities, staff and student volunteers working in community settings, inter-generational work between students and older individuals

Contact Louisa Beale for more information.