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£1m investment to help over 60s be more active

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Over 60s will be given more options to enjoy exercise as Wales recovers from the pandemic, thanks to a £1m investment by Welsh Government.

In a drive to reduce health inequalities and social isolation as part of Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales Action Plan 2020-22, the funding has been allocated to Sport Wales then shared among all 22 local authorities for use on projects up until April 2022.

Activities have already started in some parts of the country, with online classes helping over 60s to workout at home. As restrictions are lifted and the pressures of Covid on leisure services are eased, the investment will see a range of dedicated face-to-face sessions within leisure centres nationwide along with creative outdoor sessions.

 

Among the local authority areas that has been able to begin their enhanced over 60s programme already with online workouts is Carmarthenshire. Earlier this week, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, made a virtual visit to a Carmarthenshire County Council ‘Actif Anywhere’ online session to sample what’s on offer.

Lord Elis Thomas said: “I really enjoyed the class and being reminded of the wonderful camaraderie that you experience when exercising with others, albeit virtually at the moment. The social aspect of it is equally as important as the physical side.

“We fully recognise that people’s usual activities haven’t always been available during the pandemic, so I look forward to seeing how local authorities use this funding in a targeted way to increase the range of options for over 60s to enjoy the benefits of exercise as we build back from this awful crisis. Please keep an eye on council websites for updates.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism at Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We were pleased to give the Deputy Minister a flavour of the online sessions that we’re offering at the moment and talk to him about our exciting plans for when we’ll launch our scheme in full once restrictions are lifted. We look forward to being able to tell local people more about our plans soon.”

Research gathered by ComRes Savanta on behalf of Sport Wales during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 suggests that over 60s are also likely to be among the groups hardest hit by the current restrictions in terms of the amount of exercise they are getting. 

Sport clubs are therefore being urged to consider how they might apply to Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund to improve future opportunities for older people as well as other age groups, while the Welsh sport sector is also uniting behind the hashtag #BeActiveWales to bring together a wide range of home exercise tips, ideas and resources which will hopefully make life a little easier, healthier and more fun at the moment. Visit www.sport.wales to find out more.

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