Using physical activity to reduce social isolation

Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) is to use physical activity to reduce levels of social isolation in the community after receiving funding from a health and social care service.

Stephen reaping social health from physical activity at Oldham Active Communities
Stephen reaping social health from physical activity at Oldham Active Communities

The £272,957 Social Action Funding from Oldham Cares will be used for the newly created Oldham Active Communities Project. The three year project will be delivered by Wellbeing Leisure, part of Oldham Community Leisure.

The trust partner and community groups will access physical activity, health and wellbeing opportunities, as well as the chance to learn skills and gain health and fitness qualifications.

Wellbeing Leisure staff will deliver group consultation sessions in community centres, to people who have either been referred from local GPs or self-referred on the basis of a diagnosed medical condition. These sessions will offer advice and signpost people to appropriate activities nearby, including twice weekly social wellbeing sessions.

Wellbeing Leisure has recruited two part-time health and wellbeing advisors to support and develop the project.

“Social isolation and loneliness is a national priority and it’s no different here in Oldham; 10 per cent of residents identify as being lonely, which has a detrimental impact on health, quality of life and life expectancy. We hope to break down barriers, support individuals to live more active lives and, in doing so, reduce loneliness and isolation,” says Jackie Hanley, Wellbeing Leisure’s health and wellbeing manager, who is leading on the project.