As the national lockdown eases, a new partnership between OneLife Suffolk and Suffolk Football Association (FA) looks to create more opportunities for Suffolk residents to get active through a shared passion for sport, activity, and movement.
OneLife Suffolk, who are commissioned by Suffolk County Council, run free healthy lifestyle programmes across the county, including weight management for adults, children and young people, stop smoking support and help to get active for those with long-term health conditions.
The provider has partnered with Suffolk FA as both organisations share the same values in supporting local people by providing physical activity opportunities that are innovative, inclusive, and ensures exercise is accessible to all.
Lisa Cox, Head of OneLife Suffolk, said: “We are very excited to announce this new partnership with Suffolk FA who are already doing a fantastic job to engage communities through football. This relationship will not only help us reach more individuals who would benefit from our life-changing programmes but will also develop new exciting physical activity sessions for our clients to engage with.”
In Suffolk, one in four adults are classed as inactive, meaning they partake in less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week. While lockdown measures have now eased, there are fears that the disruption to football leagues has had a knock-on effect amidst football fans who find themselves not being as active.
As part of the partnership, Make Every Contact Count (MECC) training provided by OneLife Suffolk will be available to coaches, referees, and association members so that they are suitably skilled to identify and signpost individuals that could benefit from a healthy lifestyle programme. For example, this may include bespoke adult weight management sessions for players through walking football and inclusive / disability football leagues.
Participants in Suffolk football will have the opportunity to volunteer as Activators to help deliver virtual and face-to-face physical activity sessions as part of OneLife Suffolk’s ‘Get Help to Get Active’ scheme. The programme supports those with long-term health conditions who would benefit from being more active to build physical activity into their lives. If interested and want to find out how to get involved, please see below.
Longer-term, the partnership looks to explore how further community projects can reach and engage with people of all ages, including children and those in harder to reach communities.
Suffolk FA Mini-Soccer & Youth Football Development Officer James Morley said: “We are pleased to partner with OneLife Suffolk to create opportunities for people involved in Suffolk football to get active and healthier.
“The lockdown has had an effect on a lot of people’s mental and physical health, so being able to provide support as we leave lockdown is a very important and exciting opportunity. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the programmes OneLife Suffolk have to offer and working towards making Suffolk a more active county.”