Suffolk seeks sports coaches and instructors for win-win Activator scheme

OneLife Suffolk is seeking community-minded sports coaches who can help Suffolk residents with long-term health conditions to get active. This volunteer scheme is an opportunity for those with a passion for physical activity to support those in the local community who need it most.

From general fitness trainers to football coaches, dance teachers to martial arts instructors, a wide range of community volunteers are needed to deliver one-hour weekly sessions for six weeks, either virtually or face-to-face, once the lockdown has ended.

The scheme benefits both OneLife Suffolk clients by encouraging them to try new, fun activities to help them get active whilst also allowing the volunteers to start delivering sessions again, with an opportunity to reach more people. It’s a ‘win-win’ for local sports and fitness instructors whose income has been affected by the pandemic.

Jade Harrison hosting online Get Help to Get Active sessions

In a national survey, 8 in 10 respondents of 981 personal trainers and fitness instructors said they are now training fewer clients because of Covid-19 and national lockdowns.[1]

The Activator scheme is part of OneLife Suffolk’s ‘Get Help to Get Active’ service which supports those with long-term health conditions who would benefit from moving more often, being more active, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Marten Payne, Operational Delivery Manager at OneLife Suffolk, which is commissioned by Suffolk County Council, said: “We know that becoming physically active can be very challenging, particularly for those living with long-term medical conditions, and we want to be able to offer a more diverse range of activities for Suffolk residents, so they can find something they enjoy that is suitable to their needs.

“We are also aware that some fitness instructors and sports coaches have struggled to run their classes during the pandemic. By volunteering through this scheme, we can help them reach new clients whilst helping the wider Suffolk community get more active. It’s a win-win for all concerned.”

Cheryl Wiseman hosting online Get Help to Get Active sessions

Volunteers to the Activator scheme will benefit from a one-day training course on how to work with those with long-term health conditions, developing an understanding of behavioural change and learning about the health promotion services on offer in the County.

Activators can also apply for a £200 grant to put towards the cost of delivering the free sessions. It is hoped the scheme will help them generate long-term clients for their fitness classes and businesses.

Tyler Beales hosting online Get Help to Get Active sessions

Activators will also soon get to benefit from a new bespoke online system which has been developed through the partnership of our MoreLife teams and digital experts at Leeds Beckett University.

The system will allow activators to easily upload their availability, market their services, access training, track progress of clients and obtain feedback, as well as giving clients the opportunity to select the activators that meet their needs. This unique approach has only be possible due to the support of our commissioners in Suffolk.

Suffolk FA, Ipswich Town Community Trust and many more clubs and community organisations across the County will be supporting the Activator scheme.

Master Faye Li, an Activator volunteer who has recently hosted online Baduanjin sessions, said: “I have just finished teaching an 8-week Baduanjin online course. It has been a wonderful, rewarding experience to help friends and families in our community during this extraordinary time. Many participants say that after doing a session, they sleep better and feel more relaxed, while others found the exercises helped build their confidence.

“In return, the feedback I have received has brought much joy and happiness into my life. Each smile, every positive story and every small step of improvement makes me feel very proud of my students.”

Master Faye Li, an Activator volunteer who has recently hosted online Baduanjin sessions

The next Activator training sessions are taking place on Friday 9th April and Thursday 29th April. 

To find out more about how to become one of OneLife Suffolk’s Activators e-mail Conor Hale, Active Lifestyles Lead on Connor.Hale@Onelifesuffolk.co.uk or visit: https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/services/get-help-to-get-active/become-a-volunteer-activator/

If you are a Suffolk resident and would be interested in attending a ‘Get Help to Get Active’ session or learning more, visit – Get Help To Get Active – OneLife Suffolk


[1] How Has Coronavirus Affected UK Personal Trainers? – Insure4Sport Blog