Active Lives HIT achievements 2021-22

  • 1st April 2022

Active Lives HIT has had a productive year. Here are some of our highlights:

NHS Charities Together funding has enabled launch of the Building Boats; Building Lives project with All-Aboard Watersports. Participants build a skiff, learn how to row in Bristol Harbour and take part in indoor Strength and Balance rowing sessions. This evidence-based, collaborative way of working improves people’s physical and mental health, increases skills and social connectivity, and offers opportunities for participants to train as rowing instructors.

For the Thriving Communities project we co-designed six ‘Test and Learn’ projects with social prescribing partners, to identify the health needs and priority participants for the three Bristol Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs). Each activity is delivered over 12 weeks by two arts practitioners– for example a visual artist working with a nature practitioner – to encourage learning and skills exchange.

In November 2021 we held a two-day Dance for Wellbeing Conference, with Bristol Dance Futures. Following an in-person event for dance practitioners, more than 50 dance practitioners and health and care professionals attended an online event to share case studies highlighting approaches that improve health outcomes and could potentially achieve system improvements. These will be taken forward through Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care System (ICS) with the support of Christina Gray, Director for Communities and Public Health, Bristol and Adwoa Webber, BNSSG Head of Clinical Effectiveness.

The Retirement in Action (ReACT) study has shown the value of a strength and balance programme that embeds social connection and long term goals for independence to help people regain mobility and maintain higher levels of physical activity. The results were published in the Lancet Public Health.

‘Into the Blue’ digital-streaming surfing project, in collaboration with The Wave and ALIVE brings together young people recruited through Southern Brooks Community Centre in South Glos. with older people living in supported accommodation. The young people will attend a 6-week beginners’ surfing course at The Wave in summer early autumn 2022. They will be wearing GoPro cameras to stream individual video and audio of their lessons to a ‘mentor’ older person at Stoke Gifford. The mentors will be supported to use digital equipment in their homes to receive the video/audio stream and to respond online to their mentees. They will also use a telepresence robot (steered remotely by the Stoke Gifford residents) to ‘visit’ The Wave and to share a wider view of the lessons and the setting. Charlie Foster at the University of Bristol is working with The Wave to set up an evaluation framework.

Our successful Nordic Walking project used positive action to select and train four people as Nordic walking instructors. They are from Caribbean, Indian sub-continent and South East Asian communities; two are over 65 .The instructors raise the profile of people who are under-represented in the physical activity sector. We created flyers advertising the programme and a video for the TV screens in health centres:

68 people have attended our 12 Nordic walking tasters so far, with wide ethnic diversity. We have met referring partners and community organisations including health centre staff, Wellspring social prescribing team, Nilaari, and the Health Links team. Participant feedback highlights include improved mental wellbeing and physical health, enjoyment of being in nature, sociableness of the activity, and learning a new skill. Our planned 6-month programme will build on this learning.

We worked with Active Dorset (Sport England) and the BNSSG Population Health and Inequalities Operational Group to start developing a system-wide approach to Prevention at Scale through physical activity. Active Lives HIT in collaboration with University of Bristol will work with ICPs to carry out System Mapping to underpin this work.

We are also delighted to have secured funding from the NHS Ageing Well programme to build on projects that aim to increase people’s physical activity, including using interactive digital equipment to support timely hospital discharge.  We look forward to reporting on these activities in the coming year.