In Impact Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety, Wycombe

Project: Exercising your mental health
Grant: £4,980
Fund: HoB General

Utilising the power of sport and physical activity, Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust (WWSET) developed activity sessions to aid the prevention and recovery of ill mental health. The sessions offer a place for people to come together and meet those with similar experiences, as well as to learn about different mental health issues and coping strategies.

Working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Recovery College, the project developed from attending their classroom based sessions on self-esteem and self-acceptance. The learning outcomes were then adapted to involve a physical activity.

WWSET also took inspiration and research from Sport England’s ‘Get Set To Go’ programme, however, they wanted to do something they hadn’t seen done before; provide much more than a sport session for people with mental health. Instead the sessions used physical activity to teach participants about their emotions, how to develop coping strategies and to feel a part of a support group, all through movement.

At the end of November 2018, 54 participants had engaged with the 6-week course, 100% said the sessions instantly boosted their mood and 75% improved their mental health score. 58% also said that the course had improved their attitude to physical activity.

Personally I found doing something physical, like the activities we did, actually enhanced the learning experience for me.  Classroom settings are good but the activities helped with the learning message for me. When I think of hurdles in life I think the last session helped as we were not just talking but actually physically proving we can do it and that is a visual reminder to me. (I am a visual learner). The sand buckets have also stuck in my head as baggage I don’t need to be carrying and help visually to get rid!

This project was also nominated for the Wycombe District Council Sports Awards and beat off lots of stiff competition to claim second place, an achievement all involved should be very proud of.