Photography by Benjamin Film Photography
At the club, which is currently free, staff have been working with Kimberley Besant from Motiv8 Sports to create an environment where adults with a learning disability can discuss healthy eating, try new foods and get the body moving with sport and exercise.
The project is nearly halfway through its 40-week funded period and continues to be popular. At 10-week intervals, members evaluate their progress, checking their weight, measurements and heart rate. A recent survey of regular attendees showed that after 10 weeks, half had lowered their resting heart rate and blood pressure, the same number had lost weight, and a third had lowered their BMI.
Fit Start is being funded by Kent Community Foundation, Comic Relief and a Kent County Council Combined Members Grant from Cllr Trevor Shonk. We are currently considering ways in which to keep the club sustainable after the 40-week funded period comes to an end. Options include appealing for volunteer support, charging a small entry fee, or organising a sponsored fitness challenge for the members.
Senior Support Worker, Ellen-Louise King, said: “It’s great to see that Fit Start is not only enjoyable for members, but is also having a positive impact on their health. We have many regulars, including Amy and Pierre, who haven’t missed one week!”
“The club’s success is down to East Kent Mencap’s Ellen and Tristan, and Motiv8’s Kimberley,” commented Fundraising & Communications Officer, Paul Wrynne. “Their enthusiasm really gets people involved in the weekly activities.”