The smallest things can make a huge difference to your health and being more active now could drastically improve your quality of life as you get older. That is one of the main messages of the Let’s Go Southall programme.
Let’s Go Southall’s aim is to encourage and support residents to be more physically active.
The town is one of 12 areas across the country to have been chosen for a Sport England programme to help people to choose more active lifestyles.
“A great many people are already involved in the programme and I think it could have a huge effect on the town,” said Janpal Basran (pictured using the outdoor gym equipment in Southall Park). He is manager of Southall Community Alliance, one of the organisations that helped the council bid for the funding.
“We’ve already started talking to people at events,” Janpal continued. “And I think people are really keen to find out more and see how they can be involved.”
After bidding for the scheme last year, the initial funding for the programme was received in June 2018.
The Let’s Go Southall team, which is made up of staff and volunteers from lots of local organisations, is now carrying out research to understand more about how much exercise people get and what opportunities there might be to help them to be more active.
Janpal said: “One of the important things about the programme is that it isn’t just about getting people to take up sports. Even simple things like a 10-minute walk, taking the stairs instead of the lift or doing some gardening counts as physical activity. Even if you don’t have far to travel, walking your child to school or cycling to work instead of driving can make a difference. It all adds up over time, so we want people to think more about their normal everyday activities.
“These days there are all kinds of apps and gadgets that are designed to help people to be active, but a really good one is the Active 10 app, which is free and will help you to see how active you are and hopefully give you a little nudge in the right direction.
“And as part of the programme all kinds of small groups in Southall will get the chance to put forward their own ideas for projects to take forward. Things like walking groups or community allotments could be great ways of encouraging people to be active as well as being a nice social activity that promotes mental health and wellbeing.”
Sport England established the 12 programmes as pilots, selecting different types of areas across the country, including big cities, small towns, countryside areas and seaside communities.
Southall was chosen for its vibrant and diverse community, which has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and good opportunities to help people to be more active. The aim is for Sport England to see what works well in different areas across the country so that it can be replicated across the UK.