Shaping and supporting communities in Cardiff through physical activity

The health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity are well-proven and over the course of the pandemic, more individuals began to understand the impact that taking part in physical activities can have on their mental health.

The Move More Eat Well Partnership Plan involves key partners from a range of different sectors to help to ensure these benefits are highlighted and individuals are supported and encouraged to make active changes.

Sport Cardiff, the City's sport development team based at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has been working with a range of key stakeholders from across the education, health and third sector to support the mental health and wellbeing of service users.

Launching the ‘Mind the Gap’ project, Sport Cardiff aims to support to reduce community mental health referrals through the delivery of digital and physical activities. As well as this, Sport Cardiff is up-skilling community practitioners to raise awareness for mental health
services that are accessible through the provision and inform and establish an efficient and accessible sporting continuum.

Working in partnership with Ty-Canna’s mental health outreach workers, the Mind the Gap project offered online support and physical activity sessions to service users during the nationwide lockdown and as restrictions began to lift.

The sessions consisted of a range of functional exercises and alternative movements with service users able to select the activities they would like to do over the course of a 45-minute period. These sessions were delivered twice a week by Sport Fit, incorporating a supplemented catalogue of home workouts from Met Active, and utilising home equipment such as tins, socks and toilet roll to ensure the sessions were engaging, enjoyable and accessible for all.

Since the partnership between Sport Cardiff and Ty-Canna’s began, the digital physical activities sessions have involved upwards of 300 engagements, enabling service users to maintain or re-engage with physical activity. As well as this, Sport Fit has continued to deliver weekly online sessions with Ty-Canna’s day service users on a weekly basis, providing additional resources to extend physical activity beyond the scheduled sessions.

Driving forward the benefits physical activity can have on mental health, Sport Cardiff developed a multi-disciplinary steering group to collaboratively design a ‘mental health and sport’ programme that is appropriate and relevant to individuals who are at risk or have been
diagnosed with mental illness. Informed by services of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, social prescribers (ACE and WB4U), educational trainers (PAPYRUS) and Cardiff Metropolitan University, the group explores gaps within provision and uses sport as a tool to
support better health and wellbeing.

Shaping and informing the current and future provision of mental health support, the ‘Mind the Gap’ steering group signposts to local sports clubs and works on training and up-skilling local organisations. As a result, Sport Cardiff engaged local sports and community practitioners in SPEAK – Suicide Prevention training, which engaged coaches and local sports deliverers to understand how to support individuals.

The Move More Eat Well Partnership Plan has been designed to encourage and help individuals and organisations across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan with access to healthier food and activity choices. To find out more about how you can #MoveMoreEatWell, or to learn about our partners please visit the Move More Eat Well website.

To find out more about Sport Cardiff and the other activities they have to offer, please visit the Sport Cardiff website.