Sport and Health Project Our Sport and Health Project aims to transform the lives of homeless and vulnerable people through sport and physical activity. The initiative is designed to get people more active, in order to prolong lives, improve mental and physical health and reduce isolation. People who are homeless experience some of the worst health outcomes in England and die 30 years earlier than the general population, with a life expectancy of just 47. Research suggests that for people with inactive lifestyles, even 30 minutes of physical activity a week can significantly improve health and longevity. We provide a wide range of sports and physical activities, from football, rock climbing and boxing to more moderate activities such as aerobics and yoga. Sessions are available across London. Tackling inactivity in the Over 55’s At the heart of the project is an ambitious programme which aims to engage 600 people aged over 55 in sport and physical activity over the next two years. Sport England is supporting this work- with funding from the National Lottery - from its Active Ageing fund, which was launched to tackle inactivity in the over 55s as part of the national strategy Towards An Active Nation. Prior to this new area of work, the majority of our over 55 clients were inactive. As a result of our programme, people in this age group who would never have imagined themselves going near a gym or exercise club are now enjoying the benefits of activity and exercise. Evaluation of our initial nine-month pilot has already shown major health gains among participants. Learn more about this pioneering work and the outcomes we have achieved to date. Before the sports sessions, I’d just be sat at home doing nothing. They make me feel better – if a bit achy! I’m getting out of the house and meeting friends. I’m eating better, losing weight and I feel more confident about myself.- Annie Removing the barriers to better health The Sport and Health Project considers each individual’s abilities, likes, and needs. It removes the most common barriers that our clients face, including motivation, financial obstacles, and lack of confidence and knowledge, and provides access to equipment and clothing. We run a range of sessions, offering both group-based and individual activities. We create opportunities for social inclusion, which in turn helps to maintain engagement. As they progress through the programme, clients can monitor their improvements through regular health checks every three months, and once ready can graduate to wider community-based exercise and sport opportunities. A model for tackling health inequalities Early-stage evaluation indicates that the programme is proving effective in engaging a section of the population that mainstream health and sports services have struggled to reach. In the longer term, we hope that the programme can serve as a model for developing more effective strategies to tackle some of the health inequalities that persist among homeless and socially excluded people in the UK.