Making fitness fun for adults with learning disabilities in Greenwich

World Health Day

Today (7 April) is World Health Day and at Oxleas NHS, we thought we would mark the occasion by focusing on a community fun and fitness programme we jointly provide in Greenwich. 

The programme aims to make fitness fun for adults with learning disabilities in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and at its heart, are a lovely group of learning disability members, who are working together to get active. 

We’re working closely with partners including Greenwich Leisure Ltd, to support these individuals to increase the amount of exercise they do, which in turn, improves both their physical and mental health. 

The programme is funded by a Health Innovation Network (HIN) grant, and we are also sharing our learning in the hope that other boroughs can replicate the programme, involving more people. 

Between February and November 2021, 48 people attended a joint total of 643 times for the sessions which last for 90 minutes weekly. 

The programme was developed by Dr Joel Parker, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Oxleas NHS. He said: “World Health Day is a great time to showcase this bespoke and valuable programme which is making a huge difference to peoples’ lives. People with learning difficulties have a life expectancy of around 23 years below the general population and have been adversely affected by the pandemic.” 

Daniel Bank, from Greenwich Leisure Ltd, said: “Our key aim is to increase levels of physical activity, especially in those who are currently not very active. Because of the pandemic, we started with gentle chair-based activities virtually, but sessions can now take place face-to-face at the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich. The programme was also made accessible to participants with easy read guides.” 

Watch this short film

Published on 7th April 2022