Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Lynne Neagle joined families taking part in the StreetGames family walk in Caerphilly to officially launch the extension of the Healthy and Active Fund.
A total of £991,200 additional Welsh Government funding has been granted to extend the fund for a further year, with services severely impacted in 2020 due to the pandemic. The fund was set up in 2018 to help improve mental and physical health by enabling people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles.
Research commissioned by Sport Wales has shown 60% of adults in Wales intend to increase the amount of physical activity and exercise they do as we come out of lockdown. It’s hoped the extension of the Healthy and Active Fund will encourage more people to get active.
The Deputy Minister attended the weekly walk held at the Royal Park in Rhymney organised by Valleys Gymnastics Academy and StreetGames to see first-hand how the Healthy and Active Fund is making a difference to people.
The organised walks provide a safe environment and gives people the opportunity to meet other families within their local community. The group also provides healthy food at the end of all the walks.
The majority of the families have been involved in the walking group for over 18 months and spoke to the Deputy Minister about the positive differences they were seeing in being more active. During the pandemic the group provided remote support on how to stay active and feel part of the community.
The Healthy and Active Fund will once again support a range of activities across Wales with an emphasis on projects which focus on children and young people, people with a disability or long-term illness, those who are unemployed or who live in areas of deprivation or older people and those due to retire from work.
During the visit the Deputy Minister spoke with parents of children who attend the session regularly.
Kirstie Cavender, whose children attend the sessions, said:
“This is the best thing that they’ve done, it’s important to have more activities outside of school. This has been going for a few years and the kids love it.”
Rachel Sullivan, Oliver’s mum said: “He has really benefitted, especially after lockdown. They love being out with everyone.”
Earlier this month the Deputy Minister also attended a buggy active class based in Abergele led by Babi Actif. The project which is funded by the Healthy and Active Fund, helps families across Conwy, Anglesey and Gwynedd by supporting parents and children to get active during baby’s first 1000 days.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Lynne Neagle said: “The coronavirus pandemic has made all of us focus on our health and wellbeing more. Being active has a huge benefit to our physical and mental wellbeing. I’m delighted that activities funded by the programme have now restated and that we have been able to extend the fund by a year, following what has been a difficult time for us all. Projects across Wales are being supported who are offering something for different ages and abilities.”
Leigh Williams, StreetGames Family Engagement Project Manager :”We welcome the news of the fourth year extension of the Healthy and Active Fund, the continued impact this project is having is so positive. We would also like to acknowledge the flexibility from Welsh Government and partners involved in the Healthy and Active Fund throughout the pandemic, and say thanks the support provided to enable activities to continue in a adapted and safe way.”