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Public supported to kickstart their health and wellbeing goals

A group of women exercising in a circle

People across Swansea Bay are being supported to achieve their health and wellbeing goals with the help of Swansea City AFC Foundation.

FIT Jacks is a free 12-week health and wellbeing programme run by the football club’s foundation.

It combines fitness sessions with information about making healthier choices to improve your lifestyle and overall health.

Pictured: The sessions start with exercise.

Previously, it had been held at the Stadium but this year has been expanded into communities throughout the city.

It has now been delivered across four of Swansea Bay’s Local Cluster Collaboratives (LCCs) – City Health, Cwmtawe, Llwchwr and Penderi – making it even easier for people to access the sessions in their communities.

GPs at the practices within the four LCCs were able to refer patients to the programme, with there also being an option to self-refer too.

The expansion was made possible by a funding boost from Swansea Council, through the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

The programme covers a variety of topics aimed at improving health and wellbeing and encourages those taking part to identify goals they would like to achieve.

Lindsay White, health and wellbeing officer at Swansea City AFC Foundation, said: “The sessions are partly made up of exercise at the beginning and then education afterwards.

“At the beginning of the programme we do measurements of blood pressure, height and waist and we also do questionnaires related to physical activity, mental wellbeing and knowing your risk of diabetes.

“Over the 12 weeks we deliver a set structure but there is scope to tailor it to meet people’s needs.

“We talk about the habits and behaviours they would like to change and they set their own goals every week which can be related to nutrition, movement or self-care.

“The aim of the programme is that we set out structured content on key areas that improve their health and wellbeing.”

A group of women sat at a table

Participants have their measurements taken again halfway through the programme to keep track of their progress, as well as at the end of the 12-weeks.

At that point, they also fill out the mental wellbeing questionnaire again to re-evaluate how they feel after completing the programme.

Pictured: The second half offers support around making healthier choices.

“We are able to refer people to other avenues of support after the programme if we feel that is needed,” Lindsay added.

“We provide maintenance support too, with additional sessions available at the Stadium.

“We try to help people understand what support is available to them in the community.”

Sessions have been held in Morriston Memorial Hall, Aenon Baptist Chapel in Morriston, New Lodge in Gorseinon, Venue No.1 in Fforestfach and the Stadium.

Gemma Harris-Jenkins is just one of the people who has benefited from the programme being introduced in the community.

“I really like it and my fitness level has become higher since joining,” she said.

“I have started doing 10,000 steps a day as a result and I’ve even joined the foundation’s walking football team after finding out about it.

“The classes are really close for me to get to and it’s great that there have been options in the daytime.”

Jenny McDonnell has also enjoyed taking part in the programme.

“I have been finding it great,” she said.

“I have high blood pressure but it dropped down to a normal level within the first four weeks, alongside taking my medication.

“I feel driven to come here and it really helps that it’s based in the community.”

It is hoped that having the sessions available in communities, more people can take part who may not have been able to make it to the Stadium in the past.

Lindsay said: “Having sessions in the community has definitely helped more people to access the programme.

“It has taken one of the barriers away that people may face.

“It takes less time to get to the sessions and people are in a familiar place so they feel more comfortable.

“It has been great.”

Dr Sowndarya Shivaraj, Penderi LCC lead, said: “The FIT Jacks programme is an excellent opportunity for our population to improve their health and wellbeing.

“It helps to learn about making better choices to improve health and take control of your health and wellbeing.

“Our patients in Penderi are actively participating in the programme and I would encourage more people to make best use of the service.”

You can email for more information on future sessions starting in April.

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