streetfit – Fit for Life

I am so excited that Monday 27th January marked the official launch of our new brand streetfit in HMP Forest Bank prison. streetfit provides a health and fitness programme that empowers people to take control of their physical and general health. The support that Street Soccer Academy offers the participants remains the same but the ‘hook’ is not football in itself.

The idea of the programme is to offer a more flexible method of engagement with people who would clearly benefit from our wrap-around support service but aren’t interested in football. The programme focuses on the strength and conditioning of the human body and demonstrates easy to understand methods of taking control of your physical fitness. Participants discover ways to take personal control of their fitness without the cost of a gym membership or the need for technical equipment. Every day items around the home can be utilised, so can the space provided in a garden or local park. Men, women and children over 5 years old can all engage in the activity which provides the platform from which we can build life changing relationships.

Complementing the physical activity are healthy lifestyle workshops. These discussion groups range from nutrition advice through to empathy, coping and stress management, to how to build healthy relationships. This way we are able to help with the participants’ general development so they don’t just benefit from the physical improvements.

Street_Soccer_Street-Fit_blackstreetfit is flexible in it’s delivery and doesn’t have the same restraints that football based delivery has. With the football-based programme we require a quality venue in order to emphasise FA standards of coaching and delivery. The fitness-based model can be picked up and taken into a variety of environments where there is ‘need’. The programme can be delivered in a housing association setting, a prison, a basic community room, indoors or outdoors for example. The point is that we will be able to take our package of support directly into the environments where there is clear need.

In terms of the people groups that this package can benefit, the impact is broad. People in recovery from addictions who recognise that physical health is a key part of their rehabilitation can utilise the programme, as can people with poor general health and low confidence. Family units that require a common interest in order to build healthy relationships can learn together, inner city schools with under privileged children can partake and this can lead to opportunities of working with their parents too. There are so many variables and possibilities and it is for this reason that we are very excited as we begin to roll out this new service.

The aim of the prison-based programme that has just launched is to provide an effective means of family intervention and assist inmates attending the programme back into communities by supporting the family unit as a whole. A family member will be invited to attend the sessions along with the inmate so they can learn together. We will provide the family member with community based support and mentoring as well as the inmate in the hope that the environment that they will re-enter into will be a healthier one.

streetfit has huge potential to impact communities, assist in the building of healthy relationships and to help to reconcile families. We will keep you updated regularly with developments and stories of changed lives thanks to this initiative, so watch this space!

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Author Andrew Thorp

Andrew founded the Street Soccer Academy concept in 2005 and under his leadership the work has developed into an award winning registered charity and innovative enterprise. Educated at Loughborough University, Andrew has a BSc Hons in Management Sciences and has experience as a tutor and assessor at Salford City College, responsible for the delivery of an NVQ 2 qualification in Teaching, Instructing and Training. He is also a UEFA 'B' qualified coach and has vast experience working in the professional and semi-professional football world at Rochdale AFC, Leigh RMI and Trafford FC. It is through his experience in these fields that the accredited education programmes have been formulated in order to significantly enhance the opportunities of Street Soccer Academy beneficiaries.

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