Oomph! has been announced as the largest delivery partner of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund. With £915k National Lottery Funding from Sport England, Oomph! will get 27,000 adults doing regular exercise within two years. We will train around 1600 workers and volunteers in retirement villages and community venues to run adapted sports activities for older people.
Prioritising online applications from venues in the North West of England and London and the South East before moving on to other regions, our fun-first approach involves bringing elements of lesser-known sports including volleyball, weightlifting, boccia and urban orienteering. We will enable regular sessions to be provided to wide audience through housing associations, retirement villages and at public venues such as libraries and community centres.
We are working with the National Sports Governing Bodies for each of these four sports and in some cases drawing upon Paralympic Games versions.
The Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) has advised Oomph! on how to reach as many housing association locations as possible. Barry Malki, Head of Communities, HACT said:
“HACT is working with Oomph on this innovative project to help enable more older adults to be active in their own homes. We’re excited to see the initiative being scaled up with this funding, as housing providers are increasingly looking to support their residents to improve their health and wellbeing through alternative and innovative methods”
To enable the project to achieve wide reach, Oomph! has secured the involvement of the County Sports Partnership Network, an England-wide group of organisations who are responsible for facilitating sports and activity at a local level. Inactive people over the age of 55 are a large and diverse group (roughly 6.4 million people) so age and community appropriate programmes will be tailored to each setting. An anticipated 800 venue partners will use a bespoke app uploaded onto a tablet computer to enable Oomph! to report in real-time to Sport England and direct additional support to partners that are struggling to keep people on the programme.
Nicky Ellison, National Specialist Support Manager at Hanover Housing Association who piloted Oomph! in the Community at six retirement and extra care venues this year:
“Oomph! trained both staff and a volunteer resident from each venue to lead activity-based sessions. Training residents as session leaders really helped gain buy-in from all the residents and ensure that sessions are truly co-produced. We were amazed at the skills and self-belief that Oomph!’s trainers instilled in all the trainee instructors, most of whom had never done anything like it before. The result has been people of wide ranging abilities pushing themselves out of their comfort zone week after week. The buzz, laughter and socialisation continues well after the sessions. With real-time monitoring of activity levels, Oomph! has been able to swoop in to offer new resources and extra support if there have been early signs of a drop in attendees or practical issues that are affecting the success of the programme.”
Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England said: “Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We’re delighted to be supporting Oomph! with National Lottery funding to help get older adults lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”