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Team effort praised for helping to make local communities healthier

The innovative ‘team effort’ which is helping to get generations of people become more active in Bridgend County Borough has earned special praise from Quest, the leisure industry’s leading quality assessor.

They’ve rated the combined work of Bridgend County Borough Council, Halo Leisure, schools, clubs, voluntary groups, Sport Wales, Welsh Government and other partners as making an ‘excellent’ impact on residents’ health, wellbeing and fitness.

It’s the first time that Quest has assessed a partnership approach in Wales and awarded an ‘excellent’ mark for the results and impact on people’s lives.

Working in collaboration with so many passionate partners, we are committed to tackling the many challenges that need to be overcome in order to develop more active communities.

I’m thrilled that Quest has recognised the progress that we are making. One of our biggest achievements has been the partnership that we have formed with Halo Leisure, backed by GLL. Since our leisure partnership began in 2012 we have seen a nine per cent increase in visits to our life centres and a major investment in facilities.

I’m really proud that our centres do so much more than just helping regular gym goers to get fitter. Our life centres have become THE place to meet up to be active, at whatever pace and however you choose.

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations

Councillor Patel added:

“The Exercise Referral Scheme, which is run at the Life Centres in collaboration with Welsh Government, is an excellent example as it is helping to make physical activity a new way of life for thousands of people who suffer from health problems. We also have the highest number of over 60s taking part in free swimming sessions in Wales.

“During their assessment, Quest also praised the work being done across the county borough to broaden opportunities for disability sports as well as to tackle disadvantage and ensure gender equity.

“We were the first local authority to achieve the InSport silver accreditation for inclusive sport, and have also been developing our ‘Move More Often’ programme for older adults in day care and residential care as well as our innovative OlympAge activities with our many partners.

“Our Girls Network initiative in schools is making big strides in breaking down any barriers that are putting young girls off taking part in regular sport in their local communities once they reach their teenage years.

“Another school-based initiative that merits a mention is the Family Active Zone initiative which encourages families to exercise together. Setting good habits from an early age is absolutely essential for trying to avert avoidable health problems in adulthood.

“The Quest assessors also noted the collaborative work being done to ensure equal opportunities for people to take part in physical activity, including residents from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the successful ‘Access to Leisure’ scheme achieving over 145,000 visits last year.”

“All of this is possible thanks to a real team effort. We’re very pleased to have earned this recognition but are well aware that even more needs to be done. We are hugely ambitious in our aims to make our communities healthier and I would like to urge everyone to make the most of the opportunities that are available to them, be it at their local life centre, school, local park or sports club.”

Simon Gwynne, Partnership Manager for Halo Leisure, said: “Quest has recognised that excellent results can be achieved from working together. For us, our collaboration in Bridgend County Borough has enabled us to drive real improvement and inspire staff to develop innovative approaches that are improving the health, wellbeing and fitness of local residents.”

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