Notts County FC Football in the Community (FITC) launch new project that helps recovering addicts to Beat It.
A local partnership comprising FITC, Betel of Britain and Nottingham Trent University (NTU), has designed an exciting, innovative, new project to promote heart health among former homeless men in Nottingham.
The project, funded by national charity Heart Research UK, starts this month and will use physical activity to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of 25 former homeless men who now live in the city.
Beat It will work with Betel of Britain residents (men aged between 20 and 50) who have spent part of their lives living rough on the streets, gone through battles with drug, alcohol and smoking addiction and are now recovering.
As a result of their abusive lifestyles, their immune systems and hearts, in particular, have been damaged.
The project will run for 48 weeks and involves two-hour sessions delivering team and individual sports.
Sessions will be structured and delivered in a controlled environment, ensuring the intensity is appropriate to individual needs.
The aim is for participants to become more active and increase their cardiovascular (CV) health by increasing activity levels gradually, meaning they increase lung capacity and strengthen their hearts using structured exercise.
Participants will exert themselves, improving their heart health in a safe environment.
FITC staff will motivate and support participants to take part in physical activities, as well as promote key heart health and physical activity messages.
Using the health experience that FITC has gained through a wide range of other projects, including a previous Heart Research UK funded project - the successful men’s weightless programme Motivate - coaches will include workshops to help participants learn about heart health and healthier lifestyles.
Participants will take part in regular health checks to track their progress and monitor their heart health, which will be carried out by NTU’s SHAPE (Sport Health And Performance Enhancement) team.
FITC’s performance development manager and head of health, Emma Trent, said: “We’re really looking forward to starting this project with the residents of Betel of Britain.
"It’s always great to work with individuals who are dedicated to moving forward with their lives and making positive changes to their lifestyles.
"Beat It is about building a healthier future for men who have experienced difficulties in the past and enabling them to improve their heart health and fitness.”
Barbara Harpham, national director of Heart Research UK said: “Projects like this are a great way to give those who are prepared to change their lives around the opportunity to take the next step.
"With the expert coaching and support from Notts County staff, participants have a great chance to improve their fitness, address any heart disease risk factors and fully commit to an active heart-healthier lifestyle.”
Chris Brown of Betel said: “Betel of Britain looks forward to working in partnership on Beat It to improve our residents’ awareness of the health benefits of fitness programmes.
"The people in our residential communities have come to a turning point where they genuinely want to change their lives and we hope that this programme will further improve their recovery.
Dr Zoe Rutherford of NTU said: “Improving physical activity in hard to reach individuals is a priority for public health, but a big challenge in practice.
"Beat It is a an innovative project that meets the needs of vulnerable people who are at risk in terms of their heart health, building upon a strong partnership between experts at FITC and SHAPE to support Betel of Britain residents to make healthy changes.
"As a team, we are very much looking forward to working together over the coming months and to examine the outcomes of the project.”
This is the second Heart Research UK Healthy Heart grant given to the Notts County Football in the Community.
Two years ago the weight loss and fitness programme Motivate, which they ran with overweight and obese over-35 men, was a great success and has continued to provide support thanks to further funding from the NHS.