Health and mental well-being can be boosted by a good workout. Willesden Sports Centre is ensuring vulnerable people in Brent have full access to all that exercise can offer.
Willesden Sports Centre has introduced Back on Track, a ten week exercise program for mental health service users.
"I have been coming to the gym for three weeks now and have already noticed a huge difference," says Willesden Green resident Allan, a recovering addict who is taking part in Back on Track. "Physically I feel a lot better but I've also noticed a mental difference, exercise stimulates the mind, as I leave the gym I feel energised and find myself planning what I am going to do for the rest of the day."
"Back on Track is good because it offers structure. People who are struggling because of the things that have happened to them in life do need that extra encouragement and support to start exercising. Most of them haven't exercised before and the advice and motivation from the staff helps get them started."
Jo de Souza, Health and Physical Activity Manager, runs the programme and delivers the training sessions along with her colleague Mike Martin, says, "I love working with our Back on Track clients. When they first arrive, they are often scared and nervous but then just one week later they are happier and smiling, coming over to say ‘Hi' to Mike and myself and socialising with the other gym users".
"We've had really good feedback and there is growing demand for places. We are hoping to expand the scheme from this September."
Back on Track provides 90 days free use of Willesden Sports Centre with full access to the gym and swimming pool and a 10-week monitored fitness program which consists of group gym sessions, individual appointments, health assessments, physical activity and weight management advice, swimming lessons, and group exercise classes.
The programme is delivered by 1Life and is funded by Willesden Community Sports. Other partners include the Addiction Recovery Clinical Centre, Brent Community Mental Health Team, Brent MIND and Brent GPs. Anyone interested in joining the scheme needs to be referred by one of the project partners.