Active West Lancs has provided small grants to its Associate Partner organisations to help them get people in West Lancashire more active and by so doing help to improve either their mental or physical health.

Sporting Challenge was one such group and last year were awarded £500.

Sporting Challenge is a group of Parent/Carers who from 2008 have been providing sporting activities for around 55 people with learning disabilities in West Lancashire to keep them fit and healthy. These evening and weekend activities include Ten Pin Bowling, Aerobics, Swimming and Boccia/Kurling at local Sports Centres.

Many people with a learning disability don’t take part in any exercise activity because the family/carers who support them are not motivated or are unable to take them on such activities and they can’t go on their own.  Sporting Challenge provides sessional workers who support people to undertake sporting activities at local sports centres.

The regular physical activities and social contact received as a result of taking part in the project improved people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. The project also led to further improvements in their confidence, self-esteem and independence skills.

The adults with a learning disability benefited from spending time away from their families so as to experience new leisure activities, develop friendships and improve their independence skills. Families gained some valuable respite time.

It is hoped that the project will encourage individuals to continue with the activities in their own time with the appropriate support.