sccSunderland Armed Forces Network (SAFN) has joined forces with the Sunderland Move to Improve programme and Everyone Active leisure facilities to provide opportunities for Sunderland ex-service men and women and war veterans to be more physically active and improve their health and well-being.

It is well known that physical activity can not only make you fitter, stronger and healthier, but it also has a very positive effect on mental health and can improve mood, confidence and self-esteem.
Some servicemen and women leave the armed forces without jobs and find it difficult to adjust to civilian life. Attending this programme will help them to lead a healthier lifestyle and feel more positive about the future.

The Move to Improve programme provides physical activity for people who live in Sunderland, are registered with a Sunderland GP and have a long-term medical condition that can be improved through a bespoke exercise programme.

The programme takes place at Everyone Active centres across the city as well as parks and green spaces. Activities include: gym, exercise classes, walking, cycling and swimming, and the programme lasts for 12 weeks with the option of continuing for a further 12 weeks if needed.

Those attending the programme will have an initial assessment and full induction. A bespoke exercise programme will be given to each individual based on the type of activities they prefer. Progress will be monitored throughout and support will be given by the Move to Improve team to ensure that everyone gets the best from the programme.

Graham Hall of SAFN said: “This is all about getting people feeling better about themselves and improving their physical and mental health. It is immaterial when you served or how long you have been out of the services, you can apply for the programme. We are concentrating on those in immediate need but invite any veteran who may be interested to contact us as we hope to extend the programme in the near future.

Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, who is also the council’s Armed forces champion, said: “As a council we’re very proud of our links with the armed services. We work very closely with the Sunderland Armed Forced Network to support veterans and ex-servicemen. So we’re very happy to be extending the Move to Improve programme to them to help them get back into civilian life.”

Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active’s Contract Manager, said: “Sunderland has some fabulous facilities and the team at Everyone Active are looking forward to working with the Move to Improve team and SAFN on this programme. We welcome the opportunity to have war veterans and ex-servicemen and women in the facilities, and are happy to help them on their road to recovery.”
For more information on the Sunderland Armed Forces Network and accessing this programme contact: Graham Hall at info@safn.org.uk

For more details on the Move to Improve programme contact: Christine Bulmer, Wellness Programme Manager on 0191 5614568 or christine.bulmer@sunderland.gov.uk
For more information on Everyone Active visit www.everyoneactive.com