Active Pilgrims targets a whole community

The Active Pilgrims programme offers affordable and accessible opportunities for people to participate in a wide variety of sports within the Boston Borough.  The project targets various sectors of the community, in particular those who are semi sporty, or who have dropped their levels of physical activity levels and those with a disability. The project also focuses on getting more NGB coaches qualified, allowing them to develop their skills and increase their employability opportunities.

Activities include football and multi sports sessions, golf, badminton, cycling, rounders, basketball, netball, jogging and keep fit. They offer sessions for specific social groups, such as disability specific sessions, women only sessions and sessions for youths aged between 11 and 18 years. There are exercise groups for the over 50s and classes for mums.

Nick Reeson, the project manager, said:” We believe our project has impacted the community by giving them greater opportunities to improve their heath and overall wellbeing by taking activities in to the communities. We feel the project has helped address the issue of low sports participation levels in Boston and the high levels of obesity levels for adults which is above the national average. Our programme also addresses social issues and this is helped through working with key partners within the area in order to deliver a project that fits the needs of participants and breaks down the barriers they face in accessing sport. The project brings people together and with Boston being a town, which has seen, a high population increase of European migrants in recent years, helps to break barriers between the various cultural backgrounds and bring people together through the power of sport thus improving community cohesion in the town”.

The project overall aims to improve participants physical and mental wellbeing by helping them create a sporting habit of a lifetime of participating in at least 1×30 mins of physical activity a week. Throughout the project, participants are given questionnaires to measure the effects they feel the project is having on their overall health and lifestyle. Participants have stated that on a whole they feel the project has influenced them to adopt a healthier and active lifestyle and improved their confidence and self-esteem to partake in more physical activity.

A participant who particularly benefits from the project is a male who suffers from schizophrenia. He attends 4-Active Pilgrims sessions a week and is widely involved within our community programme, as he also volunteers 2 days a week at the Jakemans stadium to help out. He enjoys taking part in the variety of activities, with his main reasons for taking part in the sessions including having fun, learning new skills and improving his fitness. He has improved his social skills and confidence significantly since taking part in all the sessions and that has led him to when given the opportunity to try new things.

The success of the project has led to plans for the formation of the Boston United Basketball Club and Boston United Badminton Club in the near future.

After 18 months the overal attendance at sessions had reached over 10,000 people.