Fit Villages is to expand it's work in rural communities across Suffolk after receiving Big Lottery Funding

Fit Villages is to expand it's work in rural communities across Suffolk after receiving Big Lottery Funding

Posted: Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:05

Fit Villages is to expand it's work in rural communities across Suffolk after receiving Big Lottery Funding

Suffolk Sport is delighted to announce that its Fit Villages project, aimed at helping rural communities to get active, has been awarded £325,000 from the Big Lotteries Reaching Communities Fund, helping to continue to deliver an extended version of its award winning project*.

Fit Villages, now in its eighth year, has received funding for the next three years to help reach more villages and inactive older people across the county.

Fit Villages plays a vital role supporting Suffolk Sport's vision to inspire more people across Suffolk to get active, improving their health and wellbeing. Suffolk has double the national average (38%) of residents living in rural areas and by 2021 nearly a quarter (24.5%) of Suffolk's population will be over 65 years old, increasing to one in three adults by 2039. Fit Villages is a project designed to help maintain a healthy and active aging population, build community cohesion and to help reduce the associated health costs of inactivity in adults across Suffolk, currently costing an estimated £17.7 million each year.

The rural-focused project helps to address issues associated with rural deprivation, including limited access to opportunities, social isolation and health-related implications of inactivity within the local community. The project helps villagers in rural locations to set up physical activity programmes, using facilities such as village halls, community centres or playing fields. New villages are surveyed to find appropriate activities for the residents and are supported with initial funding to create sustainable classes and sessions.

30 new projects will be delivered each year, helping over 1,000 new participants in villages to become active by the end of the 3 year project. New activities will work alongside more traditional Fit Villages activities, continuing to increase access and social engagement. The new Fit Villages project will seek to engage wider audiences by working with partner organisations who are keen to help support the health and wellbeing of residents in rurally isolated communities.

Tracy Brownlow, Director of Health and Wellbeing said "We are so proud of the achievements of Fit Villages over the last seven years and are looking forward to delivering more award winning services to the community over the next three years after being awarded funding from Reaching Communities . It is so important as a County Sports Partnership to deliver projects that meet the needs of our population, in this instance, isolated rural communities, to help them stay active and healthy for longer and to increase wellbeing and social opportunities ."

To find any Fit Villages activity taking place in a village near you visit

If you live in a rural village and would like to register you interest in a project in your community please contact Hollie Wood, Fit Villages Co-ordinator on 01394 444289 or complete the enquiry form on the website.

*winner of National Impact Award for Social and Community Development 2017.

Tags: Big Lottery Fund, Community, Fit Villages, Reaching Communities