A project by the Booth Centre, a homeless day centre in Manchester, to help local people become more active and healthier has won backing from Sport England.
The Booth Centre has been awarded funding as part of Sport England’s strategy to improve people’s health and mental wellbeing through sport and activity.
Sport England is funding a wide range of projects around the country, using varying approaches to help people to feel healthier, happier, more confident and able to cope with life’s pressures, or more connected to their families and communities.
Sport England research shows that a third of people on low incomes are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week. And inactivity in people on a low income is twice that of people on a high income.
The Booth Centre in Manchester supports people who are homeless, or with experience of homelessness, to move into sustainable accommodation, improve their health, find employment and take steps to build a more positive future. With the support of the funding from Sport England, the Booth Centre will be able to offer more people the opportunity to take part in sports activities by providing free sessions, purchasing clothing and equipment and working in partnership with sporting experts and other community organisations.
Booth Centre’s CEO, Amanda Croome, said: “We’re delighted to have this support from Sport England to enhance our sports programme at the Booth Centre. We have seen the transformative impact that being able to access sport has for people’s physical and mental well being, and we want to be able to help more people who visit our centre to get involved in new activities. It really can be a life changing opportunity for the people we support.”
Darren, 48 and from Manchester, is a volunteer at the Booth Centre. Darren has been supported by the Booth Centre in the past, and now spends his time helping to run and take part in sports sessions at the centre.
Darren said: “Being able to help run and take part in sports activities like table tennis, boxing and running at the Booth Centre has been so beneficial for me personally. It’s not only improved my physical fitness, but also my mental health and confidence, and I’ve been able to develop some new skills. I never thought I’d be able to try archery for example, it’s a lot of fun! The sessions are free so it takes the cost away for people, which makes it all more accessible. The centre has helped me get involved in sports that I otherwise wouldn’t have tried and at my age, it’s really important to keep a healthy body and mind.”
Sport England Executive Director, Mike Diaper, said: “The Booth Centre has a strong track record of working with their local community and we’re very excited by how their project could make such a positive difference to people’s lives.
“We know that people on a low income can face many pressures that make it difficult for them to be as active as they would like to be. So we’re working with community-focused organisations across the country to find ways to help people fit physical activity into their lives in ways that work for them.
“The lessons we learn from this local project will really help to shape our work with similar groups across the country.”
Find out more about joining the Booth Centre's running team in this year's Great Manchester Run!