Partnership case study: ‘Fit in the Community’ by Nottingham City Homes

We want as many of our tenants as possible, from all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be more active. By making sport and physical activity more accessible to them, we aim to promote the importance that these activities play in their lives. Doing so empowers individuals to sustain the change, not just by taking part but by leading a new kind of fitness offer in their local area.

Our challenge

As a landlord we manage around 29,000 homes across Nottingham City, housing 25% of the city’s population. Around 60% of our properties are located in the 10% most deprived areas nationally, where our communities experience multiple barriers that prevent them from taking part in sport and physical activity.

Through consultation, we know that these barriers include:

  • cost
  • a lack of motivation
  • the need for childcare
  • a lack of local provision

We want to help people overcome these barriers, so that they can begin to enjoy the same health and wellbeing benefits of exercise as people living in all other areas across the city.

Our solution

‘Fit in the Community’ began in November 2014. Funded by Sport England, and in Partnership with Nottingham City Council, our aim is to encourage 5,500 tenants who don’t currently exercise to integrate regular physical activity into their lifestyles.

To achieve this we’ve set up over 40 free, or low cost fitness sessions across the city, including family and adult only classes, subsidised leisure centre access, and male/female only classes.

We’ve also recruited over 50 volunteers who have received training and mentoring to help them to develop as confident community coaches. Through our volunteers we hope to create sustainable community delivery.  

Our impact

We have appointed an independent organisation to carry out monitoring and evaluation for the project. We hope to draw clear conclusions about the immediate and wider value the project delivers, along with the impact this kind of community sport offer can have. 

To date, we have engaged with just under 5000 people from across the city. We have had:

  • 7000 attendances at our sessions, by around 2000 people
  • Just over 1600 people who have talked to us during the consultation
  • 44 people signed up as ambassadors for the project
  • 120 attendances at 41 different training courses.

The people we have engaged with have been between the ages of 14 – 87, and from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnic and cultural groups. A large proportion are also new to activity and haven’t necessarily felt confident enough or had the ability to access main stream activity before now.

Our partners         

The project has been funded by Sport England, whilst Nottingham City Homes are managing the project in partnership with Nottingham City Council’s sport and leisure team.

Together we are also working with a number of other partners to deliver the program, including:

  • Street Games
  • Football in the Community
  • national governing bodies for priority sports

Our role

Social Housing tenants are a hard to reach target group in the eyes of sport England and partnering organisations. This market development project aims to bridge that gap, by utilising the relationship we have with our customers.

The project is being delivered in a social housing setting, across our neighbourhoods and we are working with the sport and leisure team to create an offer that is bespoke to social housing occupants and their needs.

We are using existing methods of communication to engage people with physical activity. Some of these communications channels have included our publications, contact centre, online presence and front-facing staff.

Our contribution to improving health

We believe that we can contribute towards the following Public Health outcomes:

  • (2.13ii) Percentage of physically active and inactive adults
  • (2.12) Excess weight in adults
  • (1.16) Utilisation of outdoor space for exercise/health reasons

We are addressing the barriers our tenants experience that prevent them from being physically inactive, by ensuring:

  • activities are free/low cost
  • we provide family sessions
  • sessions are delivered in local, community based venues.

This is being developed alongside a targeted marketing campaign that is based around the perceptions and experiences of actual session participants. We hope to share their positive experiences with others who can relate to them, to motivate our tenants to make a change.

By engaging new participants in this way we hope to be able to increase the number of active people living in the city, whilst potentially helping to decrease excess weight in adults in the same area.