New scheme to help Armed Forces veterans keep fit is to launch in Tameside
Wednesday 16th May 2018 @ 12:09 by Tom Greggan
News Tameside

A unique scheme that will help Armed Forces veterans keep fit and healthy is to be kick-started in Tameside.

Sport England have awarded a grant of £319,500 to Tameside Armed Forces Community (TASC) and GreaterSport, who will deliver the programme alongside collaborative partners including Tameside Council and the Ministry of Defence.

It will create and deliver a programme of physical activity sessions to be delivered by partner organisations and community clubs for the benefit of the Armed Forces Community.

The programme aims to reduce social isolation as well as increase the amount of service leavers taking part in physical activity. It will also support local businesses delivering the sessions, boosting the local economy.

The scheme will be delivered in Tameside for the first year, and then rolled out across Greater Manchester in years two and three, but all Greater Manchester veterans will be able to take part.

Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “This initiative will help veterans who have given so much service to their country stay fit and healthy, boost mental wellbeing and be involved in their community.

“It also provides an opportunity for us and collaborative partners to make significant progress on the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant throughout Tameside and Greater Manchester.

“TASC, now in its second year of existence, will be the primary point of contact and will provide extensive support for the participants. The project has been developed through extensive collaborative workshops with the Armed Forces community in Tameside, in conjunction with GreaterSport. Tameside’s project was chosen from a heavily oversubscribed Sport England round where it was seen to be ambitious and unique.”

Eighteen organisations across the country will benefit from the National Lottery funding to help people stay active.

Cllr Warrington, Chief Executive Steven Pleasant and colleagues recently attended the Greater Manchester Armed Forces Covenant summit, alongside Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, at Gorton Monastery.

The Covenant, signed by the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is a commitment to the Armed Forces Community that they receive the levels of support they need.

The summit saw representatives from local authorities, the Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces and partner agencies discuss how best to deliver the Covenant.

They set out standards that veterans can expect around housing, employment and health as they make their transition back into our communities.

Commitments made included creating pathways that seek to end veterans living on the streets by 2020 and help them gain employment and skills and linking existing data systems to aid service delivery.

The physical activity project coincides with the appointment of an Armed Forces Officer for the GMCA, who will lead the Covenant’s development. The ten local authorities will also work collaboratively to develop policy and wider learning, an approach which is unique in the UK.