In September 2017, a collaboration (Glasgow Caledonian University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Wigan Council, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and LLT) received funding from the Wellcome Trust to explore whether improvements could be made to leisure and health programmes aimed at middle-aged and older adults in Wigan Borough, using engagement with scientific research as a foundation for making change. The project, led by Nick Colledge, involved multiple workshops with older people to ‘improve the leisure provision’. A full report of ‘A Strong and Balanced Offer’ (Jan 2019), including all the steps for the service improvement programme, can be found here. We would encourage other leisure services to adopt this service improvement protocol.
The older adults produced a set of recommendations for improvements to promotion of strength and balance within programmes, recruitment of activity champions, improving accessibility and evaluation the effect of these changes in practice to uptake of activities that improve strength and balance within Wigan. Many of these have now been implemented by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and recently the activity champions (part of the original team of older people involved) have produced a fantastic free online video which encourages people to do strength and balance activities at home and then come and join group activities to further improve their strength and balance. You can view the YouTube video here.