Sporting Chance stockton-on-tees new project

Sporting Chance, our innovative project that addresses social isolation and poor physical and mental health amongst men aged 50+ in Middlesbrough, has been replicated in Stockton-on-Tees.

Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group will provide funding for a one year pilot programme, with the aim of supporting at least 100 older men to improve their health and wellbeing and expand their social networks.

The first Sporting Chance project was set up in 2013 to help address health inequalities in Middlesbrough. The project team began delivering a broad range of free activities for older men; including football sessions, circuit training, healthy cooking classes, aquasize, Nordic walking, weight management classes and reminiscence sessions. In the first two years, more than 500 men took part, attending more than 10,000 activity sessions.

At the end of the second year a thorough evaluation was carried out. Throughout the questionnaires, focus groups and interviews, the words ‘camaraderie’, ‘laughter’ and ‘mutual support’ came up again and again. 100% of respondents felt happier in themselves, 98% made new friends, 83% had begun to eat a healthier diet, 75% lost weight and 42% visited the doctor less frequently.

Oonagh Aitken, Chief Executive of Volunteering Matters, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been given the opportunity to replicate our Sporting Chance model in Stockton-on-tees. Social isolation and health inequalities are some of the biggest challenges our communities face, and we know from experience that this model delivers great results for older men. I’m very much looking forward to watching this project grow and develop.”



Photo Credit: Ageing Better Middlesbrough