Pompey in the Community are inviting fans to tackle their weight, get healthier and be happier by joining FIT FANS – a free 12-week programme at the Pompey Study Centre.
Launching in January 2020 at 30 English clubs, the EFL Trust initiative is being supported by more than £2.25 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England.
It aims to use the appeal of football to tackle obesity levels of more than 10,000 fans across the country.
There are 36.4 million people (61.4 per cent of England’s population) living within 10 miles of an EFL ground, with four in 10 residents in this catchment area falling into the most-deprived population groups.
Sport England have identified lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes and that is why they have joined forces with the EFL Trust network to help people create a long-term healthy and active lifestyle.
FIT FANS is one of a number of initiatives aimed at tackling this issue, which is one of Sport England’s key priorities.
FIT FANS is the operating name in England and Wales for Football Fans in Training, which was created in a Scotland by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.
The programme shows individuals how to:
- Improve their eating habits by reducing portion sizes and swapping fatty and sugary foods for fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods.
- Achieve at least 45 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. They receive weekly exercise sessions at their club for 12 weeks and follow a personal pedometer-based walking programme that encourages them to fit physical activity into their daily lives.
- Use tried-and-tested behaviour change techniques to become more active and improve their diet. This includes regular self-monitoring of their weight and pedometer step counts and setting SMART goals to make changes that can be sustained long term.
The 12-week programme gives fans unprecedented access to their club and a look behind the scenes.
In 2011/12, a large scale randomised, controlled trial study showed that 12 months after the programme, men had lost an average of five per cent of their starting weight by making gradual practical changes to their physical activity and diet, that they could keep up in their everyday lives.
Mike Evans, director of operations at the EFL Trust, said: “FIT FANS is an example of our potential to make a really significant contribution to the health of our communities.
“We are excited by the prospect of rolling the programme out across our network and reaching many thousands of men and women.”
Patrick Brosnan, Sport England’s football lead, added: “We are delighted to see the success FIT FANS has had in its pilot phase at five EFL clubs in England and hope that the National Lottery funding to EFL Trust will go a long way in harnessing football fans’ love for the game to support more people to lead healthy and active lives.”
Nicky Reid, chief executive for the SPFL Trust commented: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with the EFL Trust to bring Football Fans in Training to clubs right across the EFL.
“The programme – which was developed in Scotland – has been life-changing for thousands of men and women, in both the short and long-term.
“I am sure that thousands of football fans are going to love being part of the programme and are going to reap enormous rewards by being healthier and happier.”
Do you want to kick-start the new you for 2020? Visit www.efltrust.com/FITFANS to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in the FIT POMPEY programme.