The iCan way of thinking- Improving the health and fitness of our local veterans
In 2015, the Glenmore Trust was awarded a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant to kick start a community gardening project in Carlisle. Due to changes in staff; momentum was lost. Early in 2017, the Trust met the Local Authority, who administer the fund to inform them that the project had not gone ahead. However, the remaining funds were ring fenced. At the meeting, the Trust was told that it could spend the grant as it saw fit.
The Trust approached our team at iCAN Health and Fitness CIC to develop a health and well-being pilot based on exercise, eating and friendship for ex-services.
Following support from the membership of Carlisle Ex Services Community Network Supporters meeting, the Trust passed its grant funding to iCAN to run a pilot project.
The aim was to provide a 6-month period of free membership to ex service personnel. Because of the small amount of funding, we proposed to limit this in the first instance to personnel, not their families.
The total budget for the programme was £4,179
All participants joined either because they had seen the publicity or by word of mouth.
Number of participants: 10
Gender Mix: 7 Female 3 male
Age Range: 32 – 77 years
Forces: Army, Navy, RAF, WRAC
Timescale for completion: Between 22/4/17 and 23/7/17
There was a “combined years of service” totalling 130 years.
Feedback from participants has been very positive. They particularly liked the sense of being part of a supportive community. “The environment is warm and inviting” and the role of the volunteer mentor is well liked. A number of participants have been very successful in improving overall fitness and subsequent well-being. One participant has become noticeably more confident.
“I lost weight and inches – good encouragement from instructors. I have found a gym I enjoy attending – also met some very nice people” Carol B ex-Navy.
Carole lost 7.5 lbs, 10” and 5% of body fat.
“I have had 9 operations on my knee, it is now considerably stronger” Peter C ex-Army.
We would have liked to have seen a higher conversion, but 3 people signed up to become members after the project. However, 1 member has been with us since her start in April 2017.
“I was given the opportunity to join iCAN on a 6-month funded project that was specifically for veterans. I wasn’t sure how it would go; however, I have been seriously impressed with how much fitter I am. I train 4 to 5 times a week and have lost a total of 9 pounds. Now that doesn’t sound like much but the incredible part is, I’ve lost 28 inches all over so I’m down a few sizes in clothes losing 9 inches from my hips alone. I’ve got more energy, I’m eating healthier food options and I’ve made new friends. I am so grateful to have been introduced to this project as it’s had a positive impact on my life. As a result, I have since joined iCAN as a full-time member. If further funding becomes available for another project like this for veterans, I would be honoured to mentor participants as I know what it’s like to be fit whilst in the military and to lose that once leaving.”
Pauline W ex British Army and Royal New Zealand Navy.
A total of 98 inches was lost and nearly 4 stone in weight.
We have learned a lot from this project and certainly what type of support ex services are in need of. Since this project, we have developed a LIVE WELL GUIDE, which covers the entire BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL model, including emotional resilience and feel confident in delivering another project in the future.