East Kent Mencap receives funding for new round of Fit Start club

Gary Price taking part in the fun and games

Thanet learning disability charity East Kent Mencap has received funding for a free healthy living club in Ramsgate.

Fit Start is a weekly club run by East Kent Mencap, and provides the opportunity for adults with a learning disability to find out about how they can lead healthier lifestyles through making changes to their diet and exercise regimes.

The charity launched the club in April 2015, and received funding to run it for just over a year. During this time, Fit Start made a real difference to the health of those that attended the club. By the tenth week, 50% of the group had already lowered their resting heart rate and blood pressure, the same number had lost weight, and a third had lowered their BMI.

Natalie Stephens flexing her muscles

Due to this success, the club attracted the interest of Heart Research UK and Subway, who offered to continue funding Fit Start through their Healthy Heart Grant. This grant will allow East Kent Mencap to run its healthy living club for a total of 40 weeks, which will be offered in  four 10-week courses.

The club will continue to be led by Motiv8 Sports’ Kimberley Besant, who said: “I was so excited to hear that Fit Start had received further funding. When we spoke to participants about the possibility of it not continuing, there was a real look of disappointment in their faces, so to now know that we can to provide a further 40 weeks is beyond satisfying.”

Heart Research UK head of lifestyle, Barbara Dinsdale said: “One of the aims of our Heart Research UK and Subway Healthy Heart Grant scheme is to encourage people of all walks of life to improve their heart health.  We are really looking forward to supporting this project and are confident that it will have a positive effect in improving the heart-health of participants.”

Sacha Clark, Marketing Director for the Subway® brand in UK and Ireland, said: “The Subway brand is delighted to be able to help fund this worthwhile initiative which helps people live healthier lifestyles. Subway stores nationwide have enjoyed fundraising and it’s great to see local community initiatives such as this come to fruition as a result of the money generously donated by our customers both in store and at fundraising events, like our popular family 5K series.”

The first ten-week course will begin on Wednesday, November 15 and take place at Forester’s Hall in Ramsgate, between 4pm and 6pm. To join the course, please contact Maria Kourellias at [email protected], or call 01843 594902.