Get Fit Wales is a free programme that encourages young people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Those who sign up to the programme track their steps to earn ‘points’ that can be spent in businesses across South Wales. For example, 12.K steps (10KM) can be used to spend on a healthy school meal, or a fitness class.
The RIIC Hub started to work with Newydd Housing and the HAPI project team on Get Fit Wales during the pandemic. Recent data by Cardiff University shows one in five (19%) of young people in Wales experienced mental health problems before the pandemic, with another study showing this group suffering the largest deterioration in mental wellbeing as a result of COVID-19.
We have worked with Newydd Housing Association and HAPI to successfully pilot Get Fit Wales across five schools in Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff and Vale.
The project so far has been really successful – children have enjoyed spending points earned from exercise on things like healthy canteen meals, school jump queue passes and free local fruit and veg. We would like to sustain and widespread these opportunities further.
Marking the start of Children’s Mental Health Week in February 2022, we worked with Newydd, HAPI and Cardiff and Vale RIIC Hub to launch the Step Up Challenge’.
The Step Up Challenge was a ‘virtual 10K’ to get children moving and earn more points. Those who complete the challenge earned 10 points, to be exchanged for items such as two healthy meals in the school canteen or a gym pass.
We worked with our partners to engage local schools, and in total, over 100 young people took part, walking a total of 125,000 steps.
The challenge was featured on ITV Wales News at prime time on a Friday evening, and as a result, more schools have enquired about taking part in Get Fit Wales.
We have identified new partners to support with role out across Wales. Working alongside Newydd, Cardiff and Vale RIIC Hub, Public Health Wales, University of Trinity St David, Wales Institute of Digital Information and regional health board and community experts, we have been working on creating a new digital portal where Get Fit Wales can be accessible to many more participants.
As a collaborative, we aim to seek funding to develop and grow the Get Fit Wales offer, while also evaluating the positive impact regular exercise has on health, happiness and wellbeing.
For more information, or to get involved in Get Fit Wales, click here.