Hundreds of families getting fit FAST in Banbury

An initiative, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of families in Banbury is proving a hit, with 1,600 adults and children signing up in the first year.

Published: Thursday, 7th November 2019

The FAST programme, which stands for Families Active Sporting Together, was established after Cherwell District Council secured a £215,000 grant from Sport England last autumn. That funding enabled Cherwell to employ four youth activators and put together a four-year scheme to offer a tailored approach to physical activity for groups considered most in need.

Free, after school sports sessions are now offered in Ruscote, Hardwick, Neithrop and Grimsbury, designed to encourage adults and youngsters to be active together. Families in these wards are also invited to sign up for a FAST card, offering special offers on sports and wellbeing activities in Cherwell, making it easier and more affordable to be physically active as a family.

Almost 500 families are now taking part and Sport England have hailed it as the most successful project of its kind in terms of participation rates.

Nicola Riley, Cherwell’s assistant director for wellbeing said: “The programme is proving to be very popular and just the right combination of incentives and support to help families become more active together. 

“Research shows that sharing time together and improving activity levels has positive effects on both mental and physical health.  If you haven’t signed up yet and you live in the FAST area, I encourage you to get a FAST card and start enjoying the benefits.”

Feedback has also been hugely positive. In a recent survey of FAST participants, 96 per cent say they would recommend it to their friends and family.

Plans are now underway to consider how Cherwell can roll-out the FAST programme to families in other parts of the district, with successful schemes already running at primary schools in Bicester and Kidlington.

For more information on how to sign up for a FAST card, the special offers available and the terms and conditions, go to: https://www.cherwell.gov.uk/info/3/leisure-and-culture/107/be-active-more-often/2