Cash boost gives hundred more families the opportunity to get fit FAST

A successful project helping hundreds of families in Banbury to get active together, is being rolled out in Bicester and Kidlington.

Published: Monday, 6th January 2020

FAST, standing for Families Active Sporting Together, has been running in four wards in Banbury for more than a year. Funded by a £215,000 grant from Sports England, the programme has helped more than 1,700 children and adults, offering free after school activities and money-off sports deals for the whole family to take part in together. A recent survey of FAST participants in Banbury showed 96 per cent would recommend the programme to family and friends, with the scheme proving so popular that Cherwell District Council has received a further £375,000 from Sport England, to broaden the scheme to include Bicester and Kidlington.

Mike Diaper, Executive Director for Children, Young People and Tackling Inactivity, at Sport England said; “We know that getting active can help manage and reduce many of the leading causes of ill health. Cherwell’s FAST programme helps families get active together by encouraging different generations to inspire each other.”

“The project in Banbury has shown strong results to date, helping more than 500 families to take part in sports activity together in wards particularly affected by high levels of inactivity. This is why we are investing more National Lottery funding to extend this project to families living in Bicester and Kidlington.”

From Monday 20 January, heavily discounted offers on a range of sports activities will be made available to those signing up to a FAST card, including: a family swim at Bicester or Kidlington and Gosford Leisure Centre for £3 instead of £13; 15 per cent off Clip ‘n Climb Bicester for Monday to Friday 'open' sessions; and £10 for a 6-week family tennis programme (saving £15) at Kidlington and Gosford Leisure Centre. Free family sports sessions are already taking place at schools in Bicester and Kidlington, with more being planned over the coming months. There are also savings on healthy meals at selected food outlets.

Councillor George Reynolds, Cherwell’s lead member for leisure and sport said: “The roll out of FAST to Bicester and Kidlington is extremely exciting news. For those taking part, it offers a variety of fun activities for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy together, inspiring each other to commit to healthier lifestyles.

“But more than that, research shows that sharing time together and improving activity levels has positive effects on both mental and physical health. The FAST programme therefore not only benefits the participants, but by improving their general wellbeing, it reduces the need for doctors’ appointments and helps to alleviate some of the pressure on our existing health services.”

More than three thousand residents will be eligible to take part in the new extended FAST scheme. In line with the offer in Banbury, the project will encompass wards with higher recorded levels of inactivity including families living in Bicester East, Bicester West, Bicester Town, Kidlington East and Kidlington West.

The FAST project is one of a series of wellbeing initiatives being implemented by Cherwell in 2020. It follows the recent announcement of the new healthy place shaping programme, K5 Better Together, for Kidlington and the surrounding area, inspired by the Healthy Bicester partnership. Cllr McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Giving our residents the opportunity to live happy, healthy lives is one of Cherwell’s key priorities. The FAST programme is a great example of this, offering families the chance to improve their wellbeing in an easy and affordable way.”

For more information on how to sign up for a FAST card, the special offers available and the terms and conditions, go to: www.cherwell.gov.uk/FAST