National Lottery funding gets city on its feet

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Pole Walking at Mountbatten web

BH Live, in partnership with Nordic Walking UK and Portsmouth City Council, is celebrating after being awarded £4,200 of National Lottery funding to run a series of low cost Pole Walking sessions across the city.

The weekly walking sessions, which begin next week, are open to all from absolute beginners to experienced walkers. A Pole Walking Rehabilitation session will also run, aimed at people with long term health conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, joint pain and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The funding, awarded through Sport England’s small grants programme, will enable BH Live to train its instructors to deliver the sessions. It will also enable the social enterprise to buy specialist Activator Fitness Walking poles which have been designed in consultation with occupational therapists and physiotherapists who specialise in balance, post-surgical injury and inactivity in older people.

Pole Walking has many benefits. It is a low impact walking exercise and activates 90% of the body's muscles. It can improve coordination, stamina, balance, intake of oxygen and endurance. It also tones upper arms, shoulders, back muscles and develops core stability and strength. Furthermore, taking part in regular exercise in a social community environment is proven to improve mental health and wellbeing too.

Rob Cunningham, BH Live’s Divisional General Manager is delighted to have been awarded the funding and explains the impact he hopes it will have on health of the city.

He says, “The Activator Pole Walking sessions are a welcome addition to our activity programme; especially the rehabilitation session for people with long term health conditions. Our aim is to encourage even more people to take part in regular physical activity which will ultimately have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. We are incredibly grateful to Nordic Walking UK, the council and everyone who plays the National Lottery – their support has helped to make this happen.”

On behalf of Nordic Walking UK, Gill Stewart added, “We are delighted to be working with BH Live on this new scheme. Using Activator poles is a simple and effective way to help people increase mobility and activity levels. It’s a great way to improve balance and posture whilst working all the major muscles.”

Cllr Pitt Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Portsmouth City Council said: "We're really pleased to have been awarded the funding to enable these Pole Walking sessions which provide all the health and wellbeing benefits of social, regular exercise. It's great to be able provide rehabilitation walking sessions as well, for people with long term health conditions."

Find out more about the sessions, including price and locations, at or telephone 02393 200 401.

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