The FAST programme – Families Active, Sporting Together – is a ground-breaking initiative to encourage children, parents and others to enjoy sports as a family and become more physically active. Led by Cherwell District Council and funded by Sport England, FAST builds on evidence that parents are influential role models for children and can lead by example.

The programme was implemented in response to recent data collected through the Active Lives report which shows that activity levels in Cherwell are below the national average, with only 57.8% of the population classified as ‘active’. FAST, which is run in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, is addressing this issue by providing families with access to free indoor and outdoor Youth Activator sessions and affordable access to local leisure centres and clubs. Families on the programme receive a FAST card, which provides major discounts at local leisure centres and clubs. Family swimming, for example, costs £3 per family instead of £13, bowling is £3 a game instead of £12.30, boxing is £1 per person instead of £5 and Clip n Climb is 10% cheaper. These discounts have been very successful. To date, family swimming, bowling, boxing and Clip n Climb have seen 7478, 680, 324 and 566 individual attendances each.

The programme is also encouraging families to be active in their own time with online offers such as Street Tag, an app which allows families to earn points from physical activities indoors and outdoors, including walking, running, cycling, by scanning virtual tags. With their points, families get rewards and win prizes.

Since 2018, over 6,900 individuals have signed up for the FAST programme, with 22% of families currently engaging with FAST living in the 30% most deprived wards in Cherwell District. Prior to starting the programme, only 15% of families reported being active together five or more times a month compared to 52% of families at the time of our follow up survey.

The FAST programme allows our NHS Forest team to work closely with local communities to understand health promotion, including the use of local green space for health and wellbeing.

Read more information on this programme from Cherwell District Council.

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