More places on Portsmouth’s exercise referral scheme available

More people in Portsmouth can be prescribed gym sessions, swims and exercise classes through their GP thanks to an exercise referral scheme which is expanding across the region.

People looking for help to manage symptoms caused by diabetes, hypertension, weight, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neuro-muscular conditions, a stroke, mental illness and emotional stress can ask their GP or a health professional to refer them to BH Live’s exercise referral scheme to help improve their symptoms through physical activity.

Activities can also improve overall health and aid recovery from injury.

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The scheme works closely alongside charities including the Working Age Parkinson’s Portsmouth and Different Strokes, to facilitate exercise sessions to help these conditions.

The exercise referral programme is offered to local residents in conjunction with Macmillan Physical Activity Project in South East Hampshire, Wessex Cancer Trust, Portsmouth hospitals and Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Physiotherapy and Neurological departments, local GP surgeries and Hampshire Exercise Referral Forum.

Activity sessions including referral-specific exercise classes, and mainstream sessions in the gym, pool or studio are supported by BH Live over a twelve-week period.

The scheme is currently available at Mountbatten Leisure Centre and Pyramids with activities also available at Charter Community Sports Centre, Wimbledon Park Sports Centre, Portsmouth Tennis and Gymnastics Centres and Eastney Swimming Pool.

“It is well-documented that taking part in some form of physical activity can make it easier for people to cope with or recover from illness, says Claire Oatridge, BH Live’s Regional Head of Operations.

“It can also help people to feel less isolated which can be a significant factor towards recovery. The team has had specialist training, including Cancer Rehabilitation through Macmillan Cancer Support, to ensure they can help with a wide range of health conditions.

“We have lots of places available and encourage anyone who is ready to start feeling the benefits of being more active to ask about joining the scheme.”

To access the scheme, residents can be referred from their GP, consultant, nurse or health professional. They can also visit an exercise referral specialist at Mountbatten Leisure Centre and Pyramids.

Since February, when BH Live was awarded the contract to operate the city’s seven venues in partnership with Portsmouth City Council, more than 80 people have signed up to the scheme and are already feeling the benefits of being more active.

Cllr Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport, adds: “It’s great that people will be able to use our centres as part of their rehabilitation or to manage health problems. Being active is key to staying healthy and we’ve got some fantastic facilities that can help people do that.”

Portsmouth’s Interaction Service, which offers local residents, living with mental health conditions, support and activities to improve their overall health and wellbeing, is also now being run by the social enterprise. This has brought services together making it easier for the community to identify and access activities.

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Notes to editors:

How to join the exercise referral scheme and associated costs

Residents can either be referred from their GP, consultant, nurse or health professional, or visit an exercise referral specialist at Mountbatten Leisure Centre and Pyramids.

There is a £10 fee to join the scheme. This covers an hour’s consultation to discuss medical history and plan a personalised 12-week programme of discounted indoor and outdoor activities. These activities are available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Some recommended activities will also be free.

About BH Live

BH Live is the south coast’s leading operator of leisure and event venues; a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

In Portsmouth BH Live operates, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council:

  • Pyramids Centre One of Portsmouth’s leading entertainment and leisure complexes with views of Southsea beach and the Solent. It has fun pools, flumes, waves and a three-level soft play adventure world. There is also a multipurpose gym, more than 60 weekly fitness classes and a spa. Regular live music performances, conferences, exhibitions and private events are hosted in the venue.
  • Mountbatten Leisure Centre – Portsmouth’s flagship leisure and event venue with a national-class 50m swimming pool, 150 station gym, 8 court sports hall, 2 squash courts, spin and dance studios, a cycle velodrome, athletics track, function suites, and an onsite café
  • Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre – consists of a state-of-the-art gymnastics hall, physiotherapy room and meeting room
  • Portsmouth Tennis Centre – consists of 4 indoor tennis courts and 6 floodlit outdoor tennis courts
  • Eastney Swimming Pool – 20m swimming pool and a spectators’ area
  • Wimbledon Park Sports Centre – 20 station gym, 5 badminton courts, basketball court and sports hall
  • Charter Community Sports Centre – 20m swimming pool, 20 station gym, sports hall and an outdoor multi-use games area

With more than three million visits a year and over £36.5 million turnover, the organisation is changing lives – placing it at the heart of the UK’s growing social economy.

In 2015/16 BH Live hosted more than 500 events, sold over half a million cultural, sporting and entertainment tickets. They had 2.6 million visits into its leisure centres and welcomed 118,000 conference and exhibition delegates into its venues. This contributed an estimated £66.3 million to the local economy through business and cultural tourism.

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