Sport in recovery

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Pat Berry Ron BellGood sports

Pat Berry and Ron Bell talk about how they help service users improve their wellbeing and build self-confidence from exercise

Playing sports on a regular basis requires discipline, which builds much needed structure into daily life. Being part of a group of like-minded peers, and the natural high gained from exercise, may help raise self-esteem – a key component of good social interaction.

The relationship between sport and improved mental and physical wellbeing is well established. The key is to get people with complex care issues to participate in these positive activities.

The uniqueness of Sporting Recovery is the combination of team and individual sporting activities and lifestyle advice (SMART Recovery) along with the opportunity for clients to gain nationally recognised sports qualifications. As an evidence-based exercise programme, we support adults on their recovery pathway back into their communities.

We focus on people who are marginal, high risk and hard to reach, who often have concerning co-morbidity problems. These adults have difficulties accessing, trusting and re-engaging with traditional services.

The hardest part of any exercise course is starting, particularly when you’ve been inactive for a prolonged period. To overcome this inertia, our programmes are available in the form of transferable season tickets, with the first six sessions free to encourage participation.

We are keen to support successful treatment completions and recommend that service users attend the exercise programme for 42 sessions. The sessions are weekly and include a free lunch, with the opportunity to obtain voluntary and paid work within, and outside, Sporting Recovery.

We believe that if we provide a safe, friendly and fun environment we can engage these hard to reach adults. The first thing is to treat them like regular people with the same desires to enjoy and succeed in their chosen sport. The focus is on self-development and inner peace – something we all need!

Pat Berry and Ron Bell run Sporting Recovery, www.sportingrecovery.org.uk