Fusion Lifestyle And Braintree District Council Continue To Work with Sport For Confidence 
To Provide Physical Activity Opportunities For Everyone 
When it comes to the provision of opportunities to lead an active lifestyle, no resident in Witham and the Braintree District is left behind, thanks to the award-winning Sport for Confidence programme running at Witham Leisure Centre, commissioned by Fusion Lifestyle and Braintree District Council. 
Since its launch at Witham Leisure Centre in 2016 the programme has supported hundreds of people, encouraging those who struggle to access mainstream activities to move more, make friends and develop new skills. 
Led by occupational therapists and supported by sports coaches, the programme is designed to accommodate the complex needs of all participants and promote positive, bespoke occupational outcomes. 
Sarah Davison, Sport For Confidence Senior Occupational Therapist, says: “For most of our participants, Sport For Confidence provides their first ever positive experience of sport and physical activity. Sadly, this is typical of those with a disability and/or long-term health condition. According to Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey, people with a disability are half as likely (46%) to be active as their non disabled counterparts (23%). This is despite wide spread recognition of the hugely positive impact an active lifestyle can have on mental and physical health, happiness and overall life satisfaction. 
Each week, the programme offers a variety of activities from seated gentle exercise, swimming, Boccia and dance to multisports, racket sports and supported gym sessions. Sessions are designed to support and nurture the individual needs and skill developments of those involved whilst also accommodating carers and other health professionals where necessary. 
Sarah continues: “The programme caters for individuals experiencing a wide variety of conditions including learning disabilities, dementia, loss of limb, neurological conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke), autism, down syndrome and individuals following acute rehabilitation from surgery such as knee and hip replacements. These groups include a significant number of wheelchair users. 
“Without this programme, many of these people would not leave their homes, would not enjoy regular social interactions and would not be active.” 
Fusion Lifestyle, the national leisure management company responsible for the running of Witham Leisure Centre, is dedicated to removing barriers and working towards a more equitable society. With a mission to ‘provide inclusive and accessible sport and leisure for health, vitality and wellbeing’ the company has been hosting the Sport For Confidence programme for the last 7 years. 
Gareth Heard, Head of Sport and Community Development, Fusion Lifestyle, comments: “Everyone in our community deserves an equal opportunity to access the many benefits physical activity has to offer. One can also argue, those with a disability and/or long-term health condition have more to gain than most because of the wider therapeutic benefits on offer. 
“On average, every month through Sport For Confidence, we log more than 400 attendances. Even during Covid lockdowns, the Sport For Confidence team continued to support our regular participants through telephone calls and online activity sessions delivered directly into homes. 
Sport For Confidence is joint funded through Fusion Lifestyle and Braintree District Council. 
Cllr Lynette Bowers-Flint, Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing at Braintree District Council, adds: “Our aim is to provide services that all our residents can enjoy. Through the Sport For Confidence programme, we will continue to provide opportunities for everyone, enriching lives through the provision of safe and supported environments and services.” 
To find out more about the Sport For Confidence programme running at Witham Leisure Centre click here  
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