The Great East Swim and Run programmes have been inspiring Suffolk residents to get active for the last 8 years.

The programmes offer an opportunity for individuals who are not currently physically active, to take part in a progressive programme of training and support, with the goal of taking part in the Great East Swim or Great East Run.

More than 470 individuals looking to make a positive change to their health and wellbeing have taken part in the programmes to date, with more than 85% completing the full 12 and 16 week programmes, respectively. Participants have cited that as well as weight loss and more energy, they felt a boost in confidence, improved self-esteem, and a real sense of pride and achievement through completing the programme. On average, more than 70% of participants who were inactive when they registered for the programme, continue to be regularly active 3 months after completing the course.

The programmes are suitable for adults of all ages, with participants from 18 to 80+ taking part in previous years.

Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said I have seen first-hand the impact this programme can have on individuals who sign up and it is inspiring to see them complete the challenge of the Great East Swim or the Great East Run. The testimonials from those who have taken part over the last 8 years just go to show that these programmes are making a real difference to the lives of participants.

“We are working in partnership to integrate physical activity into as many aspects of life as possible through our ambition of becoming the Most Active County in England. Without doubt, one of the best ways to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing is to stay active. If you are thinking of becoming more active at the start of the new decade, now is the perfect time to take the first step by registering for the Great East Swim outreach programme.”

This year’s Great East Swim outreach programme will take place at Crown Pools in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, between March and June, culminating on Saturday 20th June at the Great East Swim at Alton Water reservoir near Ipswich.

The 2020 programme is delivered by Suffolk County Council in partnership with Ipswich Borough Council, Abbeycroft Leisure Trust, Active Suffolk and Allied Health professionals.

Individuals who sign up for the programme will receive an extensive package of support which aims to provide them with the confidence, stamina and self-belief to complete their personal challenge and become active for life.

Janice took part in the Great East Swim Outreach programme last year. Of her experience, she said “The programme has given me back my confidence and helped so much with my long-term anxiety condition, something I did not feel at the beginning would have had such an impact on. The first step was mine but the rest was the support of the team, I will always be grateful for what could have been a step back but with the team’s professional approach it was a leap forward for my personal wellbeing and I will not look back, I’m proud to have come this far and the team should take credit for helping me gain my old self back, my only regret is that I didn’t know about this programme earlier in my life when the anxiety took hold and stopped me enjoying my life. Thank you for making me feel alive again.”

96 places are available for the programme and entries open today (6th January). To apply for a place, visit www.activesuffolk.org/greateastswim and complete the registration form.

If you are interested in taking part in the training for the Great East Swim 2020 but would like further information, please contact Carol Lukins, Programme Coordinator on 07955 735514 or at carol.lukins@suffolk.gov.uk.

Entries for the Great East Run programme will open in March 2020.

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