Today, Thursday 1st April 2021, marks the first anniversary of the Keep Moving Suffolk Campaign.

Just nine days after the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown on the 23rd March 2020, Suffolk’s Most Active County Partnership launched the Keep Moving Suffolk campaign. The ambition was to help people stay active or become active during the pandemic.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk County Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We knew that keeping active during lockdown was going to be hugely important. These were unprecedented times, with people having to spend more time indoors, along with the impact of the situation on mental wellbeing. Physical activity is an important antidote and it was important that we did as much as possible to encourage, support and inspire people to be active. In response, we gave birth to the Keep Moving Suffolk campaign.

The campaign highlighted many of the ways we can all stay active at home for little or no cost, and as the weather got warmer, one of the real positives was rediscovering the outdoors with the many nature walks and cycling routes Suffolk has to offer.

Twelve months on, and with restrictions still in place, we continue to do all we can to help the people of Suffolk to keep moving.”

In the last year, 20,000 ‘Active at Home’ booklets were distributed to help older adults undertake physical activity at home and 12,000 ‘Movement and Mental Health’ cards circulated to support young people’s mental health.

Over 1,600 age-appropriate sports activity packs were provided to looked-after children, 3,500 activity packs given to digitally isolated older people to help them stay active and resources supplied to support more than 25,000 primary school children walk to school.

In just one month (September) of the new 14-month Love to Ride programme, participants cycled over 50,000 miles whilst our Dance with Millie tutorials, to help children stay active whilst home-schooling, received thousands of hits.

Numbers, however, don’t tell the whole story. More importantly are the reasons why people have needed help. “I’m 78 and lost my husband to Covid in November so been here in the four walls ‘til we are allowed out again” and “I have been shut in since last March and only have a small house and can’t move that well” were typical responses from the recipients of Keep Moving Suffolk activity packs for older people.

A local key worker told us about the impact of the sports equipment packs on a family he supports. He said: “I support a family with a parent who struggles to be active with the children due to her mental health difficulties. This pack helped her get involved in sports with the children. Since then, she has made a goal to be more active and she now has the goal to go for a walk once a day with the children.”

Mother of two, Kelly Hutchinson from Ipswich [pictured walking with her daughters], was grateful for our home schooling resources. She said, “It’s a big challenge home schooling and juggling work and home life so the Keep Moving Suffolk website is a godsend”.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk County Council’s Director of Public Health added: “There are many similar stories from the last year, however, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease it is certain that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for some significant time to come. Our response will be to continue to play our part in helping Suffolk to keep moving.”

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