New social enterprise is on a mission to keep Devon communities healthy

A new nationwide social enterprise has been established with the aim of keeping local communities in the UK healthy, active and social - and Devon is the first county that will benefit.

‘Healthy Communities’ is a not-for-profit organisation set up by national fitness business Move it or Lose it, with the intention of bringing people together whilst helping them to improve their health at the same time.

The organisation has already secured a £25,000 fund to train 20 new fitness instructors across Devon to deliver classes for older people and those with limited mobility.

With 16 people already signed up, there are now only four spaces left for aspiring instructors to secure one of the funded training courses.

“The launch of Healthy Communities marks a huge step forward to change the way we age. By bringing people together to socialise and exercise in their local communities we can reduce loneliness and help them to enjoy healthier, happier lives,” explained Julie Robinson, founder of Healthy Communities and CEO of Move it or Lose it.

“The £25,000 fund from Transform Ageing is a significant sum that will allow us to reach up to 1,800 older people in Devon every week through Move it or Lose it classes, which has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on their lives.”

Transform Ageing is a first-of-its-kind initiative to change the way society approaches and designs services for people in later life. It is delivered through a partnership and is led by Design Council, alongside UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, the South West Academic Health Science Network, and the Centre for Ageing Better.

Its delivery is also being supported locally on the ground in the south-west by Volunteer Cornwall, Devon Communities Together, Community Council for Somerset and Torbay Community Development Trust.    

Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO, said: “Older people have amazing energy, talent and ideas – and it’s vital we harness these to address the urgent challenges our ageing society faces – so it is fantastic to see the launch of this impressive cohort of Transform Ageing ventures. These social entrepreneurs are delivering truly fresh thinking with the potential to transform our health, connectedness and productivity - enabling us to see our ageing society as the wonderful opportunity it is.”

Clare Devine, Design Council executive director, said: “It is fantastic to see these ventures responding to the insights generated by local people. This really is about design led innovation from the grass roots of the community. People in later life, social entrepreneurs and public sector staff have worked collaboratively to understand in depth what would make a difference to day to day lives. Now we have an exciting range of ideas responding to what local people want and need.”

Anybody interested in applying for a funded Move it or Lose it instructor place through the Healthy Communities fund should email training@moveitorloseit.co.uk for more information.