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Evaluation of the Core Fit pilot programme for children and over 50s in Cheshire East

The ICC’s research lead for Cultural Assets and Social Value, Gayle Whelan, was commissioned by Cheshire East Council in 2015 to study the impact of the Core Fit programme, a fitness package delivered to primary school age children and seniors in a bid to develop core fitness and flexibility. The Core Fit programme was developed in order to make both children and adults more active and to develop good posture habits and better body balance to prevent future back and other health related problems.

The evaluation found that the programme had a positive impact on both the physical but also overall wellbeing of children and adults. Children reported better knowledge in healthiness, what that constitutes, and about their own exercise habits. Many had consequently improved their physical activity levels since attending Core Fit. As well as physical activity levels improving, child mental health and wellbeing changed, with an average 3.4 point improvement in wellbeing scores when comparing before and after WEMWBs scores.

For adults, the Core Fit programme works well to support improvements in both physical ability and fitness levels. Attendees reported greater mobility which enabled them to live more independently and enjoy greater socialisation through the community-centred focus of the sessions. For many, the increased mobility had directly affected their own health, with improvements reported in those with serious, long-term conditions. The evaluation included a value for money aspect and calculated a social return on investment for both the child and adult Core Fit sessions, which balances the actual investment in the programme with the subjective cost savings made as a result of the impacts gained by engagement with the programme.

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