Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Everyone’s counting their steps these days, right? Using a fitness tracker watch or a smartphone to make sure they hit that magic 10,000 steps a day.

Well, not everyone.

Fitness trackers have changed a lot of lives – they motivate people to move more, and they lead to people making long term lifestyle changes. But some people who could benefit the most – people living in poverty and most at risk from poor health – never get the opportunity to use them.

Our project will mean that people who would benefit more than anyone will get the chance to use this life-changing technology – along with vital information on healthy eating, lifestyle choices and fitness.

Back on Track work with people who have been through big problems in their lives. Many have been homeless. Others have had problems with alcohol and drugs. 85% have experienced mental health problems.

Living in poverty and being long term unemployed means someone is much more likely to have health problems. Also, rates of long term health conditions in Manchester are all well above the national average, and life expectancy is significantly lower. Manchester has even been awarded the unenviable title of heart disease capital of England.

But this doesn’t apply to everyone equally. There are three and a half times as many premature deaths in the most deprived parts of Manchester compared with the least deprived parts.

And guess what. Those most deprived areas? That’s where most of the people we work with come from.

A high proportion of the people we work with are aged between 35 and 55 – just the point in their lives they need to make changes to prevent problems in the future. Luckily, the one thing our beneficiaries have in common is that, with our support, they have started to build a better future. They’re learning new skills, volunteering and getting crucial work experience. Many have taken part in our wellbeing activities – and 93% say coming to Back on Track has alleviated symptoms of anxiety and depression.

So there’s never been a better time to get fit.

And we know people want to change. We surveyed people at Back on Track, and 81% said they would like Back on Track to help them learn more about health. 78% said they would you be interested in classes to help them get fitter.

But even if they wanted to, they wouldn’t be able to afford a fitness tracker. And many don’t have a phone at all, let alone a smartphone.

That’s why the Positive Steps project will see each participant given a fitness tracker watch. The group will then go on regular walks from the Back on Track centre based around points of local interest, like street art tours of Manchester.

There will be a group target for the number of steps, with each person contributing as much as they can. People can then take the fitness watches away and get their steps up in their own time. Everyone will come together at Back on Track to look at the results online (a side benefit will be that people get better digital skills). They will also learn about healthy eating, BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure. The project will be delivered by qualified tutors with support from volunteers.

We’ll put the collective steps target on display and everyone can watch progress towards it, creating a real health buzz around Back on Track. We’ll ask people to make video diaries and share then on our social media so they can inspire others.

If we get funding it will mean that people can start making those long term changes that lead to happier, healthier lives. Because once people get the fitness bug they won’t want to stop.

Project Video

Back on Track

Moment of Pride

Every day we see people who have been through huge problems in life respond with incredible resilience and determination. Back on Track give them a chance to build themselves a better future and they grab it with both hands. With your support, many more lives will be changed.

Location: Manchester