Responding to local people’s concerns about obesity and low levels of physical activity, Link Up Whitfield teamed up with the Dundee Healthy Living Initiative, One Parent Families Scotland and a local fitness instructor to run a small-scale 12-week cooking and physical activity programme.
Family Fun Fit focused on both cooking healthy meals as a family on a budget and being active together as a family. Eighteen children and adults from seven families took part in the programme; many of them had not met before and half of were new to Link Up.
Most participants expressed how important the social aspect of Family Fun Fit had been, often resulting in new friendships and helping to create wider support networks (e.g. for childcare).
“My younger kids absolutely love it! Brian [not his real name] has been bullied at school so it’s good for him to make friends his own age.”
Workers witnessed significant change taking place for some individuals. One boy with autism initially hid under a table, only coming out for the meal. Over time and with close support from Link Up volunteers, a few different strategies were developed with the mother to try and get him more involved. By the end of the 12 weeks, the boy had become much more engaged and more confident in a group and has continued to come along to other Link Up activities.
Physical and mental wellbeing:
Most children reported doing more exercise, feeling physically fitter, and taking steps to eat more healthily. Four of the seven parents have gone on to take part in Parklives and Play Rangers activities at Whitfield Green. This short programme also became the catalyst for a new Link Up activity: a free weight management group.
Skills and knowledge:
Overall, five out of the seven families taking part felt they had progressed toward their learning goals through to the programme.
The two local volunteers who supported this group (young people who are also involved in the Link Up dance group) learned a lot about facilitating groups and improved their leadership skills. The experience raised their confidence as group leaders.
As well as the opportunities the programme itself offered, it was a springboard for many participants to become regulars in other Link Up groups such as the UneekLinx dance group and Linking Generations Arts and Crafts.
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