Charities, Park Club and Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project have collaborated on an exciting new project this summer, encouraging young people to get moving and increase their physical activity. The project promoted the benefits of an active lifestyle and helped the participants to form a habit to continue being active in the future.

Research suggests that low levels of physical activity during childhood and adolescence can lead to physical and mental health problems including diabetes, obesity and low self-esteem.  More education is required on healthy diet choices, to reduce the high levels of sugar and energy drinks consumed, that are having a negative effect on children’s health. It is estimated that by 2020 half of all children will be overweight or obese. This project aimed to educate young people on the importance of being physically active and making healthy lifestyle choices.

The free course took place over 5-weeks at Park Club Milton, with sixteen young people taking part from the three different villages in the Damascus parish. Sessions included weekly exercise classes, supervised gym programmes and educational workshops on healthy diet. All participants were extremely engaged in the project and felt a great difference in their fitness at the end of the 5-weeks, one of the participants commented, “Learning about how much sugar and salt is in my food was scary! I will be picking up the ‘no added salt’ and ‘reduced sugar’ things when I go shopping with my mum.”

Jake Fleetwood, DAMASCUS Youth Worker, said, “Working with Park Club Gym to bring this project to life was easy and stress free. The personal trainer was full of knowledge, energy and most importantly could adapt on the spot. This was key for challenging our young people and helped motivate them to want to change and do more. Can’t wait to start working on our next project together!”

Both charities have a passion for improving the health of our communities and in this case the lives of young people, with strategies that aim to improve both the physical and mental wellbeing. Community Health & Wellbeing Advisor at Park Club, Suzanne Benton commented, “Our partnership with DAMASCUS has been a huge success and it is great to see how much the participants have benefitted. Physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are so important for overall wellbeing and we look forward to seeing where this partnership goes to provide more support for young people in the future”.

For more information about the project, or to collaborate with the Park Club or DAMASCUS Youth Project, please contact them at or .

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