Sport England’s Together Fund has recently supported the creation of a group for people living with long term chronic pain.

The need for this group was identified by Healthy Lives Advisors in Shropshire due to a gap in being able to signpost patients to a local provision to help them cope with the pain of their long-term health conditions.

There was a significant need for a group, and for more groups, to help those living with chronic pain, which can often lead to associated conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and weight gain. This coupled with low access to appropriate advice for remaining active increased the need for support.

Shropshire Community Leisure Trust have worked collaboratively with local voluntary and charity sector organisations alongside the social prescribers in the local area to develop a support network for people living with long-term health conditions and disabilities. Their successful application for funding has enabled up to 30 patients to attend these group sessions for 12 weeks.

Utilising the Shropshire Community Leisure Trust’s in-house gym, weekly gentle exercise is improving patients’ ability to move to support their daily activities. The funding has supported coaching by a qualified Exercise on Referral trainer to ensure the sessions are tailored to individuals’ needs. Social time in between exercise allows the participants to provide each other with peer support.

The group is led with a combined approach, seeking to increase patients’ activity levels and support their mental health. Drawing on feedback from patients, the sessions have been informal, with facilitators encouraging group chat to offer each other support and offer input on topics raised.

Wendy Marston, Community Engagement Lead at Shropshire Community Leisure Trust, and #TogetherWeMove Champion, said:

“The gentle exercise sessions are going well – some people who haven’t exercised for many years are now doing a couple of minutes on the recumbent bike, a major achievement for them.”

This group was also aimed to support people who may be experiencing social isolation as their mobility issues mean opportunities for getting out and about become more limited.

Participants at Chronic Pain Management activity class