Preston North End and Preston North End Community and Education Trust are helping fans to tackle their weight, get healthier and be happier by joining FIT FANS, a free 12-week programme at Deepdale.
FIT LILYWHITES is scheduled to start up at PNECET next month, following FIT FANS' launch in January 2020 at 30 clubs in England, with the EFL Trust’s programme being supported by over £2.25 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England. It will aim to use the magnetism of football to tackle obesity levels in over 10,000 fans across the UK.
36.4 million people (61.4% of England’s population) live within ten miles of an EFL ground, with four in ten residents within this catchment area falling into the most-deprived population groups.
Sport England has identified lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes and that is why they have joined forces with the EFL Trust network to help people create a long-term, healthy and active lifestyle. FIT FANS is one of a number of initiatives to tackle lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes, which is one of Sport England’s key priorities.
FIT FANS is the operating name in England and Wales for Football Fans in Training, which was created in a Scotland by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.
The programme shows individuals how to:
- Improve their eating habits by reducing portion sizes and swapping fatty and sugary foods for fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods
- Achieve at least 45 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. They receive weekly exercise sessions at their club for 12 weeks, and follow a personal pedometer based walking programme that encourages them to fit physical activity into their daily lives
- Use tried-and-tested behaviour change techniques to become more active and improve their diet. These include regular self-monitoring of their weight and pedometer step counts and setting SMART goals to make changes that can be sustained long term.
The 12-week programme gives fans unprecedented access to their Club and a look behind the scenes.
In 2011/12, a large scale, randomised, controlled trial study showed that 12 months after the programme, men had lost an average of five per cent of their starting weight by making gradual practical changes to their physical activity and diet, that they could keep up in their everyday lives.
Community Inclusion Officer, James Stansfield, who will head up the Trust's FIT LILYWHITES programe, said: “The FIT Lilywhites programme will help Preston North End fans to become fitter, healthier and lead a more active lifestyle by exercising in the most aspirational of environments at Deepdale.
“We feel basing the programme at Deepdale will allow participants to understand the importance of the programme, and use the venue's atmosphere to motivate them to embark on a journey to become a healthier version of themselves, both mentally and physically, while increasing their level of exercise.”
“We’re looking forward to getting the programme up and running. Our first 12-week wave of the programme is scheduled to begin in April, for men only on this occasion, with further opportunities to follow for women throughout the remainder of the year, and I would encourage anyone wanting to become healthier, lose fit or simply looking to exercise more to sign up for our programme!”
Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust said: “FIT FANS is an example of our potential to make a really significant contribution to the health of our communities.
"We are excited by the prospect of rolling the programme our across out network and reaching many thousands of men and women.”
Patrick Brosnan, Sport England’s Football Lead said: “We are delighted to see the success FIT FANS has had in its pilot phase at five EFL clubs in England and hope that the National Lottery funding to EFL Trust will go a long way in harnessing football fans’ love for the game to support more people to lead healthy and active lives.”
Nicky Reid, Chief Executive, SPFL Trust said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with the EFL Trust to bring Football Fans in Training to clubs right across the EFL.
"The programme - which was developed in Scotland - has been life changing for thousands of men and women, in both the short and long-term. I am sure that thousands of football fans are going to love being part of the programme, and are going to reap enormous rewards by being healthier and happier.”
For more information about the FIT FANS programme please visit the EFL Trust website by clicking here.