• 16/05/2024

Service users from homeless schemes "move for their mental health"

Emmafletcherphotography Hightown Westminster Lodge 110

Residents from Hightown Housing Association's local homeless services in St Albans, Open Door, Kent House, and Martin House took part in a complimentary day of 'movement for their mental health' for mental health awareness week courtesy of Everyone Actives' Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre.

This year, the Mental Health Foundation's campaign focuses on the theme of 'moving more for your mental health'. Regular physical activity is known to improve mental health, quality of life and wellbeing. Bodies and minds are connected, so looking after physical health will ultimately help improve and protect a person's mental health.

Mental health can be a cause and a consequence of homelessness. It is reported that mental health problems are twice as high amongst people experiencing homelessness compared to the general population*.

Kirsty Jones, Activity and Wellbeing Manager at Westminster Lodge, commented: "When Hightown Housing Association approached us about their desire to improve their residents' mental health through physical activity, we felt it aligned perfectly with Everyone Active's commitment to championing wellbeing and supporting the local community. It was a pleasure to host the open day. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be healthy in body and mind."

The event was a huge success with everyone learning a host of new skills; from pickleball, rock climbing to weight training on the gym floor. The group were also surprised by a special guest appearance from the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire who supports the idea of using "sport for positive change" in the community.

Guests were treated to light refreshments after the gym session to have a chance to relax, socialise and give feedback on the event.

A resident from Open Door night shelter said: "The event was absolutely incredible, and I have had so much fun. The past few weeks have been difficult and activities like these help me to take my mind off things. I am on day fourteen since arriving at Open Door night shelter and with this kind of support, I am finding that things are improving for me every day, little by little."

*Source: Local Government Association report "The impact of homelessness on health".