The largest award is £390,000 to Rugby League Cares – working across Yorkshire and Lancashire – who will provide a social physical activity programme for employed men.
A total of 34 projects will benefit from the investment and our executive director for tackling inactivity, Mike Diaper, hopes to learn some vital lessons from the work they do.
“We’re very excited by how these projects will make a positive difference to people’s lives,” he said.
“We know that people on a low income can face many practical and emotional challenges that make it difficult for them to be as active as they would like to be.
“So we’re working with community-focused organisations across the country to find ways to help people fit physical activity and sport into their lives in ways that work for them.
“The lessons we learn from these local projects will really help to shape our work with similar groups across the country.”
Among the 34 projects is Wigan-based Groundwork, who support the uniformed services and provide an employability programme called Roots to Wellbeing.
The group has received £100,000 to add elements of physical activity to their programme and one participant, 57-year-old Stephen Hook, is already feeling the benefits of Groundwork’s efforts.
After losing his job, Stephen had gradually become less active, suffered from depression and become socially isolated.
But thanks to Roots to Wellbeing, Stephen is now taking more regular exercise, gaining new skills and qualifications and is developing new friendships.
“Before Roots to Wellbeing, I’d shut myself away for months,” he admitted. “The programme has been brilliant. I’ve learned new things and met new people, which has helped me to cope with my depression and overcome my shyness.
“My fitness has really improved and I’ve even managed to lose some weight. I cannot rate the tutors more highly.
“Roots to Wellbeing has got me out of the house, out of my comfort zone and slightly out of breath. I’ve loved it.”