"I have recently retired. I want to be healthy and fit and do not want stay in the house all the time. London Tigers' keep fit classes have given me that opportunity. At first I found the activities difficult due to being unfit, but now that my fitness has improved because of the sessions, I find the activities enjoyable and have fun. Thanks to London Tigers."
Georgina Hammond - Aged 69
Studies have shown that over half of people in black and minority ethnic (BME) communities undertake no sport or physical activity and fewer than 1 in 5 members of some BME communities are participating in physical activities as infrequently as once a month. Levels of inactivity appear to be concentrated in certain ethnic groups, e.g. 92% of South Asian women do not take part in the recommended levels of activity, compared to 55% of all women.
It is therefore not surprising that a study undertaken by Diabetes UK found that South Asian participants had an elevated risk of dying from heart disease and were found to be more likely to have a heart attack 10 years earlier than White participants and that physical inactivity accounted for 20 per cent of this increased risk.
London Tigers is attempting to address this and other similar stark health inequalities through the provision of sports, physical activities and targeted health projects. We always try to ensure that our sports and physical activities are relevant to local communities and that we take into account people’s cultural and religious sensitivities, as experience has taught us that these are major impediments to successful engagement.
From 2004-2008 London Tigers was a partner in the Church St Healthy Living Centre consortia, which was led by Westminster PCT and funded through the Big Lottery. During this time, London Tigers delivered physical activities and healthy living workshops to approximately 150 users per annum (against a target of 100 user per annum). In total, London Tigers engaged and supported the health needs of over 600 individual beneficiaries aged 8-25 years old. Activities included football, health walks, badminton, healthy lifestyles workshops and inter-generational events where older and younger people came together to participate in joint physical activities and the breaking down of barriers.
Following the end of the Big Lottery funding, from 2008-2011 London Tigers was commissioned (due to previous exceptional performance) directly by NHS Westminster to continue to deliver existing provision and to expand the target group to include adults and specifically Muslim women. This project targeted 125 beneficiaries per annum; London Tigers achieved 150 per annum on average. Activities included football, cricket, badminton, multisports, aerobics, swimming and healthy lifestyles workshops.
Our work in this area continued in Camden, where we worked in partnership with NHS Camden to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity to targeted BAME groups until March 2012.
London Tigers is extremely fortunate to now have Dr Zafar Iqbal as a Special Advisor on Health. Dr Iqbal is currently the First Team Doctor for Liverpool FC (previously of Tottenham Hotspur FC) but also has extensive experience of working in local communities, particularly with South Asian groups. With Dr Iqbal’s support and advice, London Tigers aims to focus much of our attention on the ever increasing problem of obesity, particularly childhood obesity and this will be a key target area over the coming years.