Up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t think exercise was for me. It belonged to the ‘already fit’, as I saw them. Now, I go to the gym and also spend hours dancing. It’s great for body and mind – and really helps me keep stress at bay.
I’ve seen for myself how transformative moving more can be, and in my role as Shadow Cabinet Member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council I’m passionate about seeing more people in Crawley empowered to start that journey.
We are very lucky to have an excellent leisure centre locally in K2 Crawley, and a great facility in the Bewbush Centre. Crawley also has many private gyms too and some are very affordable. But we as a Council still need to do more to tackle some of the wellbeing challenges that Crawley faces. This is particularly important as Crawley lags behind in West Sussex in taking part in exercise and life expectancy.
Wellbeing is – by its nature – quite self-selecting. A lot of people wouldn’t walk into a gym (I know, I’m a woman who used to be one of them). It’s easy to see why. They can be intimidating and not everyone wants to exercise in that way or in that location. Making it easier for people to engage with activities of their choice at a time and place of their choosing is vital.
I feel that we need to do more as a Council to help people find their way to activities which they enjoy, and which can help them improve their physical and mental fitness in a way that works for them.
I’d like to see the Council find new ways of supporting fitness in the community. We could help change lives for the better. The cost could be minimal but the benefits could be great. It could help us tackle loneliness too and even mental health issues, through offering a social function. Fresh thinking is needed on wellbeing in Crawley. Doing more where people live could be the key.
Councillor Alison Pendlington, Crawley Borough Council Shadow Cabinet Member for Wellbeing
31st October 2018