THE PUBLIC will take the driving seat and develop a Boscombe health and wellbeing scheme.
BCP Council’s ASPIRE project, funded by the EU, provided opportunities for obese unemployed people to live healthier lifestyles through activities and exercises in Churchill Gardens.
Activities included cookery classes, money management sessions and arts and wellbeing, which led to a model of ‘grow your own, eat your own and sell your own’.
Since its launch in 2021, those who took part showed increased employability opportunities, a sense of belonging, self-esteem and confidence.
Phoenix Ford, a young man who lives in Pokesdown, participated in the Aspire and Friendly Food Club cooking sessions having never cooked before, aiming to make healthier changes and make new friends.
He said: “The ASPIRE project has given me a positive outcome by using cooking skills that I learned at the Friendly Food Club.
“I used to eat the bad stuff – like pizzas, fast food, chocolate, biscuits and cakes, but I realised that fast food made my energy levels so low.
“Without the cooking and nutrition course, it would have been the same, but I’ve changed, broken the cycle, and I’m moving forward instead of backwards.
“I feel different, I’m less tired than usual. I sleep better, and I’ve got more energy. I’m going to keep on cooking at home.
“I enjoyed the ASPIRE programme, as it gave my life more purpose.”
Cllr Millie Earl, deputy leader of BCP Council, said: “It is very encouraging to see the continuation of the project, led by the community.
“The ASPIRE model provided a unique opportunity to concentrate significant funding to a small, local community, providing support and healthier lifestyles.”
Gavin Tew, owner of Bournemouth Wellbeing Experience, said: “We are excited to continue our range of activities in Churchill Gardens for the residents of Boscombe – and beyond, helping them on their journey to happier and healthier lifestyles.
“We are developing our new community activities, which are based on the ethos of ASPIRE, and are looking for funding opportunities to help grow the programme.”
Funded as part of the Interreg VA Channel programme, BCP Council worked with other partners, including C3 Collaborating for Health, to deliver the programme.