We’re delighted to have received the “Active Dacorum” award in Dacorum Borough Council’s Community Grants Awards 2022. All organisations that received a Community Grant in 2020-21 were eligible to enter their projects for the Awards.

In August 2020 we applied for a community grant in order to set up a fitness initiative for the local community aged 30+. We chose to encourage fitness amongst this age group because cardiovascular disease in people aged between 30 and 74 in Dacorum is statistically significantly higher than the averages for England and Hertfordshire and around 50,000 residents aged 50 and above suffer from a long-term health problem or disability. At that stage in 2020, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns hampered a lot of attempts to be active and we were keen to set up football-themed training sessions for people who either want to get fit or are returning to fitness.

In between our initial application and our club being awarded the grant two months later, we trialled some sessions and through feedback and experience of running the sessions, our project evolved in to “Community Kickabout”, friendly small-sided football matches for people keen to get active with others of a similar age/level of fitness. The “Community Kickabout” project was launched formally upon receipt of the community grant and was instantly popular.

By October 2021, with the project having run for a year and on every Monday night outside of lockdown (36 sessions in total), over 60 people (within our target age range of 30+ and living within the Dacorum area) had participated at some point during that timescale, with the weekly sessions regularly attracting between 20 and 30 participants. At that stage, one year into the project, we sought feedback from our most regular participants, using an online questionnaire.

The feedback was very positive, for example:
(Four feedback options: Definitely; Mostly; Not Really; Not at all)
“The sessions are value for money”
• Definitely: 92%; Mostly: 8%.
“Participating is boosting my confidence”
• Definitely: 64%; Mostly: 36%.
“My physical fitness has improved”
• Definitely: 36%; Mostly: 64%
“Participating in the sessions has encouraged me to pursue other health benefits (exercise, diet, reduce drinking/smoking)”
• Definitely: 16%; Mostly: 46%; Not really: 38%

We also received the following comments:
• “So glad I joined and enjoy a game of football with like-minded lads”
• “Friendly bunch of guys and great fun”
• “Really Great Initiative, well organised/run and enjoyable”
• “Great balance of exercise and enjoyment”

The Active Dacorum award comes with a £100 cash prize which will be banked with our Community Kickabout funds and used to pay towards ongoing bookings of our facilities to ensure we can continue to keep participation fees as low as possible.