Connect and Collaborate

Published on: May 16th 2022

Read the full report here.

Charitable Trusts in Wales can play a pivotal role in reducing pressure on the NHS through rehabilitation, ‘prehabilitation’ and preventative services.

That’s the verdict in a new report jointly produced by the Welsh NHS Confederation and Community Leisure UK.

Both organisations are calling on health professionals and Leisure and Culture Trusts in Wales to connect and collaborate more moving forward. 

The report highlights the many benefits of working with Charitable Trusts, including:

  • Staff specialised in exercise referral, mental health and wellbeing, rehabilitation and recovery, ill health management and prevention
  • A person-centred approach with tailored programmes to improve people’s mental and physical health
  • Community based, non-clinical facilities such as pools, libraries and gyms
  • Opportunities for people to be physically, or culturally, active in – or near – their own homes
  • Inclusive and accessible services for all

Jenn Huygen, Head of Policy and Strategic Partnerships at Community Leisure UK, said: “The work Charitable Trusts do can play a pivotal role in supporting the NHS by reducing not only the need to access NHS services but reducing the time people need to wait for treatment, and by helping people stay well. They can reduce the time patients spend in hospitals and wider NHS care through ‘prehabilitation’, rehabilitation, and preventative services.

“Providing an accessible and people-centred way to stay well closer to or at home, the wider activities they provide address some of our nation’s most pressing health challenges, including recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping good mental health, and addressing loneliness and social isolation.

“As part of their preventative and person-centered approach to health, leisure- and culture trusts manage social prescribing programmes. These programmes aim to reduce health inequalities by providing access to tailored and supervised physical and cultural activity that improves people’s physical and mental health.”

The report also contains numerous examples and case studies evidencing the difference Charitable Trusts’ make in their communities and to individuals across Wales, including:

  • Using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to transport the residents of Bryn Y Cae and Tŷ Cwm Ogwr Care Homes in Bridgend on wildlife adventures, space flights and visits to cities across the world, without leaving the comfort and safety of their own armchair, as part of a creative wellbeing project delivered by Awen Cultural Trust and Bridgend County Borough Council
  • The post-Covid Rehabilitation Service run by Newport Live, in collaboration with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, where participants reported an 84% improvement in exercise endurance and a reduction in fatigue and dyspnoea.
  • The M Word – yoga for menopause – run by Freedom Leisure in Penyrheol which brings women together to help share experiences and create a safe space for discussions and exercise. 

Assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, Nesta Lloyd-Jones said: “The large network of non-profit distributing leisure and culture trusts in Wales is ideally positioned to support some of the NHS’ most pressing challenges, including the prevention of ill health, addressing health inequalities, and encouraging lifelong wellbeing.

“With the pressures on our health and care system exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time to recognise the contribution that leisure and culture trusts have already made to our NHS, and to continue to engage with them as a key partner to improve population health and wellbeing. By bringing together health services with leisure and culture, we can provide greater support to communities.

A copy of the Leisure and Culture Trusts Health and Wellbeing Support to the NHS in Wales can be found here

A full list of Charitable Trusts in the UK, which are members of Community Leisure UK, can be found at