Physical Activity and Mental Health Project in Torbay

A pilot project to support mental health referral pathways in Torbay.

At Active Devon, we’re committed to enhancing the wellbeing of our communities through physical activity. We want to share the journey of our pilot project, commissioned by Torbay Council’s Public Health team. This 12-month initiative was designed to bridge the gap between adult mental health support services and physical activity opportunities in Torbay’s community.

Project Aims

  • Forge meaningful relationships with community projects, mental health services, and activity leaders.
  • Establish robust referral pathways to connect individuals receiving Tier 1 support with physical activity.
  • Deliver engaging activity sessions tailored to our community’s needs.
  • Provide valuable training and development opportunities.
  • Co-create recommendations for sustainable solutions.

Collaboration

Collaboration was at the heart of our project. We partnered with:

  • Individuals who have experienced mental health challenges, ensuring their voices guided our efforts.
  • Dedicated community volunteers who lent their time and passion to support our initiatives.
  • Expert physical activity instructors committed to promoting health and wellness.
  • Mental health support services, promoting a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Robust Referral Pathways

To ensure seamless access to physical activity opportunities, we established robust referral pathways connecting:

  • Community support services.
  • Community physical activities.
  • Health professionals.

Our Approach

At Active Devon, we believe in driving systemic change to create lasting impact. Our project embraced this philosophy, aiming to deliver short-term solutions and lay the groundwork for sustainable wellness initiatives. Adopting a ‘systems change’ approach maximised our project’s reach and potential for long-term success.

Reports and Video

The findings of this pilot project have been captured in a full report and summary report, which you can access below. We have also created a short video that talks about the pilot and includes examples of some of the activity sessions developed.

Conclusion

When reflecting on our pilot project, we’re inspired by the progress we’ve made and hopeful that this pilot will continue to grow and develop. As we deepen our learning and understanding of the opportunities and challenges, we will be able to take meaningful steps towards building a healthier, happier community.

At Active Devon, our journey towards a more active Devon is ongoing, and we invite you to join us in shaping a brighter, healthier future for all. If you would like to connect with us about any of this information, please contact Louise Marshall by emailing: louise.marshall@activedevon.org


As part of the pilot project, we developed a wide range of activity sessions. Here’s what a yoga participant said:

“Yoga has helped me manage myself again. When I have anxiety, I focus on my breathing, I hear her voice in my head and think of what she would have said and I’m more able to manage.”

Yoga participant in recovery from alcohol addiction.