ColegauCymru recently held three regional Active Wellbeing Forums, bringing together college staff and learners and other stakeholders to discuss the next steps for promoting active wellbeing in further education.
The last three years has seen Welsh Government funding to support better mental health in FE leading to the creation of new active wellbeing roles in colleges and new insight at a national level. This is extremely important as we emerge from the disruption caused by the Covid-19, active wellbeing aims to support better emotional, physical and social wellbeing through participation in physical activity.
The forums looked specifically at how colleges can expand this offer, the connection between activity and wellbeing and considered what active wellbeing could look like in five years’ time.
Bridgend College Active Wellbeing Lead, John Nottingham, said that
"Events like today are so important. Working and engaging with other colleges, sharing ideas, and thinking about collaborative approaches is central to ensuring greater accessibility, inclusivity and joint working so we can better expand provision and opportunities for our learners."
The forums were supported by recent research funded by Welsh Government culminating in the July 2022 report, Connecting activity, wellbeing, and better mental health among FE learners. The report found that although external partners are supportive of the outcomes identified in the ColegauCymru Active Wellbeing Strategy, they were unclear on how and where they could help in achieving them. As a result, the events offered a valuable space to build relationships and gain insight from stakeholders, as we look to working more collaboratively.
Active Wellbeing delivery in colleges has been supported by project funding from Sport Wales since 2014 with ColegauCymru being the national partner for FE in this space.
Partnership and Development Lead at Sport Wales, Annabel Ingram, added
"Events such as these support the work of Sport Wales in engaging with the FE Sector in Wales, bringing together sports organisations, Welsh Government, FE colleges and learners to develop more strategic working links; and think about how we can make our existing partnerships even stronger."
There were also fruitful discussions around greater inclusivity, extending the reach of active wellbeing and embedding provision; as well as actions to improve access to and awareness of activity and volunteering pathways. Furthermore, the importance of ensuring that active wellbeing is linked to wider social opportunities and boosting employability skills was highlighted.
We are grateful to Coleg Cambria, Coleg Sir Gâr/Coleg Ceredigion and Bridgend College for hosting the events. Thanks too to our guest speakers, staff and learners who provided insight into the ways in which we can encourage FE learners to engage in activity to support their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
ColegauCymru Research Report
Connecting activity, wellbeing, and better mental health among FE learners
From the research, we have a developed a series of infographics to support learners to be more active.
Active Wellbeing Infographics
Senedd Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee report
Levelling the playing field - A report on participation in sport and physical activity in disadvantaged areas
Pandemic research finds active wellbeing to be hugely valuable across all aspects of college life
21 November 2021
Rob Baynham, Active Wellbeing and Sport Project Manager