This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 6 March, 2017
There’s an air of anticipation around Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium at the moment, both on and off the pitch.
On the playing field, Rovers are leading League Two and, beneath the stands, a free new fitness scheme I supported the launch a few weeks ago is successfully helping local men to fight the flab.
The 19 participants in the inaugural Fit Rovers course reached the halfway stage of their eight weekly sessions having collectively shed an impressive six stones. Not only that, but their combined waistlines are now one metre less than when they started out.
It’s thanks to an action packed series of practical workshops, individually catered fitness sessions and Rovers’ player appearances that has captured the imagination and staying power of the Doncastrians.
Local men like Rodger Buckley, who says he’s enjoyed every minute and now walks with a spring in his step.
Rodger personifies what Fit Rovers is all about: being able to take more control of your health and wellbeing by making some simple lifestyle changes. He says he has much more stamina, a faster recovery time and can see it has already made a massive difference to his health.
I’m delighted to say that Fit Rovers is an initiative part funded by NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, as part of our commitment to help prevent illness by promoting healthy lifestyle options. It’s not rocket science, but it proves that eating less and moving more pays dividends in terms of improving how you feel and look.
It’s initially targeting local men aged over 30 who want to get fitter, using the expertise and knowledge of coaches from Club Doncaster Foundation – Rovers’ community arm – with special sessions for local women also proposed to start soon. A big selling point is that, unlike some fitness courses that have public weigh-ins, Fit Rovers is completely personal and confidential so participants can keep track of how they are doing with one-to-one meetings with the staff.
Sessions consist of an interactive workshop looking at managing portion sizes and making healthy but tasty food, followed by a gym session tailored to the needs of every individual.
Another local man who believes Fit Rovers has changed his life is Chris Hartshorn, who has been influenced so much that he’s decided to swap his regular mode of transport to support his new lifestyle.
Chris used to travel between home and work by car, but since becoming a Fit Rover, he’s abandoned four wheels in favour of two. He’s loaned a bicycle from the Foundation’s ‘bike library’ and now travels around free of charge, so he’s keeping fit, whilst saving money and reducing his carbon footprint.
Anyone can borrow a bike free of charge from the Foundation’s library for a £10 deposit that’s fully refunded when it’s returned.
· For more information about Fit Rovers or the bike loan scheme ring Scott Copeland on 01302 764663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org