Healthy Active Lives was a programme of regular social, cultural and health awareness activities run by Derby West Indian Community Association. It was aimed at older people from Black and minority ethnic communities.

A group of participants stood together

The Derby West Indian Community Association ran the project, with the aim of providing support to people in local wards that are poorer than average and where life expectancies are lower and health is poorer. There were many longstanding reasons for this relative disadvantage, including systemic racism. The West Indian community has been present in the city for many years but local services, including health services, still have challenges in reaching the group.

Project members delivered a programme of regular social and cultural activities including weekly tai chi, chair yoga, over 50s games evenings, board games, film evenings, Zumba ‘gold’, and dominoes and darts matches. There were also carers’ support group meetings, a social club for one-off evenings and exchange visits to another community centre. These activities were successful in combating isolation and improving members’ social connections.

Alongside these member-led activities, a partnership with the council’s public health team provided a programme of health awareness events. These were delivered by local volunteers, known as Health Champions (many of them former medical professionals), alongside external agencies. This community involvement meant that people were more receptive to the health messages and encouraged to take control of their own health.

Engaging our community in their own health problems – that’s how it started.

Project Lead

Funded by People's Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery East Midlands