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Middlesbrough Environment City, NUR Fitness and the BME Network have been working together to promote the New Life New You (NLNY) community-based programme to black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Middlesbrough who are at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. 

Through a free eight-week physical activity, healthy eating and motivational support programme, NLNY has helped not only reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes for those involved but also encouraged people to lead a healthier and more physically active lifestyle.

The first stage of the programme tested ways to continue working with BAME communities throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, supporting them to maintain or increase their physical activity levels by engaging them through social media.

Working with local radio station CVFM’s Ramadan programme a ‘Fit Phat Ramadan’ campaign was launched which included online workouts suitable during fasting. The station used its influence to get people moving through exercise sessions broadcast five times per day after the call to prayer and workout instructions were in Urdu. It also encouraged listeners to get out walking by highlighting local places for them to explore. They also trialled a Zoom walk to help those walking alone feel connected.

As we emerge from lockdown into an uncertain new normal, the second stage moved on to exploring how the programme could continue to encourage people to be active using social media and face to face interventions whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines. It includes Facebook Live pilates, meta fit, kettlebells and Zumba classes with NUR Fitness.

NLNY also wanted to engage with older people who remained mostly in their homes and piloted seated exercise videos for them to watch on YouTube.

Working with the Al Mustafa Centre the programme has also established a men’s weekly walking group led by the Imam, who is also discussing in Friday prayers the benefits of good health from an Islamic theological perspective. The success of this aspect of the programme has led to communication with a further three mosques about establishing more walking groups.

NLNY vision was to engage community leaders and BAME men to lead the change themselves as this would be more impactful. To do this, they worked with mosques, local businesses, and taxi driver associations helping shape and deliver group activities men wanted to do. The co-creation of these activities was particularly successful.

The programme focus also extended to encouraging families to be active together.

More recently NLNY has been extended into Redcar and Cleveland. In the future, it intends to develop a sustainable delivery model that although targeting BAME communities will be accessible to adults across South Tees that are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

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