Nationally Hastings is ranked as the 13th most deprived out of 317 local authorities in England. People with low socioeconomic status along with other marginalised groups are widely underrepresented in sport and this is particularly prominent within trail running. Access to trail running and outdoor fitness in the area is hindered by multiple practical and socio-cultural barriers and more can be done to ensure that a broader spectrum of individuals are utilising the green space we have locally for the benefit of their physical and mental health, to make friends, build their confidence and to see positive change in their lives.
- We will improve upon our group sessions that target financial barriers to participation that include free and low cost sessions, acquire better equipment and will support low income athletes with appropriate kit. - We want to take particular action to increase participation within marginalised groups by means of taster days and targeted group sessions providing specialist support and coaching where necessary. This goal will also be aided by raising the profile of Grass Routes by engaging with the local community and implementing an... - Advertising strategy that outlines us as an inclusive and welcoming space for all people of all fitness levels
Grass Routes is the first trail specific running group in the area, led by an experienced trail runner and qualified Run Leader with England Athletics who, along with a team of volunteers, have lead two beginners programs and hosted 40 successful trail running sessions after just 4 months in business. We are the only CIC run group in Sussex, putting people before profits. Our Run Leader and volunteers are all local, from a variety of backgrounds, most having experienced at least some degree of marginalisation or adversity themselves - providing positive role models for the people we aim to target. Our motto is 'Breaking down barriers'.
|4 months sponsorship package with local newspaper £250 per month||£1,000|
|C25K completion medals £1.80 x 250||£450|
|16x trail shoes for loan. 2 of each size from size 4 to 11 £24.99 per pair||£399.84|
|Runner water bottles x10||£27.79|
|A4 paper multipack for printing research and feedback surveys||£17.99|
|Biros multipack x50||£8.99|
|High visibility vests x5 £4.99 each||£24.95|
|2 pack head torches 2 unit £18.99 each||£37.98|
|Stop watch x1||£4.7|
Since August 2021 we have coached 31 people through our beginners program. We expect another 250 people to graduate through in 2022 giving them the opportunity to adopt an active lifestyle and improve their physical and mental health.The free medal at the end of the course promotes attendee sign up and retention, for many its the first time they can access and benefit from group exercise sessions. We expect a proportion of these graduates, along with members from the wider community to attend our trail sessions. Equipment for low income attendees to loan eliminates the financial barriers some people face to participation. We expect to see a broader demographic of people taking part in our evening sessions with this equipment available. Our presence within the community will increase the number of people participating in outdoor exercise inaccessible to them before due to lack of provision and socioeconomic barriers.
Despite our short time in business Grass Routes has already had a positive impact on our attendees. Here are some things collected from our feedback forms. "I would never of persevered with C25K without attending such a brilliant group. Although I find it tough, the feeling of accomplishment when I have completed a session is amazing" "Just a big thank you for the warm, friendly atmosphere that makes people feel like they finally belong somewhere" "I felt included and safe exercising in a group with people of a similar ability. It’s given me something to commit to and work on, and I am seeing positive changes in my fitness & confidence as a result" "I love to run at night in the countryside its exhilarating and I never would have done it on my own" "I'm running with a group!! Even just being here is an achievement"