City of Parramatta Council has been awarded a $289,000 grant from Sport Australia’s Move It AUS Better Ageing Grant, which will go toward delivering a health and fitness program to senior residents and workers in the Parramatta LGA.
The aim of the Better Ageing Grant Program is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of older Australians (aged 65 and over) by increasing physical activity levels.
“Being active is a key component to a healthy lifestyle, however, maintaining a fitness regimen often becomes more difficult as you get older,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson said.
“Thanks to the Better Ageing Grant, the City of Parramatta will be able to make age-appropriate fitness classes more accessible for our senior citizens, which will in turn benefit their physical and mental health.”
The funding from this grant will enable Council to subsidise training and development courses for local fitness professionals so they can deliver programs and activities targeted specifically to older participants.
“Sport and physical activity provide enormous benefits at all stages of life, so Sport Australia has launched the Move It AUS Better Ageing Grants to enrich the lives of older Australians,” Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said.
“Being physically active has significant mental health benefits, boosting social connections in communities and promoting a general sense of wellbeing.”
Council is offering two options as part of the subsidy program – a 50 per cent subsidy (for fitness professionals interested in obtaining a certification only) and a 100 per cent subsidy (for those who will deliver classes for Council once they have obtained their new qualification). By upskilling local instructors, this program will increase the number and types of activities available to older adults in the Parramatta LGA.
The funding will also go towards hiring a full-time Healthy Lifestyles Worker and helping fund the Active Parramatta Van, which provides opportunities for residents, workers and visitors to get active. With 12 per cent of the Parramatta LGA aged over 65, Council is dedicated to increasing the number of activities targeted at this age group.
Residents have already expressed interest in the program and are looking forward to participating.
“This is a great idea. It will encourage people to get out and be more social rather than just staying at home. Having more qualified instructors means there will be more opportunities for people to be active,” Margaret Anderson, 70, said.
Ranjani Perera, 70, believes the program will also have benefits for those from culturally diverse backgrounds.
“Older people only have a few activities dedicated to them so it would be nice to have more options available. These activities will also help people to participate, practise their language skills and integrate into the local community,” Mrs Perera said.
Applications for the subsidy program are expected to open in the coming months.