Improving Wellbeing with Activity Buddies

Sep 21, 2021 | Blog

We understand that coming into the Leisure Centre for the first time, or coming back after a while can be a little overwhelming; this is why our Activity Buddy Scheme is open to anyone who feels they would benefit from coming in with a friend when using the gym or going for a swim.

By bringing together people who would like to come in with a friend and people who want to be that friend, we are hoping to both take away any worries about coming in and improve everyone’s wellbeing through the Activity Buddies scheme.

Because this is a project funded by Sport England, we are able to offer some great benefits to those on the scheme:

Participants pay only £3.60 for a swim or gym session, which is a large reduction on our normal adult pay as you go prices.

Activity Buddies do not pay while they are buddying and as a thank you, they receive a FREE activity session to come in whenever they like.

Who can take part?

Participants – those who would like to come in with a friend

We are welcoming a wide range of people onto the scheme, including those with, but not limited to: 

  • Anxiety
  • Covid-related conditions, including long covid
  • Mental health
  • Those who are neurodivergent
  • Reduced mobility 
  • Dementia

For those suffering from long covid, we even have instructors who have completed the CAWS Covid rehabilitation training and are fully certified to help you rebound and rebuild!

Participants do not need to prove that they are eligible, they just need to feel that they would benefit from coming in with another person who would give them friendship-based support.

Please note: participants need to be aged 16 or over.

Activity Buddies – those who like to be a friend to someone

Being an Activity Buddy simply involves giving some of your time to come in and support someone who would like a friend to swim or go to the gym with.

It does not involve personal training, instructing anyone on how to exercise or any personal care – it’s essentially being a supportive friend.

Please note: buddies need to be aged 16 or over.

Who can pair up with each other?

We know that everyone has their own unique situations, so we are very flexible with our buddy pairs, for instance:

  • Family members can pair up
  • Friends can pair up
  • Carers/similar can buddy for the person they care for. Even paid carers/similar qualify for the Activity Buddy Benefits
  • People can buddy each other; but will need to take it in turns to be the ‘buddy’ and ‘participant’
  • You don’t always to have to pair up with the same person
  • Buddies can come in with more than one participant at a time; but we recommend no more than two during any one session, so everyone gets the support they need

If you want to be a participant or would like to be a buddy, but do not have anyone in mind to pair up with – don’t worry - you can still join the scheme. We will try and pair up anyone who joins the scheme individually with someone appropriate and we will check in to see how it goes.

Pre-existing groups are also welcome; please speak to the site coordinator.

How do I join?

Both participants and buddies need to register on our TOL2 site and sign up to a membership at the Aquadrome – both are free. When signing up at the Aquadrome, you will also get a tour of the centre, have a short induction and get more information on the scheme and we will answer any questions you have.

Visit the TOL2 site here for more information and to register.

Alternatively, email or call us on 01256 472 343 and ask to speak to Aaron our Volunteering Co-ordinator.