Building ASPIRE together! 

ASPIRE is a new programme that will support people in Medway to make healthier lifestyle choices and improve their wellbeing and employability.

Would you like to explore new ways to improve your wellbeing, manage your weight and develop employment potential?

We want local people to Build the ASPIRE programme with us. We need your voice, experience and insight to get this right.

Participants must live in Medway, be over their ideal weight, 18+ and not in paid work or full-time education.

As a thank you for Building ASPIRE with us we will offer you a £60 shopping voucher of your choice for taking part in 3 focus groups.

For more information or contact the Building ASPIRE Research team, call 07795 267282 or email hayley.almond@nhs.net

We all know that the rise in obesity across Europe is a significant concern. But did you know that high levels of obesity often coincide with high rates of unemployment? A recent Gallup poll shows that the longer a person is unemployed, the higher the rates of obesity, with rates reaching up to 32.7% after a year or more of unemployment.

14 organisations, including Medway Community Healthcare (MCH), from across Southern England and Northern France have come together to tackle these two issues holistically via ASPIRE (Adding to Social capital and individual Potential In disadvantaged REgions). This €10 million Interreg VA Channel project has been awarded more than €7 million by the European Regional Development Fund and runs from September 2019 to February 2023.

The challenge tackled by ASPIRE is reflected in local statistics: the national unemployment rate in Britain is currently 3.8%, a quarter of British adults are obese, with levels having more than trebled in the last 30 years: 63.1% of people in South East England are overweight.

It’s clear to see that a worryingly high proportion of people are considered obese and overweight in these two areas and the highest levels are recorded in areas of high economic deprivation. An OECD report exploring the relationship between education and obesity states that “obesity tends to be more prevalent in disadvantaged socio-economic groups.” Whilst eating healthily can often seem unachievable on a budget, knowledge of how to cheaply grow and prepare fresh fruit and vegetables can make all the difference.

ASPIRE will give obese/overweight and/or unemployed people the tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices and improve their employability. Current health and employment services rarely work together to tackle the issues as one problem, despite the evidence that they are linked. The project will encourage a “grow your own, eat your own, sell your own” ethos inspiring a new model, co-created using partner expertise in both fields.

Project partners include:

  • Kent County Council
  • Kent Community Healthcare Foundation Trust
  • Wellbeing People
  • Mission Locale Picardie Maritime
  • Maison pour l’Entreprise, l’Emploi et la Formation Santerre Haute Somme
  • Centre Social Audrey Bartier
  • Bournemouth University
  • C3 Collaborating for Health
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Anges Gardins
  • Vivons en Forme (Association FLVS)
  • Betteshanger Country Park
  • Health and Europe Centre