Hartlepool fitness coach joining forces with charity for wellbeing project

Andrew Lilley with two of those taking part in a pilot study looking at the benefits running has on people's mental health.
Andrew Lilley with two of those taking part in a pilot study looking at the benefits running has on people's mental health.

A Hartlepool charity has teamed up with a fitness coach to work on a pilot study which will examine the benefits of running and mental wellbeing.

The Wharton Trust has joined forces with Hartlepool Run Fit Coach Andrew Lilley for the project.

The charity is funding the 12-week study which will see three volunteers undergo weekly individualised training sessions with Andrew.

Each volunteer has completed a Mental Wellbeing Scale prior to the project launch.

Those taking part will be keeping a journal which will be used to measure the impact on their physical fitness and mental wellbeing.

Andrew says he aims to explore the feelings and personal experiences of the three ladies following their running journey.

He argues running is not only a great way of improving your fitness but it is known to improve overall happiness, health and wellbeing even though for some people stepping out of the door and taking the first step is a big challenge.

“For many reasons there are barriers preventing some people doing what they know is good for them,” said Andrew.

“It is these people that I want to target and explore whether running improves their well-being and how they feel about themselves.

“I have also recently become a Mental Health Ambassador for England Athletics, this is a campaign to improve mental health through running in England.”

Run Fit was founded by Andrew in 2015 with a vision to get Hartlepool fitter by having a friendly and informal group of people running together.

The club now has 50 members.

Julie Foster, one of the three volunteers said: “We are all a bit nervous about going out with Andrew but we know we need to do something to improve our health.

“This is such a good opportunity and Andrea, Lisa and I are committed to supporting each other.”

Sacha Bedding, manager of The Wharton Trust, added: “We all know that the health outcomes for people living in Dyke House are depressingly poor.

“We believe that we need a radical new approach to shift these.

“We feel that this small pilot will show us what we need to do on a larger scale to improve the lives of our local residents.

“We are excited to be working with Andrew and feel his experience and knowledge will be invaluable to us.”