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Congratulations @oomphwellness on promising new funding for older adult physical activity

Oomph! Wellness has been announced as the largest delivery partner of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund. With £915k National Lottery Funding from Sport England, Oomph! will get 27,000 adults doing regular exercise within two years. They will train around 1600 workers and volunteers in retirement villages and community venues to run adapted sports activities for older people.

Oomph! is prioritising online applications from venues in the North West of England and London and the South East before moving on to other regions. Oomph! is an award-winning social enterprise which is best known for transforming exercise and activity provision in care homes, working with many of the biggest providers to put quality of life front and centre. It was established in 2011 by young entrepreneur Ben Allen. 

Oomph!’s fun-first approach involves bringing elements of lesser-known sports including volleyball, weightlifting, boccia and urban orienteering to a huge audience with regular sessions being provided through housing associations, retirement villages and at public venues such as libraries and community centres. Oomph! is working with the National Sports Governing Bodies for each of these four sports and in some cases drawing upon Paralympic Games versions of these sports. 

The Housing Associations' Charitable Trust (HACT) has advised Oomph! on how to reach as many housing association locations as possible. Barry Malki, Head of Communities, HACT said:
“HACT is working with Oomph on this innovative project to help enable more older adults to be active in their own homes. We're excited to see the initiative being scaled up with this funding, as housing providers are increasingly looking to support their residents to improve their health and wellbeing through alternative and innovative methods”

 To enable the project to achieve wide reach, Oomph! has secured the involvement of the County Sports Partnership Network, an England-wide group of organisations who are responsible for facilitating sports and activity at a local level. Inactive people over the age of 55 are a large and diverse group (roughly 6.4 million people) so age and community appropriate programmes will be tailored to each setting. 

An anticipated 800 venue partners will use a bespoke app uploaded onto a tablet computer to enable Oomph! to report in real-time to Sport England and direct additional support to partners that are struggling to keep people on the programme. 

Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said:“We’re in the business of making exercise fun and delivering long-lasting behaviour change and improved wellbeing. In the last few years we’ve trained over 2,000 care home staff to deliver over 60,000 Oomph! sessions. We’re now excited to shake things up for older people in the community who struggle to find the motivation or available opportunities to stay strong. Our real-time stats will be a leap forward for the whole sector enabling us to report on the numbers and frequency of participants and evaluate which approaches work best.” 

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors with no prior experience and without specialist equipment. For example, the volleyball won’t require a regulation net and street orienteering will use the UK’s expansive network of post boxes as checkpoints. 

Metropolitan, one of the UK’s leading providers of affordable housing and care and support services, has piloted Oomph! in the Community. Peter Leach, Older People’s Services Lead at the housing association, said: “At Metropolitan, we focus on helping our customers to achieve their personal goals and to live as  independently as possible for as long as possible. Physical activity and exercise can help older people stay healthy, energetic and independent. Through our partnership with Oomph!, our residents have enjoyed getting involved in regular, fun exercise classes - and we are now working with the organisation to train members of our team to deliver sessions at our services in London.”


Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy and launched the Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s. Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England said:

“Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We’re delighted to be supporting Oomph! with National Lottery funding to help get older adults lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”



  1. Sport England research shows:
  • 42 per cent of people aged 55 and over are inactive compared to 29 per cent of the adult population
  • There are roughly 5.8 million inactive people over 55 in England and the number of inactive people is growing as people are living longer.
  • Inactivity among over 55s is responsible for as many deaths as smoking
  • 36% of over 55s are inactive compared to 26% of the population as a whole
  • Age 55-64 (28% inactive), 65-74 (31% inactive) 75-84 year olds (49% inactive), 85+ (72% inactive)
  • The Chief Medical Officer defines an inactive person as someone who, over the course of a week, does not achieve a total of 30 moderate intensity equivalent (MIE) minutes of physical activity

[Sport England’s Active Lives survey November 2015 – November 2016.] 


  1. Sport England had anticipated awarding bids of a value between £50,000 and £500,000. However, Oomph! Wellness has secured a £915,000 investment to deliver regular sports activities for 27,000 older adults over the course of 12 months.https://www.sportengland.org/media/11410/active-ageing-prospectus.pdf
  2. Please contact us if you are interested in attending an Oomph! in the Community session at a sheltered housing venue.
  3. NICE clinical guidance on preventing falls in older people recommends 2 sessions of strength and balance training per week for older adults. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg161/chapter/1-Recommendations. Strength and Balance is specifically mentioned under point 1.1.4.

Contact Sport England at: media.team@sportengland.org

020 7273 1593 / 020 7273 1800

For more information on the Active Ageing fund please visit:


About Sport England

Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

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