Stockport to get moving again with COVID-19 recovery programme

New physical activity recovery programme launched in Stockport

Stockport Council has partnered with Life Leisure and other local organisations to launch a new COVID-19 physical activity recovery programme to support inactive Stockport residents to get moving again.

The programme, called Stockport Moving Together, consists of a range of projects that will cater to the needs of residents and will continually develop as the borough transitions into the recovery phase of the pandemic.

This includes localised activities delivered by Life Leisure’s SMILE and PARiS initiatives, the development of booklets guiding people through a range of exercises, and specialist projects in partnership with care homes and the NHS.

Partners involved in the development of the programme include GPs and Primary Care in Stockport, Stockport CCG, Stepping Hill NHS Foundation Trust and Life Leisure.

It forms part of the broader One Stockport campaign, which will allow the borough to ‘build back better’ in response to the virus.

A major early initiative is supporting people recovering from Covid-19 as they gradually return to health through the provision of physical activity packs.

Developed with input from Life Leisure’s active communities and specialist physical activity teams, alongside Stepping Hill Hospital, recovery patients will be guided through exercises using the equipment within the packs, which will support people to get moving.

The packs will be distributed to identified care homes and individuals who will benefit the most from these.

This will reduce the risk of ‘deconditioning’, which can lead to a loss of balance, muscle, independence, and other negative outcomes later in life.

Other ways to get moving include going for walks, YouTube yoga, a dance party with the kids, gardening, and even spring cleaning. As long as your heart rate is up and you feel warmer, it counts towards your daily exercise.

The Stockport Moving Together (#StockportMovingTogether) campaign will also draw all national, GM-wide, and local physical activity initiatives under a single local banner.

This includes initiatives that existed pre-virus, such as the Local Pilot, as well as those that have been developed in response to the pandemic.

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Recovery from this pandemic is front and centre of the Council’s priorities, and I think it would be fair to say is front and centre of almost every organisation and person in Stockport.

“There are significant health benefits to adults and children if they move 30 minutes and 60 minutes each day respectively, however any movement can have a positive impact. This programme will help build back better and improve local health outcomes.”

Cllr Jude Wells, Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Health, said: “This programme is about enabling people to get moving more – helping them to understand how to be active as part of their normal day, improving access to opportunities, and reducing perceived and real barriers to movement across all ages and lifestyles.

“This programme will reduce sedentary lifestyles and the burden inactivity can place on our community. It’s great to see that gyms, leisure centres, and pools will soon open again, and I would encourage all Stockport residents to get moving together.”

Malcolm McPhail, group CEO at Life Leisure, said: “I’m so proud to be partnering up with public health and NHS heroes as part of the new ‘Stockport Moving Together’ initiative. We said right from the start that we wanted to be a part of the humanitarian response to the Coronavirus pandemic and this project has allowed us to do just that.

“I want to thank the Life Leisure team who will be on the front-line delivery of this physical activity recovery programme, helping those who will benefit from this project.”

Colin Wasson, Medical Director at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said “We are proud to be a part of ’The Stockport Moving Together’ programme, which will be important in helping those who have been less mobile than usual during lockdown, but also supporting those recovering from Covid-19 return to health.

“This help will be of particular importance to our older people who can quickly lose strength and fitness during illness or periods of immobility and reduced activity.

“Moving more, and a healthy lifestyle is hugely beneficial for both physical and mental health, and so this programme will offer benefit to a great number of people. Together we can start to move forwards as we start to recover from this global health emergency.”

Dr Cath Briggs, a local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS CCG, said: “This is a vital programme that Stockport’s GPs are delighted to be part of. Everyone is aware of the physical benefits of exercise – particularly for the elderly in keeping them mobile and independent – but many don’t know that it can have a massive impact on your emotional wellbeing as well.

“Exercise can improve your mood, self-esteem and confidence and also helps you to sleep better. Recovering from the emotional trauma of the pandemic is just as important as improving your physical state and exercise can help you do both.”

For more information on how to get moving, visit

For more information on the One Stockport campaign, visit: