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High Life Highland rolls out GP MAP to Invergordon and Alness GP Practises in partnership with NHS Scotland

Alness Leisure Swimming Pool

High Life Highland is delighted to announce a further extension to the GP Movement and Activity Programme (MAP), a collaborative approach in supporting and empowering people across the Highlands to be active.

The fundamental aim of the programme is to test how collaborating with primary care in NHS Highland can help people to experience everything highlife has on offer to benefit physical, mental, social health, and wellbeing.

As part of the initiative, participants can be signposted to High Life Highland leisure services such as Dingwall Leisure Centre, Tain Royal Academy Community Complex (TRACC), with recent extensions to Gairloch and Ullapool.

The programme will now be rolling out to Invergordon and Alness GP Practices, meaning that even more of the Highland’s will have access to this offering, which will also have the further support of Change Mental Health’s (Change MH’s) Community Link Workers (CLWs): https://changemh.org/

The Community Link Worker project collaborates with 29 selected GP surgeries across the Highlands, from Caithness to Lochaber and over to Nairn, working with people who face multiple and complex challenges such as: mental health, social isolation, poor housing conditions, unhealthy relationships, poor physical health, discrimination, and more.

A spokesperson from Change Mental Health said: “Community Link Workers see the GP MAP initiative as a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the community to take their first or renewed steps towards living a healthier lifestyle.

“The warm introductory welcome Highlife Highland is offering will make new users feel comfortable to participate in an exercise activity of their choice. The balance of increased physical activity and socialising with others is well evidenced in improving overall wellbeing.

“We look forward to encouraging and motivating anyone who engages with Community Link Workers within Change Mental Health services to engage with this unique new project, especially during times of financial burden.”

Dr Paul Treon, NHS Highland’s Clinical Director (Primary Care), said: “The launch of the GP MAP initiative at Alness and Invergordon Medical Practice is the first step in a collaborative approach to Health and Wellbeing between NHS Highland, Highlife Highland, and Change Mental Health within the practice.

“This creates an opportunity for patients to take positive action towards improving their physical and mental wellbeing; in particular, identifying and supporting those who may otherwise be unfamiliar with, or nervous of, local facilities.

“I hope we see a positive impact across the community, driving further innovative and collaborative approaches to improving health and social outcomes.”

Dr Angus Perry, an Alness and Invergordon GP, added: “I am thoroughly impressed with Highlife Highland for their exceptional commitment to community health and wellbeing.

“Their focus on enhancing access to health and fitness facilities is a vital step towards improving wellbeing in the Highlands.

“The launch of the GP MAP initiative, aimed at working closely with the community and supporting those in greatest need, is a testament to High Life Highland’s dedication to providing high-quality health and fitness resources.

“Moreover, the GP MAP initiative, in collaboration with participating GP surgeries, is poised to work hand in glove with our healthcare efforts. I anticipate it will aid in reducing cardiovascular risks factors among our patients by enhancing healthy lifestyle modifications.

“This synergistic approach between healthcare and community resources is a crucial step towards fostering long-term community health through improved access to health and fitness facilities.”

Lynn Bauermeister, High Life Highland’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, concluded: “This extension of the GP MAP initiative to Invergordon and Alness is another incredible step forward for High Life Highland.

“By working with the multi-disciplinary teams in Primary Care, we have been able to successfully reach people who are not already aware of the option to use High Life Highland’s leisure facilities to help meet their non-clinical needs.

“As a charity, High Life Highland’s aim is to ‘make life better’. One of the ways in which the GP MAP initiative follows this proposition is by ensuring that the leisure facilities are places that are accessible to all, and that there is something for everyone to help improve or maintain good health and wellbeing.

“We have been overwhelmed by positive responses to the programme from our locations in Dingwall, Tain, Gairloch, and Ullapool, which makes everyone involved all the more delighted to be extending the Programme to Invergordon and Alness.”

The opportunity to join the GP Movement and Activity Programme (MAP) is offered via the recommendation of GPs and other health professionals.

After a recommendation is made, participants of the programme will receive a free seven session pass, allowing them to test the benefits of High Life Highland facilities for themselves.

At each of the participating High Life Highland leisure centres, a full demonstration of included facilities will be given by the on-site team, as well as explanations as to how and why these can aid with health and wellbeing improvement.

You can find out more about the initiative on High Life Highland’s website: https://www.highlifehighland.com/leisure/gp-movement-and-activity-programme/